For the 7th Annual Goodguys Spring Nationals on May 27-29, 2005, the event found a new home at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville (where the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Football team play, and was the site of Superbowl XXXIX on February 6th, 2005). From the participant response we have heard it just might have found the permanent location it has been looking for. Thats a very good thing, as we here in Florida want our only annual Goodguys event to thrive and grow through the years, to insure that it will always be around to have fun at. And anyone who has been to a Goodguys event knows they are indeed all about having fun with cool cars!
Also new this year was a very neat idea they called Jammin To Jacksonville, which was a caravan of show cars starting in nine different locations. Routes in Florida began in Ft. Lauderdale, Port Charlotte, Ocala and Panama City. The out of state routes started in Warner Robbins, Georgia - Augusta, Georgia - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Winston Salem, North Carolina. Plus there was the Haulin From Hershey gang that departed from the Goodguys Great American Nationals in Hershey, Pennsylvania on May 23rd. Each route was lead by a Goodguys Rodders Rep, had a $20 registration fee, and there were stops along each route. Participants received a T-Shirt, dash plaque and Bar-B-Q dinner at the end.
Speaking of which, the Jammin To Jacksonville cruises all converged upon Jax Custom & Street Rod Shop at 5854 Commonwealth Avenue in Jacksonville, with 124 cars and their passengers showing up for the 1st Annual Kick-Off Party for the Goodguys Spring Nats. Owners Doyle and Sherry Newsome fed everyone and opened the doors to their shop. The meal had all the trimmings like potato salad and baked beans, and a whopping 300 hamburgers and hot dogs were served up, along with 12 drunken chickens, which are chickens cooked sitting upright on an open can of beer. As the beer boils off it moistens the chicken from the inside, and adds a kick of flavor. This was a great kick-off for the Spring Nats, and were glad that the people at Jax Custom & Street Rod Shop were generous enough to host it. They have been a long time advertiser in Mike Kellys Cruise News, and just nice people to know in general, so give them a call at 904-783-6851.
On Friday, May 27th the focus turned to the Alltel Stadium grounds, where rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and trucks through 1972 converged for the upcoming three days of fun. All said there were over 1,200 show vehicles, and more than 47,000 people who came out to enjoy them as spectators. One great thing about Jacksonville is that it is easily accessible from a couple major highways, so that makes it inviting for those traveling from not only within Florida, but especially to those from other states. And sure enough, there was a good turnout of non-Florida cars....which was neat because that likely meant we hadnt seen them before.
Also of note is that the host club, the Jacksonville Rod Runners, gave up their own very successful show, the Memorial Day Rod Run which celebrated its 33rd Anniversary, to free up the date and help out the Goodguys now that the Spring Nationals are in Jacksonville. A big round of applause goes out to the Jacksonville Rod Runners generosity and hard work.
Alltel Stadium proved to be a great location, as it has lots of nice landscaping with towering tropical palms, and lush grassy areas. Parts of the 73,000 seat stadium was also used for the Goodguys event, including the Bud Zone and restaurants. This meant air conditioning and plasma TVs were there for times when you wanted to take a break, get out of the sun, and get refreshed in a climate controled setting while having a drink, or whatever. There was also a nice indoor area for memorabilia items, arts and crafts for sale in the Goodgals Gallery, various vendors and exhibitors, the Kids Fun Zone, and more. And as always the swap meet and car corral areas were also hoppin as well.
On Sunday all the award recipients gathered around the main stage area. However, at a Goodguys event they dont simply walk up to accept their award....they drive the winning vehicle right up in front of the assembled crowd. This is always exciting because not only do you see the beautiful vehicle that was selected - you also get to HEAR it! That certainly adds to the experience, and is a great total package.
Like everyone, we are looking forward to the return to Alltel Stadium next year, and another round of Goodguys style fun in the Sunshine State. For more info, including a complete list of this years winners, you can visit the Goodguys web site at www.good-guys.com, or stay tuned to Mike Kellys Cruise News as the event draws near. CN