Watch Now: Platte River Cruise Night Features Muscle Cars, Motorcycles | Latest titles

Stephanie Berkheimer-Anway’s first birthday present was one she couldn’t quite appreciate for three decades.

Her dad bought a 1970 Dodge Challenger when she was a year old. He restored, rebuilt and repainted the vehicle – a project that was completed by his 21st birthday.

“On my 31st birthday, he handed over the keys,” Berkheimer-Anway said.

The pink and black muscle car was among hundreds parked in the canteen district in North Platte on Saturday as part of the Platte River Cruise Night – a weekend celebration for gear heads and those who appreciate vehicles at engine in general.

The Challenger was parked next to a purple 1978 Jeep that has the message “Colors of Challenge” on the hood as well as a depiction of the All Cancers Color Ribbons.

The Jeep belonged to Berkheimer-Anway’s husband’s uncle, Tony Anway.

The uncle, Robbie Anway, is himself a cancer survivor, and the Jeep was passed down to him.

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“It’s kind of like a family heirloom,” Tony said.

A restored red 1956 Ford F100 truck parked a few blocks away also sparks sentimental sentiment for owner Rob Cross.

“I had a ’55, which is similar, back in the ’70s and ever since I sold it, I’ve always wanted another one,” he said.

He purchased the vehicle in 2001 and spent the next decade and a half restoring it.

A one-page list describing the work he performed on the vehicle was taped to the front passenger seat window of the truck.

He’s put more than 8,200 miles on the truck since he put it on the road in 2016. That includes riding it on June’s Nebraska Rod and Custom Association’s Tour Nebraska, which started in North Platte both days of the event this year.

“It’s my hot rod,” he said.

The story was the same for a number of people who went on the Platte River cruise this year.

Saturday’s lineup also included a pinewood derby, a rockabilly pin-up contest, a concert, loud burnout and exhaust showdowns and a motorcycle stunt display.

Attendees also had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the stars of the world of vehicle manufacturing. But, in the end, the stars of the day and the weekend were the vehicles themselves.

Nate Hammond had two cars that caught the eye.

His two Shelby Mustangs – a red ’68 model and a black 2020 model – sat side by side among the vehicles that were housed inside the old Alco building.

“I love American history, the American muscle that Shelby represented,” Hammond said. “What he did to create this competition between American muscle cars still today.”

His love for the car was also highlighted by “Gone in 60 Seconds”, a film he saw when he barely had a driver’s license in which a Shelby called “Eleanor” is a vehicle put in evidence.

“I was just in love with Eleanor,” Hammond said. “Since then, for about 20 years, my goal was to get (a Shelby).”

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