Codi Ingram, of Whitehorse, waits to be dropped into a dunk tank during a Father’s Day car show on Sunday, June 16, 2024, in Haines. (Rashah McChesney/Chilkat Valley News)

A  275-gallon water tank in the back of a box truck at the end of the Small Boat Harbor Parking Lot slowly drains its contents into a  dunk tank on the hot asphalt. Next to the tank, a pop-up canopy shades a table filled with carafes of coffee and donuts. The dunk tank fills and the box truck pulls away, revealing a row of motorcycles, cars and trucks. 

Soon, a small crowd of curious onlookers gather, many ogling one of the rarest cars in the Father’s Day Car Show – a rebuilt 1925 Ford Model T. Owner Brian Staurseth bought the vintage three-door sedan in 2007. 

“They make it look like a door but there’s no door here, [so the driver] crawls in from the [passenger] side,” he said. 

“It has only two speeds forward-low, and high, and reverse. [It’s a] 20 horsepower, four-cylinder engine,” he boasted. 

A father’s day car show drew a crowd of onlookers on Sunday, June 16, 2024, in Haines, Alaska. (Rashah McChesney/Chilkat Valley News)

When it comes to maintaining his Model T, Staurseth said he buys components from antique car parts suppliers or remanufactures some items. 

“You’ve got to look on eBay and other places find, find original used parts,” he said. 

Staurseth had the engine rebuilt last year. The challenge was sending it to a Model T specialist  in Texas.

“I had to pull the engine myself. Crate it up and put it on Alaska Marine Lines. I have a contract with them and their trucking companies, so then they got it down to Plano, Texas,” he said. 

The car averages around 16 miles-to-the-gallon and Staurseth said he only drives it in the summer and then winterizes it. There are no heaters. Staurseth also has a 1924 Model TC cab truck and a 1929 Model AA Truck. 

Staurseth said he wanted to take advantage of this event because there’s not that many places to show off his car and connect with other motorheads like retired firefighter and veteran Chuck Mitman. 

Mitman’s 2005 Harley Davidson is a firefighter special edition and a 9/11 traveling tribute. It’s customized with a sidecar, Prisoner of War memorial bracelets on the front forks, and an engraved placard on the gas tank. 

“It’s got John 15:13,” Mitman said, “’Greater love has no man than he laid down his life for a friend.’ And so in alphabetical order, I have the last name of all 343 guys we lost on 9/11.”

Mitman came to Alaska after serving in the Navy as a corpsman in the early 1970s. He believes participating, volunteering and attending these community events are important to keeping relationships strong. 

“A community is a family. That’s what it means. You know you give your word and support each other. Doesn’t matter what the event is, I will go to it,” he said.

Tina Jerue handles her terrier Yorkie Harley, as teacup chihuaha Hailey looks on during a Father’s Day car show on Sunday, June 16, 2024, in Haines. (Rashah McChesney/Chilkat Valley News)

Amanda Brandon, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, agrees. 

“[This] reminds Haines folk that they need to get out. They need to show pride in what they do and hang out with other Haines folk and connect with each other, even though it’s way easier to stay in. It’s also important to go out,” she said..

Brandon said the next big event will be the Fourth of July celebration. She said people who are interested in volunteering should contact the Chamber of Commerce.

Francisco Martínezcuello is the Chilkat Valley News summer reporter. Previously, he was in Southwest Alaska working for KYUK Public Media as a News Reporting Fellow from November 2022 through January...