By Shawn Brereton
It was HOT! No, it was more than hot, it was miserably hot, but at least it was dry! Somernites Cruise has had a tough year, as far as Mother Nature is concerned. Somerset, Kentucky is the Car Cruise Capital of Kentucky, and the number one thing you want to see is a good forecast. Unfortunately, rain has been on the radar almost every fourth weekend of the month since April, when the 2017 season started.
Fast forward to July and the chance of precipitation was finally in our favor, so we loaded up the van and made the 6 hour trek up the Cumberland Parkway for the Corvette Summer edition of Somernites Cruise. Obviously, Corvettes were the featured vehicle, but all customs, classics, hot rods and muscle cars are welcome to participate each month.
We missed the meet and greet at Danny’s Rod Shop where Sam Memmelo from the Two Guys Garage and Shadetree Mechanic TV shows put on a wiring seminar and answered fan questions. However, we did make it in time to get to Don Franklin Chevrolet for their annual Heros cruise-in, where all proceeds go to the Vets N Vettes event hosted by the National Corvette Museum just down the road in Bowling Green. They had door prizes, raffle drawings, and awards. Over 75 Corvettes showed up to the cruise-in.
After the cruise-in it was time to take the Vettes out and show off their handling capabilities as 55 Vettes took on the Rattlesnake Run, a 70 mile, 300+ turns cruise through the rolling hills of Kentucky. We got to ride shotgun with Keith Floyd, executive director of Somernites Cruise in a 2017 Targa-topped Stingray at the front of the line and got some great shots of the Corvettes as the traversed through the twisties. By the way, we don’t recommend riding backwards on your knees in a Corvette for 70 miles!
When we returned to town, Friday Night Thunder was already in full swing. Friday Night Thunder is a cruise-in that takes place at the Somerset Mall. There are food trucks, vendors, music, and lots of hot rods. We quickly got our booth setup for people to come by and grab some free magazines, purchase a t-shirt, or subscribe to any one of our four magazines. As the sun dropped, we’d like to say the temperature did too, but it was little relief. It did give us a great opportunity to practice some night photos.
The sun was turned up to “eleven” for Saturday’s Show and Shine in downtown, as we were setting up the booth on the main square in downtown Somerset, but as the 1:00 pm opening time approached so did the clouds. Luckily for all, there was only a brief sprinkle of rain which at least brought a little breeze along with it. The brutal heat and the menacing sky kept the car count lower than Somernites would have hoped, but given the circumstances, we believe the numbers were stellar.
Despite another big name show going on down the road in Bowling Green, Somernites proved that it is the premier show to attend in the central Kentucky area. There were 655 cars, 124 first-time participants from 8 states, and over 200 Corvettes that came through the gates.
From the moment the gates opened, there was a constant stream of people stopping by to pick up a free magazine (or four) and buying t-shirts. It’s a good thing we brought extra, as we still sold out of almost every size! Somernites Cruise always has great celebrities to attract show-goers and July was no different. Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on the hit show The Munsters was on hand to show off the Munster-mobile and Dragula tribute cars, while Sam Memmelo was also on the main square signing autographs and answering questions.
Though the show thinned a bit as people retreated to the A/C in the late afternoon, there were still plenty of people enjoying the day. With children (and some adults) occupying every fountain in the downtown area, the big winners on the day were ice cream, shaved-ice, and lemonade stands. Business was also brisk as people registered for their chance to win a Gatormade enclosed trailer as well as the 2017 Giveaway Car – a gorgeous two-door 1955 Chevrolet Belair.
As dinner-time rolled around, we broke down the booth and headed to the hotel for a quick shower, then stopped for dinner, before taking in the cars Cruisin’ the Strip! All show-goers are encouraged to cruise up and down highway 27 as both sides of the road are lined with folks taking in the (pardon the pun) hot cruising action and hanging out with friends, which is exactly what Somernites is all about – celebrating American car culture – and no one does it better!
The August edition of Somernites Cruise is always a highly-attended event as the SuperCruise comes to town. Cruisers meet for a Friday night cruise-in in outlying cities and cruise-in together on Saturday morning. The Ford Mustang is the honored vehicle, which always brings a huge number, and Shelby American and Ford Performance will be there to sell parts and answer questions. The special guest is Stacey David from Gearz TV, and he’ll be bringing his custom made Sergeant Rock 4×4 that he built on the show.
The Ponies will be invited to run the Rattlesnake on Friday and Saturday morning’s fun run will be to London Dragway where all participants can make unlimited passes for just $10. Last year saw more than 800 Mustangs in attendance and the cruising was epic, so if you’re thinking of something to do on August 25-26, we encourage you to give Somernites Cruise a try. You won’t be disappointed, trust us!