Dimich Outdoors Article: Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’… Grand Rapids’ Car Show & Swamp Meet is finally here

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’…

Grand Rapids’ Car Show & Swamp Meet is finally here

 By Nik Dimich

Maggie Tiede of the “Grand Rapids Herald-Review” was spot on in her Sunday, July 20, 2014 front-page piece, “Weekend of Wheels is Ready to Roll.” Indeed, it is here and we are not only more than ready to car gaze, we are also fired up to find some “treasures” at the more than 180 antique and vendor booths. Sponsored by Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce this year after 42 years by the Itasca Vintage Car Club, Chamber President Bud Stone reports that this (now) 43 year running event garners not only one of northern Minnesota’s largest crowds for such an event, but also one that has had an extremely loyal following for decades.

I love old cars and have been the proud owner of a 1976 Chevy Nova Super Sport since high school (which I finished paying off just a few years ago; by the way, sometimes we high schoolers are, as I was once told and had no idea what it meant, “penny-wise and pound foolish”). At that time, it was a car not so old when it comes to “American Graffiti” fans, but a car that has since earned the label, “Last of the Muscle Cars,” which it has turned out to be.

Lately, however, as I have been involved with Frabill/Plano and Polaris and Wide Open Company (Grand Rapids based company that basically developed RangerWare), I have fallen victim to the history of things and the old adage that someone’s junk can be someone else’s treasure. I now treasure old Frabill minnow buckets and Polaris this and that and anything of Grand Rapids or Greenway or the Iron Range and all things vintage hunting and fishing.

After all, coming from a long family line of “junkers,” (my grandmother Millie Dimich reigned supreme as a collector/bargainer, especially Red Wing) it was only a matter of time I, too, became one. I guess Neil Diamond was right, if you dream of being something, there’s a good chance you will. Well, maybe a “frog dreaming about being a king and then becoming one” might be a stretch, but I would be willing to bet there will be “frogs” and “chickens” and other various and sundry collectibles galore available for people searching the tables, not to mention the “Winchester” and “Browning” and “Herters’” people on the prowl.

Maggie’s title was also intriguing as the “roll” part of it is what Jason Manning (northern Minnesota’s top rated radio show, KQDS’ “Morning Show,” Duluth’s 105.5 FM) plays as his introduction to Dimich Outdoors’ live fishing and hunting weekly radio show every Friday morning (replayed Saturdays). Just before our segment, Jason, the “crown prince” of northland classic rock and talk radio, torques up the 1986 song “Walleye,” by the Hula-Poppers (believe it or not).

The song, of course, begins with “Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’, but get this, the song was a take off of the “Rawhide” song sung by Frankie Lane in 1958 as the theme song for the popular television western series of the same title which ran very successfully from 1959-1966. Without googling, guess who played the “trail ramrod” Rowdy Yates on the series? The song was also very prominent in two movies, “The Blues Brothers” and “Shrek 2.” Okay, it was Clint Eastwood; you would have googled it in less than 20 seconds anyway.

If you are interested in a vintage vinyl copy of either, email Tim Edwards, long time disc jockey (since 1988) at KOZY, Grand Rapids’ oldest radio station at tim@kozyradio.com; he has quite a collection. I would also like to add that while I was growing up, the “KOZY” spot of our dial was all we Dimich kids listened to in the family car and bathrooms (yes, we always had a radio and reading material in our bathrooms for our bms; we grew up with a lot of euphemisms in a family that was a bit quirky). I would also like to add, when Dimich Outdoors did the legwork with Tim for permission, he apprised us of the fact the “Hula-Poppers” were actually the “Lamont Cranston” band and used the “fishing lure” name for a cover. What a wealth of info Tim is.

And, okay, since we are on the “did you know road,” did you know that “Lamont Cranston” was the “Shadow” of pulp fiction novels and 1930’s radio fame and the precursor to that “Knight of the Darkness”—“Batman”? For sure, I did not, but, of course, I was enlightened. Moreover, most every “Shadow” novel and radio episode ended with a variation of, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The ‘Shadow’ knows.” In radio, it was followed by an infamously evil laugh you would have to hear to recognize. As a side note, back in their pinnacle days the “Lamont Cranston” band played the wedding dance of Grand Rapids’ own Mark and Peggy Miner, a big local event.

I had no idea, by the way, about the “Rawhide” stuff, but at Swap Meet time the Dimich family (grandparents Millie and Nick Dimich had a booth there for over thirty years and Grandma Millie always said she “was giving her stuff away”) is all about “gathering” anything old and collectible and then, of course, the long litany of how rare and valuable this and that was and is. Sometimes I am reminded of the 1983 classic film “A Christmas Story” (based on Jean Shepard’s short story) and “The Old Man’s” infatuation with the “leg lamp.” Before I go on, I can’t resist mentioning the classic bully names of Scut Farkus and Grover Dill. I laugh every time I think of those names and that film. Where Jean Shepard came up with the name “Scut” I will never know, but I’ll bet not too many babies will carry that moniker.

As the “Car Show & Swap Meet” becomes reality, I am reminded of a radio show I did with Jason a few weeks ago when we were talking about sonar/gps units and their relative importance. As Jason framed his question, he was swept back to the time as kids when he and his brother were introduced to the wonderful world of sonar color as their dad brought home a cutting edge, just invented, state-of-the art sonar unit called the “Color-C-Lector” (from the famous original Lowrance “Fish Lo-K-Tor”) Jason’s story was a lot like “Christmas Story” when Ralphie tells about “The Old Man” opening the “leg lamp.” But when Jason likened his dad’s opening of the “Color-C-Lector” to Harrison Ford and “The Crystal Skull,” I completely lost it. It was, as usual, great “Morning Show” radio.

Anyhow, here is what we here at Dimich Outdoors are looking for hunting/fishing-wise at the swap meet. By the way, the senior member of Dimich Outdoors has always had (and still does) a pretty annoying habit of laying his “finds” right in front of the television and leaving them there for days, kind of like “The Old Man” and saying, “Would you look at that, why…”

Other than the obvious Herter’s stuff, we are very partial to old hunting and fishing magazines and books, knives, hatchets, CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) memorabilia, unique duck and spearing decoys, old landing nets, unusual minnow buckets, metal deer tags and so on and so forth.

In other words, we like stuff not necessarily just for the monetary value, but the “wow” factor. Even if you might not buy much at the swap meet, you will still enjoy the museum and learning center atmosphere and the colorful vendors.

And, although it might take some of the “magic” out of the hunt, if you are in doubt about the purchase price of a piece, “look it up” on your smart phone. But if you find “The Shadow Detective Magazine” circa April 7, 1931, call me; I will give you a hundred times what it sold for then (it sold for 10 cents). Hope you find some treasures.

Nik Dimich is a year round Grand Rapids, MN and Lake Winnie area fishing guide and outdoor communicator. To book a trip or media event contact him at 218-259-8459 or at www.DimichOutdoors.com and “like” Dimich Outdoors or Nik and Becca’s Outdoor Promotions on Facebook.


Photo caption car: The 1976 Chevy Nova Super Sport was a car not so old when it comes to “American Graffiti” fans, but a car that has since earned the label, “Last of the Muscle Cars.”


Photo Caption Fish Locators: A collection of fish finders, that are lost treasures, including the famous original Lowrance “Fish Lo-K-Tor” and treasured Frabill minnow buckets.

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