Filed under: Event Coverage
It started out bad and only seemed to get worse. Once Joyo and I got back on the road in Doc’s suburban, we pushed hard in an effort to make up for lost time. By Wednesday night, we were almost to Nashville and dog tired. We grabbed a few hours of sleep in the “Rain Man Suite” of the dirtiest hotel in Tennessee and then continued on the next morning.
By late afternoon, we were getting close to Gallipolis, so I decided to check up at the drive-in and make sure everything was running smoothly.
“We don’t have your movie and even if we did, I can’t play it.”
Unbelievable. This event had been planned and agreed upon for over a year. What was a jovial environment in the suburban quickly turned into one of despair. I did what most guys like me do when the shit hits the fan – I called my wife. Marcie powered up, called the drive-in, and after some angry words reached an agreement that was just barely acceptable. If we could get a movie, they would play it… but only AFTER the two Disney movies got their time.
Ignoring the shitty situation, Joyo and I started to call anyone we knew that might have access to a vintage 35mm movie stock. Wertheimer pulled strings in Austin, another buddy made calls in Hollywood, and finally we were able to secure a great movie (The Wild One) from Sony pictures. For a boat load of money, Sony agreed to next-day air the movie to our venue. Complete disaster was diverted.
While all of this was going down, I got a voice mail on my phone from our close family friends, hot rodders, and Hot Rod Cinematic helpers – the Silvas. They had planned to fly out to Ohio on Friday to help us with the show the next day. However, the weather in the mid west had lead to their flight being canceled and there was really nothing anyone could do about it. Joyo and I were going to have to run this show alone.
And then it happened again… Just as Doc came to the rescue a few days earlier, Denise and Meagan agreed to help us run the front gate so Joyo and I could run the tent. Disaster diverted once again.
And so the show went on. On Saturday morning, Joyo and I arrived at the venue early to get set up. Just as we were finishing up our event tents, Joyo’s cell phone rang. A good friend and HAMBer had been involved in a bad 4-wheeler accident and was in ICU at the hospital. Aside from putting all of our bad luck thus far into perspective, the call really shook us. I had gotten word that the band’s stage wasn’t going to arrive (more logistical problems) just a few minutes earlier, and I would have been more than upset… But word of the accident beforehand made everything else numb.
It really wasn’t until Ace Brown and his Ohio Valley Boys took the stage grass that we regained our composure. These guys were absolutely incredible and didn’t let a damn thing (lack of a stage, rain, wind, etc…) spoil their efforts. They just simply played their asses off and sounded great doing so.
I’d say they got half a set in before the monsoon hit. It rained and rained hard for about an hour. Don Moyer, Joyo, and myself huddled in the TJJ tent and just kind of took in the scene. It was hard not to laugh. How so many things could go so absurdly wrong in such a short amount of time was simply amazing.
“Still, I’m having a ball,” said Moyer. “And so is everyone that I’ve talked to.”
I don’t know whether Don was just saying that in an effort to lift my spirits or not. In any case, the words were certainly appreciated.
The rain let up just long enough to hold our annual Coker Tire Challenge and I must say, it was pretty hilarious to watch grown adults manipulate their bodies in all kinds of weird and awkward positions in the name of a new set of Cokers. In the end, Roby was able to hide 9 folks in his Galaxy wagon and took home the prize. Cool “little” wagon and a damn good guy.
After watching that hilarity, Joyo and I handed out the awards. A bitchin’ little Chevy, a thoughtful ’32 coupe, and an absolutely incredible ’37 taildragger took home the Killer-D striped drive-in speakers. Don Moyer and pals even made a “Hard Luck” award and presented it to… ME! A kind gesture at a more appropriate time has never been made. I was absolutely floored.
Around this time, folks started leaving to go get cleaned up and grab a bite to eat before the movies started. Joyo and I secured the parking before doing the same. As we headed for the diner, the skies continued to darken and my cell phone rang.
“Mr. Cochran, the Southwest flight that holds your movie is unable to land in Columbus. I’m afraid it won’t be making it.”
Of course… At this point, I was expecting the worse and more bad news really couldn’t have effected me much. I shook it off thinking that at least one of the movies that would be showing was created in part by a HAMBer (Jay Ward). Joyo and I parked on the back row and prepared to watch Wall-E. As soon as the opening credits rolled, the bottom of the sky fell out – more rain and lots of it.
We retired to the hotel parking lot shortly after and hung out with the folks willing to brave the weather. I can’t say enough about the people that attended the 2008 Hot Rod Cinematic. It was great that they did ignore the rain and showed up, but even more so – it was great that there were supportive pals. I appreciate every last one of ya that dropped by and told me to keep my chin up. It meant and means a lot.
I guess it’s at this point that most shows just kind of wrap up and fade away into memory, but I don’t feel like we’ve met expectations for those that handed over their hard earned money – regardless of what is controllable and what is not at an event. And this is a family run business… A family that believes in value and making sure we only deliver above and beyond.
As such, Joyo and I spent a lot of time discussing how we can make those that attended the event feel like they got more than their money’s worth – even though the event is long gone. Joyo had an idea, I fell in love, and we are going to make it happen. So… If you brought a car to the 2008 Hot Rod Cinematic, I need you to email me your full name, mailing address, and year/make of your car. Once done, you can expect a little something in the mail… Give us a week or two to work it out.
What’s next? I’m not totally sure… Frankly, I’m still unwinding from part 2 of this story. You will be able to read more about the adventures of Apollo & Stinky tomorrow.
1. Meagan. Not only did she come to the rescue and actually help put on the show on Saturday, but she also planned all of the hugely successful pre-show activities. She’s an angel… with a kick ass little Chevy that took home the H.A.M.B. pick.
2. John Joyo and The Austin Speed Shop. Before we left Austin, John was a good buddy. Now, he’s pretty much family. He experienced the kind of luck (both good and bad) that only I can have and lived to tell the story. Hell, I’m not sure I could have survived this one without Joyo’s sense of humor tilting me up every so often.
3. Denise. She rescued us on the side of the highway and again in Ohio. She’s everywhere.
4. The Silva’s. Even though they didn’t make it, they wasted a perfectly good Friday morning trying to get to Ohio just to help us out. Saints.
5. Doc. We wouldn’t have gotten there if not for him… More tomorrow.
6. Don Moyer. For keeping my chin up.
7. Ken & Vicky. For the rides… and for supporting us.
8. Darren (Killer-D). For striping his ass off.
9. Ace Brown and his Ohio Valley Boys. For doing what they do best…
10. Coker Tires. For the Coker Tire Challenge and everything else they do for us.
11. Bob. For the hotels… as always!
12. Every single person that made it to Gallipolis, OH. You guys are all golden.