By CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Somernites Cruise pledges to be out there in the streets, rain or shine. Unfortunately, the same cannot necessarily be said about attendees.
A cool and rainy Saturday meant a sparsely attended first Cruise of the season this weekend, as many who might have attended clearly decided it just wasn’t an ideal day for a drive.
“It’s a widespread rain event, all the way south to northern Alabama, up into Indiana,” said Cruise team member Mark Hansford. “To really have an enormous day, you’ve got to have good weather in all the states that border Kentucky because we have so many cars from there.”
Today’s count was 191 cars — still almost twice as many as the last all-day rain event seen by Somernites Cruise, back in 2009 (Hansford noted there were 100 cars that day).
“The ones who did come out are die-hards,” said Hansford. “It speaks to the popularity of the Cruise that there were 191 people willing to bring their cars out regardless of how dirty it gets them, or the time it takes to clean them up for next week.”
It was a good day for Robert White of Huntersville, N.C., as he and his wife traveled 375 miles to visit the Cruise for the first time. This won them the long-distance award, given to the person who travels the most miles to come to Somernites, and also won the Cruise’s first “Poker Run” event on Saturday.
“Two out of three ain’t bad,” quipped Hansford, noting that the toolbox giveaway went to local man Rodney Keaton. “This was (the Whites’) first trip here and they were blown away, even with the poor weather. We tried to show them what Somerset is all about.”
Hansford said the family will stay until Thursday, and the Cruise team is planning to treat them to dinner and a visit to a car memorabilia collection, “to show them a little hospitality, Somerset-style.”
Also, the first “Hot Rod Haulers” showcase, featuring trucks of all different kinds, was held this Saturday. About 35 trucks were parked in the special area on South Main Street, and though the turnout wasn’t great because of the rain, Hansford said the team may consider revisiting the idea in the future.
“It was something we wanted to try because so many people asked us (about trucks),” said Hansford. “We like to listen to suggestions and implement them whenever feasible. It may be something we look at again, from the standpoint of the weather being so bad this time.”