2017 Throwback Thursday Finale

By Chris Gibbany

Classic cars and trucks from all over filled the Kenda Drive-In each month for the second annual “Throwback Thursdays” event.  The event was held the last Thursday of the month and was limited to pre-1980 vehicles.  We decided to show movies from March through July just like last year, as the Drive-In had other events planned in August.  For this year’s series of classic car movies we opened with Burt Reynolds in “The Cannonball Run (1981)”, moved on to the original “Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)”; watched Peter Fonda and Susan George in “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)”, and in June saw another movie with Burt Reynolds titled “Hooper (1978)”.

Admittance to the movie was free and reusable goody bags provided by Gold Eagle were given out to all car owners when they came out to their very first “Throwback Thursday” of the year.  As an added bonus, some of the goody bags contained T-shirts, magazines, small bottles of wax, gift certificates, hats and many other items that were donated by the gracious sponsors.  I worked all winter long to secure goody bag items and door prizes from over 25 national companies.  Door prizes were handed out as my husband and I walked around and met with the car owners and punch cards were once again given to each car that came through the gate.  The car owners were told that the more nights they attended the better chance they had at winning prizes.

Gold Eagle, makers of Sta-bil and 303 products, stepped up to become the official sponsor of “Throwback Thursdays” for 2017.  In addition to supplying the grand prizes, they also donated the postcards that were given out in the goody bags listing the movie schedule with event dates.  Gold Eagle has been a huge contributing factor in making “Throwback Thursdays” a success.  Gold Eagle has donated hundreds of sunglasses, tubes of chap-stick, product samples, and T-shirts as well as informative brochures on many of their products.  They also provided all of the grand prizes and runner-up prizes at last year’s event.

Our “Throwback Thursdays” grand finale was held July 27, where we showed “Bullitt (1968)” starring Steve McQueen, featuring a 1968 Ford Mustang and a 1968 Dodge Charger.  We were set up with our tables next to my flat black 1973 Rallye Challenger.  Right before the movie started, we gathered everyone around to see who would take home the great prizes that had been donated by Gold Eagle.

Since there were only 10 grand prizes this year, we had to randomly pick from the owners who had turned in their punch cards with all five movie nights attended.  The grand prize winners received wash buckets filled with premium automotive products from 303.  The winners not only received all seven full sized products in the automotive line (303 protectant, protectant wipes, quick wax, speed detailer, leather 3-in-1 complete care and trim restorer and protectant kit), they also got a vast assortment of sponges, travel tissues, towels, scrub brushes, microfiber cloths and pads to use with those products.  In addition to this, several buckets contained surprises such as flashlights and funnels.  Other prizes such as bottles of STA-BIL, STA-BIL 360° Oil Stabilizer and 104+ were awarded as we continued to draw names until all of the prizes were gone.

Each month Bill McEntire supplied me with a dozen of his custom rattlesnake earrings to hand out to the ladies in attendance.  This year he made me two more sets of rattlesnake bones to hang from the rear view mirrors of my 1973 AMC Javelin and my recently purchased 1968 Charger since I love the ones in my Challenger so much!  Bill helps out in every way he can and is such an asset to not only “Throwback Thursdays” but to Searcy County as he is always promoting the local events and the area in general.

Some of the other sponsors helping out with this awesome event that I would like to thank are:  Rock Auto, Eckler’s, Hagerty Insurance, Painless, JEGS, Hemmings, Surf City Garage, Lucas Oil, Just Get Dirty Garage, Throttle Gals Magazine, Muscle Car Review Magazine, Classic Performance, DP Brands- Hurst, Flowmaster and B&M Racing, Stoner, Eaton Detroit Springs, Wizards, Mothers, Spectro Oils, Magnaflow, Edelbrock, Meguiar’s, and Summit Racing.

“Throwback Thursdays” is not marketed as a car show and we are always excited to see people bring in their daily driven cars and pickups.  We are trying to get people together who are like-minded and like being around other vintage rides.  We saw everything from super expensive, very rare autos to original painted cars to rat rods, Jeeps, and everything in between.  As long as it was pre-1980, we were glad to see the owners take the time to bring it out and have a good time amongst other people who feel the same way about their rides.  One of the greatest affirmations is the fact that these vehicles are being driven, by real, hardworking Americans and that there is now a venue, once a month, March-July that the car owners can come out to socialize with others who feel the same way.

“Throwback Thursdays” is also a great place to network for people who are involved in all aspects of the automotive industry.  I met several people who run automotive shops that I had given 303 products to last year and this year they commented on how great the products were.  I met Bob King who does some fantastic video and photography work.  When I recently got chosen to become the Arkansas Ambassador for motorcycle tourism for the entire state of Arkansas, I promptly got in touch with Bob to further his career.  When the video crew found out that I also organize and host “Throwback Thursdays’, they wanted to also include that.  In a few short weeks there should be a video out that includes footage of “Throwback Thursdays” taken by Bob King at the Kenda Drive-In that will be used for promoting tourism in Arkansas.  It will be viewable on Arkansas.com

Since I work for Throttle Gals Magazine, I have met several women who are into cars that I have approached about getting in the publication.  Shelley Malone from Harrison, who has owned a 1973 Plymouth Duster since she was 13 was published with a six page feature in the February issue and Jeannettia Goubeaux is going to be in an upcoming issue with her 1939 American Bantam car that she has owned since she was 15.

“Throwback Thursdays” has evolved into not only a local event for car owners, but the word is spreading as it is becoming a “must-do” event and attaining the level of “bucket list” stature.  We met several people this year that came more than six hours away to make it to one of our events.  With the national media coverage that I am able to obtain for this event and as I continue to work on getting bigger and better prizes, the event will continue to maintain its grassroots appeal but be enjoyable for more classic car owners for years to come.

Last year the movies included “Two Lane Blacktop (1971)”, “Vanishing Point (1971)”, Death Proof (2007), “Clutch (2012)” and “Smokey and the Bandit (1977).  Each year we will continue to improve on the experience and will continue to keep it fresh by showing different car movies.

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