Monday, October 15, 2007

Dukes Cruise: An overview

What a great weekend it was in Covington, Georgia, and what a wonderful weeklong event, by all accounts, was the Hillbilly Woodstick 2 Dukes of Hazzard Cruise.

Wayne Wooten and his wife, Donna, put together an enjoyable, free, safe, fun and peaceful event for not only "Dukes of Hazzard" fans but for Wayne's Dodge Charger Registry members, as well. There were beautiful Chargers of various years and colors on display at the antiques mall on Elm Street in Covington on Saturday. They came from all over: Indiana, Michigan, Tennesee -- even Australia -- to do the cruise, which began on October 5 in North Carolina and ended right here in Georgia, in the birthplace of "The Dukes."

Wayne says he plans to do this event for five years. "It'll always be free of charge," he told the attendees at the close of the event this past Saturday evening in Covington's Square. "It'll always be this kind of event."

All this week on the BRBTV News Blog, we're going to give you a glimpse of the Georgia portion of the Hillbilly Woodstick 2 Dukes of Hazzard Cruise, both in photos and in great stories that were shared by the event's special guests: Byron (Coy Duke) Cherry, James (Rosco P. Coltrane) Best, Don Schisler, Tom Sarmento and Tony Kelley. (Jerry Rushing, the man who started it all for "The Dukes," joined up with the group in North Carolina but was unfortunately unable to travel to the Georgia leg of the event.)

BRBTV would like to thank Wayne and Donna and everyone who made this event a nice one.

The mayor of Covington, Sam Ramsey, stopped by the Super 8 Motel around lunchtime on Friday with a special welcome for all of the event's guests and attendees. He asked everyone in the motel's conference room to introduce themselves and tell where they were from, to see how many states were represented.

Tom Sarmento, left, and James Best during the group introductions and the mayor's visit. After this, guests and attendees reconvened upstairs in the hotel's meeting room for a special time of stories and questions for the cast and crew.

It was standing-room-only as the crowd packed into the meeting room of the Super 8 Motel in Covington, to hear stories from the event's guests. Here, Tony Kelley speaks, while Don Schisler, on the right, looks on. (You'll be hearing more about those guys, along with Tom Sarmento, later this week!)

Judy Bruce, shown here with her daughter, Brooke, on Saturday, has her own "Dukes" claim to fame. She was one of the children of the orphanage featured in the show's pilot episode. She was that cute little girl who climbed into the back of Boss Hogg's Cadillac and fiddled with his hat. Judy still lives in Metro Atlanta.

This blazin'-orange-beauty-in-progress belongs to Billy, who also attended the Hair Dare Dukes Days in Canada a couple months back (see the August 13, 2007 post of this blog to catch Billy and his T-shirt with a special message). Billy told us that he bought this Charger from a friend who'd gotten it on eBay, and he drove 12 hours nonstop with a trailer to pick it up. "I put a fuel pump in it, and it's been runnin' ever since," he said. But it wasn't a General Lee back then. "I hand-painted everything on it." Billy says he drives it to all the shows he does. "I never trailer it."

Dodge Chargers from all over the place went along on the cruise (we were rather partial to the red-and-black beauty there on the right). This was part of the display on Saturday at the antiques mall on Elm Street in Covington, before we all relocated to the Lions' BBQ cookoff in Covington, eventually ending up on the Square later on in the afternoon.

At the Lions' BBQ cookoff, one of the authentic screen-used General Lees was on display.

All roads lead to the Square, don't they, now? They sure do, when you're talkin' Covington! On Saturday afternoon and evening, General Lees and other Chargers were wound all around the Square, with lots of folks checkin' out the scene.

"This hobby is for us," Wayne Wooten told the crowd at the event's close near the monument on the Square. "This hobby is not for crooks." Wayne also had a raffle drawing for a snazzy General Lee model car, signed by all the event's special guests, as well as some other cool prizes.

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV

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