April showers bring low Somernites Cruise car counts. Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem this time around.
Somernites Cruise enjoyed a rip-roaring start to the 2014 season with a warm, sunny April Saturday, with temperatures in the 70s and not a raindrop to be seen — which meant a much healthier attendance than in past year.
As of 5:30 p.m., a total of 1,188 cars had rolled through the Somernites Cruise gates in downtown Somerset.
It’s not quite a record, but not far away, maybe only 100 cars or so, noted Cruise team member Mark Hansford. And it’s much better than last year, when only around 212 cars came on a nasty, wet April Saturday.
“We had rain the last three years,” said Hansford. “This one blew (last year’s Cruise) out of the water, literally.
“We’re happy to have pretty weather for a change on opening day,” he added. “That’s what makes any Cruise. As long as the weather’s good, you’ll have a great turnout. I think you’re seeing that.”
The long-distance winner for April was Deac Forry, who took his 1953 Ford 3,600 miles from Seattle, Wash., to Somernites Cruise. Organizers said that Forry noted he has family in nearby Russell Springs, Ky., that come to the Cruise regularly and this time decided to make an appointment of his own with the popular local classic car show, now in it’s 14th year.
Winners of Saturday’s morning “Poker Run” were Darrell Johnson of Nancy in first place, Patrick Terrell of Lexington in second, and Donald Stephens of Somerset in third. Johnson claimed $250 as his prize for participating in the special “Fun Run” event.
Also, Sara Nichols of Somerset won $1,000 in the first ever OneMain Financial 50/50 raffle at Somernites Cruise.
The theme this month was “Jalopy Jamboree,” featuring rat rods and lead sleds. Attendance was still finding its footing, since it was the first time for this particular showcase area, with 77 in all. But those that did come had a good time — even an old funeral hearse that made an appearance.
Hansford said the biggest pleasant surprise was the new “Friday Night Thunder” event. What had been the Wal-Mart Block Party, held downtown for the last several years, and at Wal-Mart and The Center for Rural Development before that, the event is now at the Somerset Mall, being held in partnership with the mall, and the first “Thunder” rolled along smoothly.
“That was huge,” said Hansford. “They said they’d allocated 600 spots and they looked pretty close to full last night when I got there at 7:30 p.m. ... Carol Tucker (the Somerset Mall manager) had never done anything like this before and didn’t know what to expect. I went and asked her if it met her expectations and she was giddy.
“Everybody I spoke with really liked the new location,” he added. “You can get in and out. There’s more access. Everyone I talked to was giving it a thumbs up.”