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Ford Day in Bismarck

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On this date in 1923, an article in the Bismarck Tribune invited the “Ford Family” to compete for prizes in a special event. Although Ford Day would include a special greeting from Henry Ford, the “Ford Family” referred to meant Ford vehicle owners. The sponsor, Copelin Motor Company, would be giving a free touring car to one lucky registrant.

The article touted band music, novel stunts and beautifully decorated cars. A parade would conclude at the capitol grounds, with a picnic lunch provided.

The paper reported that women and children would be allowed to use a restroom at the Copelin Motor Company, and the Masonic Temple would bend their rules to allow women and children in their restroom, as well.

More than a thousand people registered for the parade, giving them a chance to win the free car. George Schmidt was the lucky recipient.

Judges also chose winners in several other categories. Charles Snyder of Menoken won five gallons of oil for having the oldest Ford – a 1910 model. Hans Hansen of Linton won an oil gage for the best looking Ford “old style,” which included models up to 1917. For best looking “new style,” with models from 1918 through 1923, E.E. Vesperman won an oiling system.

John Risch received a windshield wiper for having the most passengers – 12 in all; and Ed Smith won a gas pedal assembly, called a Williams foot feed, for bringing his family of nine to town – the largest family in the parade.

A.M. Brazorol received new seat covers for the best decorated coupe, and W.A. Smith, of Moffit, received an automatic windshield wiper for the best decorated sedan.

Twenty-six participating trucks were given a free fill of gas and oil for their return trip home. Of those bringing farm products, Alfred Ryberg won 5 gallons of oil for highest sales. L.H. Knowles of Wing also won 5 gallons of oil for traveling the longest distance.

Charles Snyder, owner of the 1910 model, was about to be given a prize for oldest driver at age 67 when Jerry Sweeny of McKenzie stepped up to say he was 72 – and thus won a luggage carrier. But Snyder did win another prize – a master timer – for having the most ramshackle Ford in the parade.

Dakota Datebook by Merry Helm

Source: The Bismarck Tribune. June 23 & 28, 1923.

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