4th Annual "Pontiacs in the Park" an engine-revving success

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE - While Roosevelt Park was already bustling with the market and music festivities, the park glamour was only enhanced with more than a dozen Pontiac automobiles lined up and staged for the 4th Annual "Pontiacs in the Park" on Aug. 14. 

Although it was only the fourth annual event for the get-together, the original concept for “Pontiacs in the Park” was originally conceived 30 years ago by Cheryl and Jason Disrud, the event coordinators for the occasion. 

4th Annual Pontiacs in the Park

“It started about 30 years ago with what we called the ‘Gathering of the Goats,’” Cheryl said. “People that started that decided to not do it anymore. Jason then decided to put together ‘Pontiacs in the Park.’”

Although Cheryl and Jason live 80 miles away from Devils Lake, the couple thought it would easier to centralize the event to Roosevelt Park. This would not only prevent a logistical hassle but also give the event a nice setting closer to the middle of the state. 

And it has worked. 

Although COVID-19 limited the turnout during last year’s event, the show’s first annual event brought more than 50 Pontiacs together. To Jason, the event is an opportunity to connect to the community and link it to other car shows in the area. 

“We could have had it closer to our area, but we thought this would be the nicest place to have it because of Devils Run. “Devils Run is late in the summer, so we would end up with having another event scheduled. It works pretty well.” 

For Terry Riggin, the event not only gives him the opportunity to show off the bells, whistles, and classic red-white paint scheme on his 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Convertible, but also as an avenue to explain how he came to be with his vehicle in the first place. 

Terry Riggin's 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Convertible

“I saw it driving down the street about eight years ago in Minnesota,” Riggin said. “I was riding with somebody, and I started banging on the dash to turn around and follow that car. When it stopped, I went over and said I wanted to buy that car. ‘You want to sell the car?’ The guy said, ‘no, not really' and then the wife said, ‘Richard, sell the car. You are going to take it home, put it in the garage, be under the tarp and then it will be away for another year.' In about 20 minutes I purchased the car.” 

The story behind Dennis Bazderic’s acquisition of his Pontiac brought similar chuckles, even if it was more due to sheer coincidence and “small world” statements.  

Once Bazderic set his eyes on a 1962 Grand Prix out in Portland Oregon four years ago, the Larimore High School graduate enlisted the services of a former high school classmate who ironically lived only 15 minutes away from the car. 

Dennis Bazderic's 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix

After a thorough evaluation, the car became Bazderic’s, and while he has not taken the car to all four “Pontiac in the Park” events he has attended, he has had a memorable time at each one.

“One year, when we were restoring the engine in this car, we did not have a Pontiac to drive, so we showed up with a Corvette,” Bazderic said. “Everybody had a laugh over that, but we were welcomed in. My experience has been excellent. Wonderful people, these Pontiac folks. It has been great.” 

Regardless of how many Pontiacs show up, the experiences are entertaining as they are memorable. From the car conversations to the evening drives, the event brings a niche together and forms lifelong friendships, too. 

“With car people, it is a commonality,” Riggin said. “The car culture works everywhere for everybody. They may have a drawback here and there, but all in all, it brings people together. I think we spend our whole life just looking at cars.” 

Even if you bring different cars, the people are still there,” Jason said. “That is what we are interested in. The friendships we have made years ago. We still look forward to seeing them every year.” 

The 5th Annual “Pontiacs in the Park” event is scheduled for Aug. 12-13, 2022.