Aug. 21, 2019 — The City of Florence hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year from around the country and around the world. Most are here to enjoy the natural abundance and beauty of the forests and the coastline in and around Florence.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is among the most spectacular and commercially relevant of these tourist destinations with off-road enthusiasts coming in ever greater numbers each year.
The vast expanse of sand dunes that starts at the confluence of the Siuslaw River and the Pacific Ocean and then runs south for approximately 50 miles is the largest in the continental United States. These mountains of shifting sand have gained increasing notice in the last decade and many visitors make their way to the northwest corner of the country each year to play in this giant natural sandbox.
One of the largest and most noticeable of the groups that visit the dunes at this time of year is the Northwest Vintage Broncos (NVB), who plan the Northwest Bronco Roundup.
Dedicated to restoring, rebuilding and riding in classic Ford Broncos, the members of the NVB have made a visit to Florence a stop on their club’s yearly itinerary and have developed a close relationship with the city and its residents.
NVB President Dan Rupert said he feels like the group’s yearly trip to Florence is one of the highlights on the NVB calendar.
“Our club has been doing this for a few years now and it’s a lot of fun. We had around 240 folks pre-registered, and we had people showing up that haven’t registered. I’ve already talked to a few of them and I think we will end up with about 250 vehicles.”
Not only have the members of the NVB returned to Florence for nearly a decade, they have so enjoyed their time here that they have gone above and beyond what most visitors do when visiting: they contribute to a local social support group. The beneficiary of this generosity for the past few summers has been Florence Food Share.
“Each year, we have an event at the Three Rivers Casino and as part of our ‘Show and Shine’ we do a big food drive,” Rupert said. “We have a raffle and the only way to get tickets is to bring food donations to the Show and Shine. At a certain point, it becomes a competition to see who can bring in more than the next guy.”
Food security remains a serious concern for portions of the local community. The need for donations at Florence Food Share is always high and the contributions made this year were important additions to the summer choices available to clients.
Colin Morgan is the operations manager for Florence Food Share and he said clients of the organization will greatly appreciate the efforts made by the members of the NVB.
“This year’s Northwest Vintage Bronco Club’s Round Up food drive was an overwhelming success. Florence Food Share received over 8,600 hundred pounds of food to help feed the hungry families and individuals in Western Lane County,” Morgan said. “On behalf of our clients, Florence Food Share would like to send our utmost thanks to the Bronco club.”
According to Rupert, the great reception the Bronco group has received over the years has drawn his members closer to the Florence community, and this is one way they feel they can repay the hospitality.
“It’s just the people. Everybody here is friendly and everyone out here gets it. Maybe it’s just the Bronco family, but this is a way we can give back to the community. We are coming here, and we are kind of invading Florence, and I am sure we irritate some people, but it’s nice to give to the food share and it’s really nice to hear how much it helps,” he said. “To a lot of people here, this is a really big deal. It’s about wanting to give back and help where we can.”
For more information about the Broncos, visit northwestbroncoroundup.com and Northwest Vintage Broncos on Facebook.