Get your motor running

BY Larry D'Argis . Aug 18 04:00 am

August in Winnipeg generally affords great weather for just about any outdoor activity, especially loading up the family for a Sunday night cruise.

One of my favourite stops is the Pony Corral Restaurant & Bar’s Sunday Night Cruise event on the corner of Grant Avenue and Wilton Street.

There’s always a lot full of vehicles ranging from street machines to antiques and everything in between.

It’s no secret Pony Corral owner Peter Ginakes is a long-time lover of all things automotive — and he’s been welcoming the car community to his restaurants since 1986.

Event sponsors include Rondex, Piston Ring Service, Power 97, 680 CJOB, Coors, Coca-Cola and Willy’s Garage.

In addition to all the great classic and special-interest vehicles on display, there’s also on-site entertainment and fabulous prizes given away in both the weekly and final summer draws.

There’s tasty hotdogs available from the Pony’s food cart — aptly modelled after a Ford Model T — and great meals on the patio or inside the restaurant.

Over the past 11 years, the Pony Corral has teamed up with the Fabulous 50’s Ford Club of Manitoba to manage the parking lot directly in front of the restaurant, where featured auto clubs showcase their members’ vehicles each week. The weekly featured club’s members have a prominent display for their vehicles at the front of the lot, but there is also reserved parking for more than 500 classic and special-interest vehicles.

Fabulous 50’s Ford Club president Albert Lannoo, along with his wife and club treasurer, Betty, and fellow Fabulous 50’s club members, do a great job managing the lot under the guidance of Ginakes and restaurant manager Helen Koke.

Last Sunday, the Red River Region of the Porsche Club of America joined Sunday Night Cruise with more than 40 brilliantly-coloured examples of the Porsche marque.

The club was founded in 1999. Membership chair Malcolm Hinds was on hand to take applications for new members.

“The club has grown to over 200 members, doubling since 2009,” Hinds said.

“Not hard to imagine, since local Porsche ownership has grown from less than 500 in 2009 to over 1,000 today and we know there are more out there.”

As in any car club, the camaraderie and events are always the highlight, but the knowledge and expertise members share can make a great contribution to a restoration or simplifying maintenance and costs. For those owners interested in joining the club, an email to will get you hooked up.

Walking through the parking lot showed there was a very nice representation of all makes and models of cars and trucks — as well as a nice variety of great looking motorcycles.

Getting together and enjoying the automotive hobby is a terrific summer tradition in Manitoba and the Pony Corral is the perfect spot to enjoy everything the automobile hobby has to offer.

On Sunday, the Triumph Drivers Club is the Pony’s featured guest. Sunday Night Cruise at the Pony Corral runs every Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. until Sept. 24, with a different featured car club each week.

The Fabulous 50’s Ford Club members are at the ready, selling dance tickets for the club’s upcoming 23rd Annual Flashback Weekend, which kicks off Sept. 8 with a sock hop dance at the Transcona Country Club, featuring live band The Marvels. That Saturday afternoon there’s a scenic cruise to the Half Moon Drive In, just north of Lockport. The weekend culminates with a huge, free car show held in the south lot of the Garden City Shopping Centre. The car show will feature live music from Russell Lee. The event is also loaded with awards, raffles and draws in support of the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation. For more information, check out

There are also many other great automotive-related shows and events in Manitoba to choose from throughout the remainder of summer and into fall. Most are listed in the Manitoba Association of Auto Clubs guide and can be accessed online at

Rain dates and shows announced too late to make the guide are always something to be on the lookout for. On Saturday, the second annual Falcon Lake Show and Shine takes place. In support of the St.Amant Foundation, registration is $10 and opens at 9 a.m. This promises to be a great car show; live band Project B will take the stage to keep everyone entertained through the day and Steph “Hammer Down” Custance from Ice Road Truckers will be on hand to meet fans, pose for photos and sign autographs.

Show organizers Michael and Kassy McCarron and Danny Damata, along with many local sponsors, are offering those coming out the opportunity to spend time at the beach, enjoy local restaurants and see a great selection of vehicles.

You won’t just see cars and trucks, but also motorcycles, boats, big rigs and an exhibition featuring towing and extraction vehicles.

Sponsored by Falcon Beach Auto, West Hawk Marine, Vickar Chevrolet, Grizzly Transport and Canadian Trucking Magazine, it offers a great day at the lake, with a horse-powered twist.

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