While it wasn't exactly a washout, June's Somernites Cruise definitely felt the dampening effects of showers that started late Friday and continued well into Saturday morning.
"We had about a quarter probably of what we hoped to have, maybe a third," Team Member Mark Hansford, the "Voice of the Cruise," said Saturday afternoon of the 240 vehicles that had registered by 4 p.m. "But all in all, it's been a nice cool day.…We're happy anytime car owners are willing to get their car out and come to our show. We're very appreciative of that."
Hansford was pleased with the 20 or so that braved the rain for the "Fun Run" trip to tour the classic car collection of Terry Stephens, owner of Stephens Pipe & Steel in Russell County. There were also 53 "Tri-Fives" -- Chevy models from 1955-57 -- which served as the featured theme this month.
Though the sun had popped out in time for the start of the "Show and Shine" at 1 p.m. in downtown Somerset, the earlier downpour kept many from making it into town. Even featured guest Patrick Glenn Nichols, whose "Musclecar Barn Finds" YouTube channel has a strong following, was forced to turn around in Bowling Green.
Still, the "Long Haul" honors went to a classic auto traveling 962 miles from Lancaster, Massachusetts. Hansford noted that in addition to the typical visitors from Ohio and Tennessee, this month attracted car enthusiasts from Rhode Island, Mississippi, Georgia, Wisconsin and Missouri.
Hansford noted that while the Cruise is a "rain or shine" event, organizers always closely monitor radar reports to help ensure both people and property stay safe. Those who were in attendance didn't let the forecast keep them from having a good time.
"It is what it is," said Dan Gavey, adding that he'd made the "Fun Run" trip to Russell Springs as he gave his own 1931 Ford pickup a final once over with a polishing rag.
The truck is the fourth classic vehicle that the Williamsburg, Ohio, man has rebuilt, and this project took him about a year. "I pretty much do everything myself," he said, "build the car, paint it…everything that I can."
Gavey doesn't restrict himself to a particular make or model, noting that the Ford he was in runs on a Chevy engine. His other automobiles include a Dodge Challenger and a 1929 Ford Sedan that he's currently building. "When I was a teenager, I liked the looks of older cars," Gavey said, adding he started his collection in his mid-30s when he built another 1929 Ford out of pieces.
While Gavey has been to Somernites before, he said that it had been 7-8 years. Jim Layne, however, makes the trip two or three times per year from Tennessee.
This month, Layne brought a first-timer in his friend Wade Hatfield from Soddy Daisy, Tennessee.
"I like the old town atmosphere," Hatfield said of Somerset.
Hatfield's collection is a mix of eight Fords and Chevy models. When asked what makes those brands special to him, he responded that "they're not foreign cars."
While he was showing his all-original 1955 Chevy Bel Air, Layne brought his 1955 Chevy Handyman Wagon.
Layne bought the wagon four years ago in Columbus, Georgia, where it had been driven in drag races.
"I put it back original as much as I could…I'm just getting it finished. It really isn't finished [yet] but it's good enough to drive," Layne said, adding that he is a Chevrolet enthusiast because those are the cars he learned to drive and work on. "It's what I grew up with."