When the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals celebrates its 25th birthday July 27-29 at the Puyallup Fair & Expo Center, it will mark the end of an era for George and Carole Marten. Puyallup residents for over 40 years, the Martens have served as the event’s stewards since its inception – George serving as Event Director and Carole running Event Registration. They will retire from active duty at the conclusion of this year’s festivities, leaving a legacy of good times, good friends and many happy memories.
The Marten’s passion combined with the Goodguys style of laid-back, fun, family oriented hot rod & custom car shows proved a winning combination over the years. Starting with over 800 vintage cars the first year, The Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals has developed into the biggest annual automotive event in the state of Washington (over 2,600 cars these days) and has provided car buffs throughout the western U.S. with premier midsummer destination to show their vintage vehicles.
The Marten’s journey with Goodguys started in Salem, Oregon on a summer day in 1986. Goodguys founder Gary Meadors was running a car show for some friends and happened to walk by a striking ’33 Plymouth. Meadors’ keen eye noticed a trick Chrysler engine bulging from the hood sides and stopped to chat up the car’s owner, a large friendly man. It was the first time Meadors and Marten spoke. They talked for over an hour and a friendship was born. The next August, Marten debuted a bright orange ’37 Ford sedan delivery at a brand new Goodguys show in Pleasanton, California called the West Coast Nationals.
The two continued their friendship and when Meadors decided to stage a new Goodguys event in a Northwestern town with the funny name of Puyallup, he knew instantly who he wanted to help run the event and take the local phone calls. “George was the first guy I thought of when dreaming of an event in the Seattle area,” Meadors reflected. “When the deal was finalized with the Puyallup Fairgrounds I found out that George lived right there in town! Not only that, but he also knew every rodder in the area. It was a match made in heaven and the event has grown to super star status because of him and Carole’s efforts”
Marten’s hot rod pedigree runs deep. So deep that his 1st wedding anniversary with Carole was spent at the Portland Roadster Show over 50 years ago. Over the span of his life, he’s owned more than three dozen classic cars, hot rods and customs including his latest dream ride; a 1952 Cadillac coupe. Now 76, Marten is retired but stays active traveling the country with Carole crisscrossing the United Stated three times in the past five years. He’s also a frequent visitor to the Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction in Arizona each winter. When home, he heads down to a friend’s auto repair shop to help out and keep his skills sharp.
Looking back, it’s been a great 25 year run for George and Carole Marten and the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals. “It’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened for cars in the state of Washington,” Marten said. “Puyallup is different than a lot of other events. It’s a big happening. We party ‘til the wee hours and cruise the fairgrounds after dark. This event has always been a big ol’ party. It’s a fun thing for families. Carole has worked in registration for 25 years – people seek her out to have her personally register them for the weekend. We tried hard to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.”
You succeeded in that George and Carole. Under your care, the event grew and flourished and the entire Goodguys team will take extra measures to make sure things stay that way. Thank you for all you’ve done!