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25th Annual Burger Run A Gleaming Showcase of Metal Memories


Written by Rich Guy Miller


It’s art, fantasy, car-love, music, his- tory and more. Now, at 25 years old, it’s officially a tradition.


The “Biggest Little Car ShowIn San Diego County” is celebrating, on Jan. 14, another year of nostalgic (pre-1972) cars and trucks at Vista’s 52 year old ‘mom and pop’ grill and ice cream shop, Pepper Tree Frosty. Of course, thousands come to see the brilliant display of shiny, road- worthy metal memories. It’s a free es- cape that rekindles heart-throbbing delights.


Opening to the public at 8 a.m., the day is expected to be a car jam of 600 reasons to smile - plus several more if you get a chocolate malt or lemonade with your burger and fries at Pepper Tree.


One of the biggest reasons this show has drawn an overflow crowd of collectors and remodelers is the traditionally low entry fee (only 10 dollars that includes a free t-shirt). But that’s only partially true.


The one-of-a-kind trophies from the Burger Run are legendary, highly col- lectible and sought after.


Organizer and founder Joe Free, along with Kris Petersen (his partner in car- rhyme) build these humorous honors all year long from antiques, unique finds and


discards. They include a Best Grill trophy, Best Sleeper (a muscle-sized engine sleep- ing under the hood), the Long Distance tro- phy plus 40 others, all handcrafted with love and hilarity.


“The Best Trophies In All the Land” in- cludes “Celebrity Picks” such as Bob’s Pick (Bob’s Big Boy), Jack’s Pick (a jack in the box) and Joe’s Pick (a cup of joe). “People


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never tire of these,” explained Barry Penn, winner of three in the last six years. “Anyone can get a normal trophy, but these are the bomb!”


Joe Free has been an active attendee of car shows around the state ever since he rebuilt his 1965 Mustang Fastback in 1988. As he and his friends celebrated their local event at Pepper Tree, they had the idea to invite


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