CJ Staff Writer
“It’s the biggest day in Somernites history without a doubt!”
Keith Floyd, Somernites Cruise management team president, offered these excited words after discovering the classic car show had once again broken their attendance record, even with the rainy weather Friday night and Saturday morning.
At 4:30 p.m., a total of 1,657 cars had entered the gates, breaking the previous record of 1,564 cars from the fifth-anniversary event in August 2005.
The day began with the second-annual “Power Cruise,” where cruisers streamed into town in caravans from Knoxville, Nashville, Louisville, and Cincinnati.
Floyd said the Power Cruise grew a little from last year, but experienced a tremendous dip in numbers from the pre-registration. As many as 494 hot rods traveled with the four different groups of power cruisers; however prior to the event they had 969 cars pre-registered.
“I’d say the rain cut our numbers by one-third,” said Floyd, “but it’s still a record day for Somernites Cruise and we’re excited. ... The spectator crowd is unreal.”
He noted that the rain forced events in Louisville and Cincinnati to close up shop Friday night. In Knoxville and Nashville it rained as well, but the events went on.
All four legs of the power cruise got rained on during the ride to Somerset Saturday morning.
Eddie and Deidra Holbrook, who own a 1933 Ford Street Road, said they took part in the Power Cruise last year and enjoyed it enough to do so again this year. They said they really enjoy the trip, as people are located all along the roadway waving and watching the group of cars traveling together.
Gordan and Judy King of Sevierville, Tenn. also decided to take part in the cruise again this year. The Kings’ own a 1981 Corvette.
“It was a good trip last year,” said Gordan King. “I think it grew a lot.”
Meanwhile, Randy Nesbitt of Marion, Ky., who owns a 1953 Studebaker Commander, said he decided to see what the Power Cruise was like this year, opting to be a part of it for the first time.
“It’s great,” said Nesbitt. “They should do more of it as it brings in great revenue for the community.”
Nesbitt said he travels to between 30 and 40 shows a year in Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky.
Floyd said it took about two-and-a-half hours to get everybody together in downtown yesterday and said he believed the whole day came together well — except of course for the weather.
Along with all the cars and spectators, Somernites Cruise brought out media from around the nation including a crew filming for ESPN2’s “Mothers Car Show Series” as well as V8TV being on-site. Four national magazines were also at the event.
Robert Bravender, producer for ESPN2, said they came to the cruise because of the reputation that proceeds it.
Bravender said they were taping two shows while in Somerset, which will air on Oct. 5. Each show will feature six cars, which they will talk about for around a minute-and-a-half. The first show would feature muscle cars. Bravender told the Commonwealth Journal they hadn’t fully decided what the second episode would showcase at the time of the interview.
Bravender said they travel to shows of all different sizes almost every weekend in the summer.
“We go as long as there are good quality cars,” said Bravender.
Meanwhile, Michael Bowden with American Streetrydes magazine said he’d heard a lot about Somernites Cruise and just wanted to check it out. Bowden said they trek to cruises that range in size from 200 cars to about 15,000. He said their magazine publishes once a month with a circulation of around 20,000, and an article on Somernites Cruise should be featured in the September edition.
The hot rod media weren’t the only ones going the distance for Somernites Cruise. Once again, there was car enthusiast who traveled thousands of miles to be the “long-distance” winner — all the way from Pearl City, Hawaii.
Floyd said the day had been a major undertaking which they couldn’t have pulled off without help from the city and the county. He also thanked various individuals and organizations for their aid with the event, including the Lake Cumberland Corvette Club for helping park cars, Somerset Community College for letting Somernites use their facility, the City of Somerset, the street sanitation and police departments, and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the two local radio stations — WTLO and Clear Channel radio — for all the public service announcements they have put out about this months event.
Floyd also said the cruise team made up of around 50 volunteers would like to thank Holley for sponsoring the Power Cruise.
“Somernites is still strong and growing,” said Floyd. “This is proof we can still pull an event off, even with rain”
He added, “Heaven help us if we have beautiful weather next year — I think it will be awesome!”
CJ Staff Writer