While driving to Myrtle Beach this year to cover the Run to the Sun car and truck show, we got to thinking about all the cars we have seen, all the people we have met, and all the different motel rooms we have stayed in while covering this annual event. Things have changed a lot during these years, yet have also stayed the same. As we drove by the old Darlington Raceway it dawned on us that this was usually a race weekend, but the old speedway was quiet and empty - a victim of the changes in NASCAR. One of the very noticeable differences about the show is the changes in the roads around the Outlet Stores Mall where the event is held. Highway 501 that passes in front of the mall is now raised, and you have to make sure you get off on the right off-ramp to get into the mall parking lot. Due to the changes in the roads, a number of the business, restaurants, and fast-food places have closed up. There are about half as many open stores in the mall as there were five years ago. Myrtle Beach entered a real growth period about 10 or 12 years ago, and every time we go there now, a new business or motel has been built. We're sure that the Pee Dee Street Rodders club that put on this annual event will have to move it to another location due to the continued changes in this area.
As mentioned above, this event is held in the parking lot of the Waccawmaw Outlet Stores on Highway 501 at the inland waterway. Participants started arriving at the show site as early Wednesday. The parking lot at the end of the mall and all the way around behind it was covered with more than 2,400 rods of all types and vintages. Of course, vintage trucks of all logos made up a good part of the vehicles on hand. Every year, a car and truck of the year is chosen by the club and put on display across from the stage and featured on the next year's T-shirt. This year, Truck of the Year went to Bruce Suggs of Fayetteville, North Carolina, with his blown '40 Ford pickup.
There were, as always, a bunch of super-cool trucks on hand. Ulus Burnette of Canton, North Carolina, brought out his really sweet '29 Ford pickup powered by a Chevy 4.3L V-6 engine. Brad Gray of Rockwell, North Carolina, brought out his silver '65 Chevy C-10 Pro Street pickup, with a double-stacked blower sitting on top of a small-block Chevy engine. This thing was a real crowd pleaser; they were three deep around it all day. The one truck that really caught our eye was the red-and-white '57 Ford Ranchero belonging to Jerome Munna of Supply, North Carolina. It had been a while since we'd seen one of these. They're a real neat-looking vehicle. It'd be cool for someone to take one of these and do a real mod job on it. With a little imagination, somebody could make a real eye-catcher out of it.
There were a ton of door prizes given out during the day, ranging from cash prizes to a real nice toolbox. With the threat of rain, the club members decided to start the awards presentation early. Representatives from the National Street Rod Association and the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association were on hand to hand out plaques for their picks for the show. The ladies of the Pee Dee Street Rodders Club handed out several picks of their own. The Top 25 picks were sponsored by the businesses in the Outlet Mall.
The main reason the Pee Dee Street Rodders put this event on is to raise money for several charities in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina. Besides the money collected from the registration fees and vendor fees, a 50/50 drawing is held. Ever year, this money-raising activity gets more popular. 25,000 tickets were sold this year at a dollar each. At the awards presentation, five tickets were pulled, with the lucky winners receiving 2,500 bucks each. Boy, will that pay for a nice trip to Myrtle Beach! We bought a handful of tickets ourselves, but unfortunately none of them were winners. Oh well, it went for a good cause.
Even though the weather was a little on the iffy side, the turnout was great and the club is planning on having the event again next year. It is hard to believe that there are only about 20 members in this club who put on this great event and raise the amount of money they do. We're sure they would like to have some more members, so if there are any of you folks out there in the Carolinas, Georgia, or Florida area who would love to be a member of a great club with a lot of great people, give club president Fred Turner or club PR master David Rogers a call at (943) 667-9720 and (843) 389-3434, respectively.