Rain fails to dampen Piggott car show fun
Despite a late afternoon downpour, the 14th annual Piggott Heritage Park Car Show drew a large crowd Saturday, and by day's end, over $1,700 in cash prizes and over $400 in trophies were awarded.
"We're still working out all the numbers," noted 2012 co-chair Tim Blair. "We had over 185 cars registered and only eight of those weren't able to attend." This year's co-chair, Brian Haley, added the show is also benefiting a good cause. "The gate numbers look good, and that's great news for this year's Christmas Fest," he noted.
Late last year it was announced that the sponsoring body, the Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce, would use a portion of the gate to finance the purchase of gifts for local kids to be given away at the holiday event the first weekend in December.
"Although the purpose of the show is more community service than fundraiser, we still need to clear enough profit to do it again next year," Blair added. "This year that got a big shot in the arm as Piggott State Bank stepped up and provided both the sound system at the park and the entertainment by Patrick Patterson and The Band Saturday night on the square."
He added that the organizers are already looking into additional corporate sponsorship for the 15th annual show set for May 17, 18 and 19, 2013.
If the weekend was good for organizers, it proved to be great for Gary Qualls of Monette, attending for the first time with his custom 1937 Ford pickup and garnering Best of Show honors. His entry headed up an impressive collection for this year's show, which included a number of longtime favorites and several first time attendees.
"We had to call Gary Qualls and let him know that he had won," Blair said. "He and his brother and a buddy were all showing and headed home when the rain came, so we'll be presenting him with his trophy and prize money later this week."
Activities for the participants actually kicked-off Friday, although some had been in town for days. "We had a group of guys come in Tuesday afternoon from Southern Indiana," Blair added. "This bunch has been coming for years, and in fact one of them, Terry Clippard, took home top honors in our Hot Rod division at last year's show with his yellow '49 stretch cab pickup and trailer."
Friday afternoon several of the early-arriving rodders continued another longtime tradition as they visited General Baptist Nursing Home, the Senior Center at the Piggott Community Center and Magnolia Manor. Later another tradition was continued as Kennett National Bank and Emmanuel Baptist Church of Piggott joined forces to serve a delicious chicken wing dinner to over 200 participants, vendors and volunteers.
"For the third year, Rodney Rouse, Cole Baldwin and Brad Carter have provided and cooked hundreds of chicken wings for the Friday night meal," Blair noted. "They do a great job and we get a lot of compliments that we gladly take on their behalf."
He added that this is also the third year for the congregation of Emmanuel Baptist Church to provide the side dishes and serve the meal.
"This is one of the longtime traditions that we're so happy to continue," Haley said. "We're so grateful that Emmanuel Baptist and Kennett National Bank make that possible -- our thanks to them all."
Friday evening a good crowd gathered at the amphitheater at Heritage Park for entertainment, also provided through corporate sponsorship. The evening kicked-off with a performance by local singer Kristen Scott, sponsored by The Treasure Chest of Piggott, followed by karaoke.
"This marks the third year Brett Haywood of Piggott Collision has sponsored karaoke, even though they got a little wet last year," Blair noted. "It has become one of the events that people ask me about when I visit some of the other shows -- plus, it was great of Kelli Malin of The Treasure Chest to bring us Kristen, she did a great job."
Saturday morning brought a steady stream of late-arriving entries, and the general public, as the volunteers swung into action. Opening ceremonies for the show were held shortly after 9 a.m. and kicked-off the day's schedule of events and activities.
"We had turtle races and a coloring contest for the kids, plus we gave them a chance to 'drive' a radio-controlled mini monster truck," Haley added.
As for the participants and spectators, they enjoyed a near-perfect day in scenic Heritage Park -- at least until the rains came.
"A lot of the participants have pop-up awnings and such, but the rain caught a lot of folks by surprise," Blair said of the afternoon deluge. "But, everyone knows we get at least one shower every year, so they come prepared. We're just thankful the dime-sized hail reported on the west side of town didn't find Heritage Park."
During the rain shower participants were treated to another longtime favorite, as they were enjoyed a pork steak dinner in the main tent.
"This year we made a change and catered the meal through Jeremi Wicker and Hog Wild BBQ," Blair noted. "Tony Mann did a great job cooking for us the past few years and we sure appreciated his help, but we felt it made more sense to farm it out to a professional."
Haley added the response was extremely favorable, and noted that discussions are already underway concerning next year's meal.
Cruisemaster Bobby Hoskins, Monte Howell and Piggott Police Chief Bill Alstadt lined-up the show cars and trucks for the annual cruise Saturday evening with about half the entries participating. Once they had made the round-trip to the airport and back, they assembled around the court square for the evening festivities.
First order of business was the awards ceremony, with Blair serving as the emcee. A complete listing of all the winners may be found elsewhere in this edition. Afterward, Patrick Patterson and The Band provided the entertainment as the participants and public enjoyed the evening. One highlight of the night was the annual 50's dance and dress contest, with three young ladies taking home the cash prizes. First place was Brileigh Daniels, followed by the sister team of Kayleigh and Kirsten Smith in second and third.
Sunday morning began with a performance of gospel music by Jennifer Krepps, followed by the annual church service with Bro. Jerry Massey bringing the message. Blair then handed out the final awards and recognition, and officially closed the show for another year.
Again this year the Jackson Rod and Custom Club had the most members in attendance, and took home the prize for that distinction. The early registration winner for next year's show was Calvin Howell, of Bolivar, Tenn. The winner of the early registration drawing for those entering this year's show by May 1 was Mike Gookin of Piggott.
"We are so thankful that we have the opportunity to put on such a great event," Blair noted. "With the history and tradition involved it's not always easy, but we always try to emulate the people that worked so hard to make this show what it is today."
He added that it takes the effort of dozens of volunteers, sponsors and supporters to make the show possible and offered deep appreciation to everyone involved.
"I'll go ahead and say that anyone interested in being a part of next year's show should contact us soon and we'll get you involved," Blair surmised. "Just call the Chamber of Commerce at (870) 598-3167.