Awarding the KOLO ribbon at Hot August Nights

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It's one of Ed Pearce's favorite assignments. The Saturday of Hot August Nights, he makes the rounds in downtown Reno; checking out the classic cars and learning the stories behind them.

"I have to meet the person who owns the car and I have to know the story behind the car," Pearce said. "If they brought it to sell, I keep walking because that means they're not connected to it anymore. I like to find people that really put their heart and soul into their car."

He always surprises the owner with the KOLO ribbon. This year's pick is a 1939 Studebaker pickup owned by Juanita Klingensmith of Sparks.

"There's just something about a truck," she said. "I don't know if it's something to do with the cowboy days or what but they're just cool."

The classic is a daily driver for Klingensmith.

"if I wanted to keep it in the garage why did I buy it?" she said. "I bought it to drive and enjoy."

It's something that caught her eye right away.

"The lines, the formation of it, how it just sort of flowed from one end to the other," she said. "And it was purple. I designed the interior around the gearshift knob which is a diamond. She just brings joy to me."

This is one assignment that never gets old. Pearce says he never gets tired of walking up and down Virginia Street among these classics.

"Just up the block I saw - well it's a lot nicer than mine was - but I saw my very first car from when I was 15 years old," he said. "So it's a walk down memory lane. These are cars we wish we could've afforded when we were that age and now many of us can, and that's what Hot August Nights is all about."

The parade starts at 10 a.m. Sunday.