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Event Coverage Remember the Gatlinburg, Tennessee Rod run

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bangkok Dean, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. Bangkok Dean
    Joined: Jan 31, 2008
    Posts: 210

    Bangkok Dean
    Member

    I know that the Shades of the past event took over after the riots of 78? in Gatlinburg and miss that rod run, Anyone else remember those days?
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
    Tim likes this.
  2. 41hemi
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,002

    41hemi
    Member

    I sure do. I remember the "locals" removing their front shocks and cruising up the main street pulling wheelies in their novas and chevelles. Also remember a guy running an old cast iron bathtub with a small block chevy. Wild times. Also remember a guy running a rail up the street! What were the riots?
     
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  3. ........................How ironic, we were just talking about the old Gatlinburg Run this past Sunday @ Mike's house weren't we?:D
     
  4. 41hemi
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,002

    41hemi
    Member

    Yes Don we sure were. I don't know about any riots though. I was there in 75 or 76.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  5. I think maybe he was referring to the rowdiness that developed (not so much a riot) over time with antics like you described above. It eventually just got too big for cramped Gatlinburg. I think living this close to D.C. and Brawltimore we know what a riot looks like.;):eek:
     
    greasemonkey54 likes this.
  6. Yes, I do. That was the first rod run that I ever went to. Being from small town America I couldn't believe all of the zillions of street rods there. You could hardly walk for the huge crowds. All in such a small little valley town.
     
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  7. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 3,306

    williebill
    Member

    Fire hoses. Helicopters. Spotlights. Guys in riot gear running up the road in flatbed trucks. Billy clubs. Over turned police cars. Fires in the road. Fights. Massive burnouts on Airport Road. I was there from '71 til, I don't know, early 80's. It DID get a little rough. Got scared and beat it out of town a couple of times.
     
  8. 41hemi
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,002

    41hemi
    Member

    Got it. Must have gotten a little out of control toward the end. I only went the one time in the mid seventies and could tell at that time some of the participants had their fun to the fullest and then some:):)
     
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  9. papastoyss
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 195

    papastoyss
    Member

    I am a member of Nashville Street Rods who promoted & sponsored the Gatlinburg Runs.I was not a member at that time. Most of the remaining members from that era are in their '70s now, I asked once about all the ruckus & found out real quick it was a sore subject.The club has not put on any shows or runs since that time. I was told most of the "troubles" were caused by outsiders, not rodders FWIW.
     
    32STUPRES likes this.
  10. I don't know about the turned over police cars,but I sure got drowned with the fire hoses.

    All the hubbub got started by locals and a lot of stupidity came on the heels of a Tennessee and Auburn football game.

    There were a lot of people dumping bleach in the street and guys doing big smoky burnouts but then again most were not hot rodders but trucks & cars with Tennessee license plates.

    I did witness a guy getting pounded by a guy that got rear ended by a moron on a crotch rocket,he was doing a burn out and ran into a 34 Ford and doing a good bit of damage.

    The police showed up and dispatched both of them to the pokey.

    This was the beginning of the end, I had been to Gatlingburg many times prior to this and it was a great run and never any trouble,we always stayed at the Gillette Motel and every motel parking lot was full of hot rods,,most within walking distance. HRP
     
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  11. paul55
    Joined: Dec 1, 2010
    Posts: 3,491

    paul55
    Member
    from michigan

    Was there in our family's '34 sedan in '75 and '76. For a young teenager, lots of fun!!
     
  12. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 3,306

    williebill
    Member

    Most of the hot rods were safely tucked in at their hotels when it all went to hell at night. I remember a lot of Camaros and Mustangs, often from Knoxville, causing most of the trouble, plus hundreds of people raising hell in the streets. Had to be a nightmare for law enforcement. I live 60 miles away, so I would go home on Saturday night, but it would take hours to get out of town. Reminds me of rock festivals from BITD. Surprised they didn't find bodies on Sunday morning. I saw teens wearing riot gear, don't know where the town got those guys. The overturned police car was actually on the way out of town, in a spot that was usually fairly quiet. Maybe they tried to block the road, and keep more cars from coming into town, and the crowd didn't like that? Scary stuff, but the swap meet was always good.
     
