By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
It has been 40 years since moviegoers were introduced to Bandit “Bo” Darville, Cledus “Snowman” Snow, Carrie “Frog”, and Sheriff Buford T. Justice in the classic southern themed movie ‘Smokey and the Bandit’. The movie is actually about a bet to transport an illegal load of Coors beer from Texarkana to Atlanta in 28 hours. Along the way, the duo of Bo and Snowman talk on the CB radio, find love, and wreck an awful lot of police and state trooper cars. Universal Studios recently celebrated what was the second largest grossing movie of 1977 by having a limited release of the movie at select theaters across the country.
RESTORE a MUSCLE CAR in Lincoln, Nebraska is sponsoring a week-long “Bandit Run” taking the classic cars from the film on the road. including the 1977 Special Edition Black and Gold Pontiac Trans Am driven by Bandit “Bo” Darville, played by Burt Reynolds. Replicas of “Snowman’s Dream” transfer truck driven by Cledus “Snowman” Snow, played by the multi-talented Jerry Reed and Sheriff Buford T. Justice’s, played by Jackie Gleason, car will also be in the event. This year’s Run already has over 250 registered cars and more than 500 attendees. This will be the 11th annual Bandit Run, which originated in 2007 when Restore a Muscle Car (RAMC) owner, Dave Hall and Trans Am enthusiast David Hershey decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film “Smokey and the Bandit,” by reenacting the quest to drive Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas, to Atlanta, Georgia. Subsequent Bandit Runs have traversed different parts of the country, predominately in the South and Midwest.
On Tuesday June 20th, the caravan of cars, which at times will number over 250 and measure well over a mile when lined up will be in Alabama. The Bandit runners will roar into Birmingham/Leeds, Alabama to experience Barber Motorsports Park. Barber Motorsports Park is 880 beautiful acres that are a car enthusiast’s dream including a world class museum with the world’s largest collection of motorcycles, lots of vintage Lotus and other cars. There will be a Show Field open where Bandit Run participants can park and show off their cars from1:00 pm to 7:00 pm. This area will be open to the public as well for free, allowing people to walk around and enjoy the fanfare with the participants. Bandit Runners will also be able to do paced parade laps on the track. At 5:00 p.m. the Runners will line up and will parade over to the Coyote Drive-In Movie Theatre 3 miles away. There will be a special showing of the iconic movie at the drive-in at 8:15p.m. Run participants will have family friendly refreshments, Coors available for adults, and a special Diablo Sandwich Package in honor of the Run.
On Wednesday June 21st there will be a Trans Am caravan on a beautiful scenic drive through the Talladega National Forest as they head toward Atlanta. Runners will have a lunch/fuel stop in Roanoke, AL before continuing to add another historic first to their event.