Roger Cote grew up on a farm in Whitemud Creek where he lived until he graduated from high school in Falher.
Following graduation, he moved around the province working in such places as Grande Prairie and Red Earth and owned a home in Donnelly for fourteen years before moving to Spruce Grove approximately 20 years ago.
Although Cote has lived outside the area for some time, he still affiliates himself with the region and likes to keep up with local news.
“I have a subscription to the Smoky River Express ever since I graduated from high school, just to keep up on the news that I miss,” says Cote.
Of course, Roger Cote has been making news of his own recently, winning the Mayor’s Choice Award for his 1938 Chevrolet, Master Deluxe hotrod at the Grove Cruise Show and Shine car show on August 19th.
The Grove Cruise Show and Shine is the second largest car show in northern Alberta after the St. Albert’s “Hot August Night” that had 900 cars this year in which Cote also participated.
“I was extremely overwhelmed and couldn’t believe my ears when, standing in the crowd with the other attendees, I heard my name called by Spruce Grove Mayor Stuart Houston for his choice of the best car,” says Cote. “I never expected to win the grand prize of a 41″ tall trophy with such small odds out of 300 cars.”
Cote says it brought tears to his eyes realizing he was the grand prizewinner and in front of such a crowd of people, it felt like winning a large lottery jackpot.
Having presented him with the trophy, Mayor Houston took the time to come and talk with Cote and tell him why he chose cote’s entry.
“Stuart was nice enough to tell me exactly why he picked my 1938 Chev, Master Deluxe hotrod,” says Cote. “He said that he could see that all the things that are on my car are unique, probably one of a kind in North America and he admired that someone would take the time and have the pride, patience, dedication and talent to build such unique things.”
Mayor Houston recognized that he had not simply purchased and assembled the car like other owners or paid someone to do the work but Cote, being both a journeyman welder and a journeyman machinist had done all the work himself.
Cote bought the 1938 Chevrolet in Albuqurque, New Mexico about eight years ago, had it shipped to Canada and has enjoyed working on it as a hobby since then.
He also draws the distinction between vehicle restoration and the kind of work he does which is building a hotrod.
“A restored vehicle must be restored in detail with all the same fittings and the same motor as it had coming off the lot.
“If it had an AM Radio at the time of manufacture to be properly restored it must be fitted with the same AM Radio.
“A hotrod is essentially the body of the car, the frame and then you add what you want to today’s technology.”
He says the body of his 1937 Chevy hotrod is reinforced to make it strong enough for today’s horsepower and that the body is all steel with absolutely no fibreglass.
The car is a continual work in progress as Cote enjoys adding new modifications and features but he also says that it is not just a showpiece for special events, that he likes to enjoy it.
“I like to take it on the road. A lot of friends and relatives come here on a nice sunny evening and they’ll say ‘Roger lets go for a cruise’ and we’ll go for a couple of hours here and there, wherever they want to go. I use the car to enjoy myself.”