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  13. 47ragtop
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 663

    47ragtop
    Member

    I was there from 1971 till the end about 1980. To me , it was even better than the NSRA Nats. I remember the roll-away bed races down Airport Rd one year. One year there were 3 motorized caskets . Toward the end there were streakers . I also went to the banquet and entertainment that the Nashville ( host ) club put on in the Civic building. A record producer was a member and he arranged the entertainment, usually a country star. He introduced Larry Gatlin one year. We usually stayed at the top of Airport Rd in the Holiday Inn. My wife and I walked up and down that hill many times. Yes in the end there were near riots (police dogs ,fire hoses etc.) mostly caused by the locals. HOWEVER as the president of the Nashville club told me , it takes 2 things to have a show, entertainers and an audience -- I was part of the audience and that was the reason they stopped the greatest car event I had ever been to. I still miss it !!
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  14. Riots!? I was there '77, 8, and 9. (up until May of '80, I was on a 4 year "buzz" back then) Don't remember (have stage 3 CRS now) any riots. I remember, somebody on a skateboard getting arrested for DUI, on the 'hill'.
    Heard of several 'locals' muscle cars doing burn outs and such, cops chasing them.
    As Willie sez. 99.9% of the Rods were parked after dark. NO room to cruise, (Especially mine. Too big. 3 axles, 10 tires, and two gear shifts) with the bumper to bumper locals, plus the 'staggering' throngs of pedestrian rodders, a lot 'egging on' the locals.
    The one negative thing I do remember, was up towards the top of the 'hill' at one of the motels/hotels, some girl was killed. Someone will have to remind me of the details.
     
  15. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,899

    Hamtown Al
    Member Emeritus
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    We were amazed on our first trip in 1975 to see almost nothing but street rods in every parking space in town! It seemed like heaven. Great times and great people. Just looked at dash plaques from 1975 thru 1977.
    All the cars seemed to have the keys in the ignition... after noting that, a pal said he had wasted his time trying to get a lock working on the door of his coupe... he was convinced nobody would care enough to take his car! I felt the same way. Hats off to the guys that made it happen for so many years!
    We always stayed at The Gillette. Owner and her husband were just the best.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
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  16. My first G'burg was the best. Drove all night from Orlando, stayed up all the next day and night, and saw more cars than I thought could exist outside of California. Can't remember the year, but it was the Larry Gatlin debut year.
    Cruised the loop up Airport and around and down to 441, over and over and over.
    I remember a rodder (?) with a flashing red light beanie in the middle of the street directing traffic (and burnouts).

    This was before the riots, fire hoses, etc. All of that crap was locals, drunks, and other shitheads, ruining it for the rest of us. We left the cars in the parking lot and walked the loop.

    Remember that the swap meet was scattered around in parking lots?
     
    Grandadeo likes this.
  17. Yep, made three or four trips to G-burg in the 70's, stayed at the Gillette at least once with a bunch of friends from Ohio. Worked in the swap meet one year for a friend, the late Mike Mayfield. I MISS those days. I'll try to find and load some pics tomorrow. Tim
     
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  18. primed34
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 1,430

    primed34
    Member

    I went from '73 til '77 which was the last year the Nashville Street Rods put it on. It was the MUST attend rod run in the South. And yes there was a whole lot of partying going on. We usually stayed at the Holiday Inn. Pidgeon Forge wasn't much more than a wide spot on the road then. Put a piece of piston thru my oil pan going one year. Had a valve spring break another year, but locals helped us fix on the side of the road. Drove on to G'burg and then drove the 400 miles back home.
     
