Monday, April 11, 2011

An epic event for an epic movie. The 2011 Bandit Run passes through Kansas Speedway

I have been within three feet of the guy who played Mini-Me. I have watched stock car football at the county fair. I have been to Comicon, and seen grown men dressed up like Storm Troopers. Needless to say, I have seen my share of awesome stuff.

But today, I attended an event that topped them all. I am certain that all will agree that Smokey and the Bandit is the greatest movie of all time. This fact is un-debatable. So when something like the Bandit Run passes through the Kansas City area, you can bet that I will be there to cover such an epic event.

Originally, the idea of the Bandit Run was for a caravan of Pontiac Trans Ams to retrace the route that Burt Reynolds' character followed in the original Smokey and the Bandit. The event has grown a bit since that first run in 2007, and now other makes of cars are allowed, and the route changes a bit from year-to-year. The 2011 version started at the "Restore a Muscle Car" shop in Lincoln, Neb., and will end at the YearOne location in Braselton, Ga.

I learned about it this time because I am on YearOne's e-mail list. YearOne sells everything from wheels to engines for vintage cars, and they're the title sponsor of the Bandit Run. I don't remember how I ended up on their list--maybe I bought something from there in the past or asked for a catalog or something. But it doesn't matter; it was a nice piece of spam to receive, and it helped shape my Monday afternoon plans.

I saw the cars at Kansas Speedway, where they stopped to take a few laps around the track. Most of them were Firebirds, Formulas, Firehawks, and Trans Ams, but there were a few relevant deviations, and a couple of interlopers.

Among the outsiders were two Pontiac LeMans police cars, just like the ones Buford T. Justice pursued the Bandit in in 1977, and an awesome recreation of Snow Man's rig. The truck driver even had a Bassett Hound puppy named Fred.

There was also a Challenger, a guy in an early '90s Mustang convertible, and one dude in an Acura.  But still, the majority of vehicles here featured a shaker hoodscoop surrounded by a mythical bird.

My favorite car was a blue-on-blue '71 Firebird Formula 400 with a four-speed, power windows and an 8-track player. I'm sure that thing is going to suck up a lot of near-$4.00 gasoline if she makes the entire trip, but man, it would be worth it to drive such a nice Formula.

There wasn't a big crowd there, so I know most of you didn't play hooky from work today to go see them. But don't fret--I've got you covered. The slideshow below has about 100 pictures from today's festivities. And as I write this, the gang is on their way to the next stop in the 2011 Bandit Run.

For more information on this year's tour, or to keep tabs on next year, visit the website here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the compliments on the 71 Formula, and the honor of having the picture in the article.

    She did ok on gas, 13.5 mpg, but time didn't allow for us to make the entire trip.