RUN FOR THE HILLS
POPLAR – Thousands of car lovers took the winding mountain roads on the edge of Mitchell County to Poplar this past weekend to pack a grassy area nestled just miles from the Tennessee line during the 12th annual Carolina Pushrodz “Run for the Hills” car show.
The free show featured more than 1,600 show cars and more than 200 motorcycles. Throughout the day-long event, more than 15,000 attendees enjoyed the festivities, marking the largest turnout in show history.
Cars of various makes and models ranging from brightly-colored muscle cars to rugged off-road vehicles packed the field in Poplar.
The show began at 8 a.m. and reached its climax just after 4 p.m. with a crowd-pleasing finale in the form of a burnout competition in a paved area in the center of the field.
Carolina Pushrodz member and coordinator Misty Hughes said the burnout competition was designed to give drivers a designated safe spot to burn rubber, rather than do it on the main road with spectators roaming nearby.
Cameron Jones, of Spruce Pine, won the burnout competition in his Ford Mustang. He won a trophy and $200 cash.
Hughes said Carolina Pushrodz has grown exponentially since the beginning of the annual show. All the club members chip in and help make the event happen along with the aid of several volunteers including Mitchell County Transportation, which offered free shuttle service from the parking lot to the show.
“This is something that a bunch of gearheads thought would be a great thing to do,” Hughes said. “We thought ‘how cool would it be in this little community to do this’?”
Poplar, a community of about 200, was alive with sights, sounds and smells during the show. Several food and beverage vendors set up and sold treats, live entertainment kept guests occupied and a raffle took place. Charlie Franklin, of Burnsville, won the raffle and chose $1,500 cash instead of a 350 horsepower Chevrolet motor.
Vendors, including those selling official “Run for the Hills” T-shirts, sold their wares and are the reason the show has no admission cost.
“It started as a word of mouth, grassroots kind of thing,” Hughes said. “We thought about how big it could be if we worked at it even more and it’s been awesome.”