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  19. Bangkok Dean
    Joined: Jan 31, 2008
    Posts: 210

    Bangkok Dean
    Member

    The first year I attended was I think 1974 along with several South Florida street rod members. We stopped in Orlando to visit Butch Adams wedding then on to Gatlinburg. I then attended most year after that, even after moving to Cincinnati then my wife would drive the 1934 Plymouth and I would drive the 47 Ford custom in the picture. The night of the riots state police came in and blocked all the roads off and fire trucks hosed anyone on the main street. The police went around in there cars telling everyone to go back to there hotels or be arrested. That was the last time I attended the event and I understand that we the last year it was held there. I still remember with fond memories of that beautiful event. On the way home to Florida we took the back road threw the mountains into Georgia, what a road.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
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  20. Here's a pic of my sedan and Pete Eastwood's three window on the trip home. I'm looking for more pics. Tim 003.JPG
     
  21. This is the Model A I drove to Gatlinburg.

    I remember how we looked forward to going every year and it seemed like the greatest car show in the world,most the cars at that time were restorods and predated all the fads of graphics and there were no rat rods,everyone tried to build as nice of a car as they could afford. HRP

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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
  22. patina33
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 64

    patina33
    Member

    I have no idea what anyone is talking about. I was there in the 70's, just can't remember anything.
     
  23. TLB@HCG
    Joined: Jun 7, 2011
    Posts: 227

    TLB@HCG
    Member

    Not sure if any of you guys have seen this, but here's an awesome video of the Mid-South Street Rod Round-Up in Gatlinburg in 1973. Looked like an awesome event.



    And here's another video from the Lookout Mountain Street Rod cruise from around the same era.



    My dad has told me about the wild times in Gatlinburg, and he has a handful of pictures from up there during the late '70s, when things started getting out of hand. I'll post those when I get a chance. The first time he went, he said that he had no idea it was even going on until they got there. He and a few buddies rode their motorcycles up to the mountains, and pulled up on Saturday night and there were thousands of people everywhere. My dad was riding a trike with a VW engine and those were notorious for being wheelie machines. When he finally got enough clearing, he dumped the clutch and did a long wheelie with sparks flying and the crowd cheering him on.
     
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  24. Danny: I love the clothes!!
    Tom: That's because you were inebriated! You still have that roaring thirties banner...the one I stole from your apartment?
     
  25. Bangkok Dean
    Joined: Jan 31, 2008
    Posts: 210

    Bangkok Dean
    Member

    Great video and photos, I hope there are more that can be posted. They sure bring back good memories.
     
  26. TLB@HCG
    Joined: Jun 7, 2011
    Posts: 227

    TLB@HCG
    Member

  27. TLB@HCG
    Joined: Jun 7, 2011
    Posts: 227

    TLB@HCG
    Member

  28. You know the Incredible Hulk is still crusing the streets,we saw it this past weekend in Pigeon Forge,this car has been around for many years,it's blown now. HRP

    [​IMG]
     
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  29. primed34
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 1,430

    primed34
    Member

    Man those videos bring back memories. The gold '55 in both videos is mine which I still have. Damit, where's my bell bottoms. I'm going to grow my hair back out just won't be black.
     
  30. Harms Way
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 6,894

    Harms Way
    Member

    WOW !...... Yes I still remember what we called "The outlaw run"..... I might even have a T-Shirt from 1977 (I'll look for it) Quite the ruckus.. I have herd a story of a rather "Gung-Ho" Police officer that took a swing at a ol' Marine with a billy club back in the day,.... And I understand the ol' Marine is really-really-really sorry for the two front teeth the "Gung-Ho" police officer lost that day.... I have been assured it was a big mistake,... And the "Ol' Marine" was genuinely quite sorry....... (If indeed the statute of limitation has indeed expired) ................... I have no idea who that "Ol Marine" was...... But I am sure he's a really nice guy. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
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