SAN BERNARDINO - When the ink dried Thursday, it was official - Stater Bros. Markets will continue cruising with the city's iconic car event, the Route 66 Rendezvous.

Jack Brown, Stater Bros. chairman and CEO, on Thursday signed an extended five-year Title Sponsorship contract, along with Wayne Austin, president and CEO of the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau, the producer of the annual event.

"This is the largest supermarket-sponsored event in America, and one of the two largest car events in America," Brown said.

"This is a multi-million-dollar commitment to the city of San Bernardino," he said.

With the signing of the document, Stater Bros. will present the car show and salute to the Mother Road for another five years, according to Brown.

Brown was emotional as he recalled growing up six blocks from the site of the signing, the Convention and Visitors Bureau office, located at the California Welcome Center.

"My mother raised me alone. I lost her in August of last year, so it's kind of an emotional day," he said.

"Mom, this one's for you, and the great city of San Bernardino."

The classic car show that has been taking place for the past 22 years in San Bernardino will retain its name - The Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous.

Stater Bros. has been the title sponsor for 15 years.

This year's event, set for Sept. 13 through 16, will once again incorporate nostalgia and family entertainment with an icon of the Southern California lifestyle.

The Rendezvous debuted in 1990 as a day-and-a-half event with 300 vehicles at Glen Helen Park, produced by the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Rendezvous, has grown each year and now attracts more than a half million spectators during the four-day extravaganza.

"When you get down to it, it's so much more than a car show," said Austin.

Festivities also included rolling out the new 2012 logo, which will be used on event merchandise.

The 2012 Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous T-shirts were also unveiled, featuring a '57 Impala and the iconic Wigwam Motel.

Owners of the Wigwam, Jack and his son, Kumar Patel, who were on hand for the unveiling, remodeled the motel last year, they said.

The father-son duo have been proprietors of the San Bernardino/Rialto motel for a decade.

"The only other Wigwam Motel left on Route 66 is the one in Holbrook, Ariz. A lot of our customers are typically following Route 66," Kumar Patel said.

"Basically, people are learning about Route 66 and what it meant to America then and what it means now. It's such a beautiful thing to travel the old road and see the old motels and diners."


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