"WERE BACK....that is what hosts Rich and Linda Martin were saying on Friday and Saturday, January 30th and 31st, 2004. It was the 15th year for the River Ranch Rod Run, presented by the Sunshine State Rodding News at Westgate River Ranch on Highway 60 between Yeehaw Junction and Lake Wales, Florida. Everyone was looking forward to this years event with much anticipation, as it has been since the year 2000 that this show was last held. The ownership of the ranch has changed hands a few times (the addition of Westgate to the title coming recently), and Rich Martin says these folks are here to stay and the show will be held the last weekend of January again from now on.
This is a car event unlike many others, since the location is just about in the middle of nowhere. Which really speaks about the following this show has gathered over the years, since most people have to drive a pretty fair distance to get there, yet are eager to do so. However, once there the setting is really great. All of the many buildings were in tip-top shape, and give a nice country atmosphere. Besides the car show, there is also plenty to do including a rodeo, horseback riding, pony rides, hay rides, golf, tennis, fishing, swimming, bike rentals, golf cart rentals, restaurants and shops. Yep, this is certainly a truly family friendly event.
Rich and Linda said there were 245 pre-registered vehicles, and with day-of-show registrants they were expecting this year to be the biggest yet. However, with the heavy showers on Friday night, and the forecast for more rain on Saturday in the central and south Florida areas Im sure many people made a last minute decision to stay at home. Thats too bad, because even though it was overcast all day Saturday, everything was completely dry until 1:00pm, leaving plenty of time to have fun. Still, the final count was 341 vehicles, and with a better forecast there is no doubt it would have broken the 392 figure for the biggest River Ranch Rod Run so far.
Besides the location, the fact that there is no judging and no trophies set this one apart from most traditional shows. Its all about just bringing your vehicle, whatever the year and whatever the style, seeing old friends, and having a good time. There are Long Distance, Hard Luck and Club participation awards, along with dash plaque and door prizes, but everyone really just comes for the fun....which is a great thing. There were also vendors on hand, offering a variety of auto related items, plus there were a variety of event items like T-Shirts and nice canvas tote bags on sale.
Many thanks go out to Rich and Linda Martin for their hard work, and perseverance to make this event a reality again. I know everyone else in attendance felt the same way. Hopefully next year the weather will cooperate more, and everyone will make it back to the ranch for a good ole time! For more info call Rich and Linda Martin at 954-587-5485. CN