"The Bandit Run Rolls Into Jupiter" Video:
The Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum to Host Bandit Bash
On May 15, 2007 a caravan of Trans Am fans recreated the rip roaring, adventure filled trip from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia made famous by those two lovable bad boys Burt Reynolds (Bandit) and Jerry Reed (Snowman) in the Hollywood hit,“Smokey and the Bandit.” Three years later, the “Bandit Run” has become an annual event. This year’s convoy, totaling over 85 vehicles and a replica of Jerry Reed’s 18 wheeler, starts out in Braselton, Georgia and finishes in Orlando, Florida. Along the way, they will stop in Jupiter, Florida, the home of the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum, for the Bandit Bash.
Wednesdayevening, May 19, 2010 from 5 pm to 10 pm, the town will be rocking under the Indiantown Road Bridge as bands such as local favorite Cooper Getschal and the Beach Boomers strike up a country beat. Also performing will be The Art Mann Band and the Trailer Trash Band. A Burt Reynolds look-a-like contest, food vendors, a memorabilia auction and admission to the Museum will round out the event. For those movie-loving fans, the Bandit’s own bandit car will sit center stage. At $15.00 per person, this is the perfect venue to kick summer into first gear. Tickets will be available at the gate.
When asked about the lasting impression made by the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies, director, Hal Needham, said, “Just think, it all started with a truck load of Coors and a black Trans Am. Burt, Sally, Jackie, Jerry & Fred – who would have thunk it would amount to this?”
Ever humble megastar, Burt Reynolds, said, “I am flattered and honored that so many Bandits are still around. I wish Jackie and Jerry were here to see the Bandit Run and I sure hope you all have as much fun as we did making the films!”
Mark your calendars for May 19th. Be sure to top off the tank, click your seat belt, depress the gas pedal and steer on over to:
The Burt Reynolds Museum
100 North U.S. Highway One
Jupiter, Florida 33477
Don’t be left thumbing a ride by the side of the road
JUPITER — More than 100 Pontiac Trans Ams and other muscle cars with their Bandit-like drivers roared into Jupiter on Wednesday.
But their patron saint — Burt Reynolds, from the “Smokey and the Bandit” series of films — was missing.
Reynolds, a guest star on USA Network’s hit series, “Burn Notice,” was unable to appear. He is involved in shooting an episode shooting in Miami Beach and not expected to be finished filming until next week.
“Burt was really disappointed that he couldn’t be here to welcome the fans and Bandit Runners,” said Suzanne Niedland, chair of the board for the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre, located at his museum in Jupiter.
“He really tried hard to get back up here for this wonderful event and sent his personal assistant, Gregg Goldsbury up here from South Beach to bring his own person Bandit car, the real one, to the event for the folks to enjoy,” she added. “I was on the set and they were filming until late each night.”
From their lodgings at the Jupiter Beach Resort, they came roaring down Alternate A1A behind a Jupiter Police Dept. escort, to U.S.1, then turned into the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum. The racy Pontiacs of different years and colors were taking part in a mild reenactment of the Bandit’s high-speed escapes from the long arm of the law, like “Smokey,” better known a Jackie Gleason’s character, Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
In each of the 125 shining Pontiac Trans Am or other muscle cars taking part, no Bandit look-alikes could be spotted, but there were families, single drivers, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends who started the procession from Braselton, Ga., on May 15. The six-day, activities-packed road trip stopped in Jupiter for a chance to pay tribute to Reynolds.
“With General Motors no longer manufacturing Pontiacs, the Bandit Run 2010 was designed to celebrate a slice of American history,” said David Hall, owner of Restore A Muscle Car, of Lincoln, Neb., the creator/sponsor of the Bandit Run that was founded in 2007. “We wanted to also pay homage to the 1977 hit film series, “Smokey and the Bandit.” Along the way, we have enjoyed car shows, auto museums, parades, dinners, drag racing, entertainment, the Bandit Bash here and we’ll end up at Walt Disney World Speedway for a race and musical revue dinner show.”
As part of their stop in Jupiter, a Bandit Bash was sponsored by the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission and organized locally by Bob Nichols, of Grassy Waters Preserve, along BRIFT volunteers. It was a fundraiser for the Burt Reynolds Institute of Film and Theatre. The bash was held behind the museum, under the Indiantown Bridge in Riverwalk Events Plaza.
More than 400 people showed up to view the display of cars, along with a replica of Sheriff Justice’s patrol car and a replica of the “Snowman’s” 18-wheel tractor trailer that were brought here for display.
Naples resident John Debin jammed his yellow cloth in his back pocket to explain why he and 110 other owners of the iconic cars were under the Indiantown Road bridge.
"I get on the open road and blast my Rick Springfield music," smiled the 52-year-old bearded retired New York corrections officer. "I’m in heaven."
About 500 fans of the muscle cars made famous in the 1977 Burt Reynolds movie "Smokey and the Bandit" paid $15 each Wednesday night to view the cars. A few blushed at the memories.
"When he picked me up for our first date in 1994, he was driving a black Trans Am," said Saundra Peck, nodding to her husband Keith. "I’ve loved these cars since I first saw the movie," said the retired Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy.
The event annually is organized by Dave Hall, who employs 15 people at his Lincoln, Neb., business Restore a Muscle Car. The owners start in Brazelton, Ga., and make several stops in Florida. This was the first time the event stopped in Jupiter, Reynolds’ hometown. The Bandit Bash leaves today for Orlando.
"When we drive together down the road, we get thumbs up from people. They smile, they wave. Trans Am owners love it. It’s in their blood," said Hall, 39, who brought his wife Michelle and two daughters for the trip.
As music from a live Rock ‘N’ Roll band bounced off the bridge rafters, Danny Manning, who works on mine machinery in Benton, Ill., bragged that his black T-topped WS6 with gray interior is one of only 244 made.
"You can be a country boy or a city boy. But we’re all the same when we drive these babies," said Manning, who is on his fourth Bandit Bash.
Reynolds, who is filming episodes of the USA drama Burn Notice, did not attend the event adjacent to the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum on U.S. 1.
The Trans Am was the last of the great muscle cars, said Keith Peck, a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy who keeps three in his home.
"Muscle cars started going south in the 1980s. Since then, they have no style, no horsepower," said Peck, who is married to Saundra. "I’ll always own one."
Participants in this year’s “Bandit Run” gathered for photo ops on the Monticello Square Sunday morning.
The “Bandit Run,” a take-off on the old Smokey and the Bandit movie takes place each year, and this year the group stopped in Monticello so interested persons could see the muscle cars and the tractor trailer that travels with them.
At least one local family caught up with the “bandits” and traveled with them for a while down Interestate 75 after they left Macon. The group of some 100 cars along with the semi got a lot of looks as they headed down the raod to Sunday’s destination which was Tifton. The run is sponsored by “Restore a Muscle Car.”
By RAY WEISS, Staff writer
May 15, 2010 12:05 AM
Ric Rodriguez fell in love the first time he saw those sleek curves and that powerful presence up on the movie screen.
He was a small-town boy in 1977 and "Smokey and the Bandit" was the first movie he'd seen in an indoor theater. At 10, he was transfixed by that Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds.
"I had a love for the car and movie ever since then," said Rodriguez, now a 43-year-old independent car dealer in Sarasota. "I told myself I was going to find one of those cars one day."
That day arrived in 1990, when he found one of the Pontiacs sitting in "some guy's garage," almost an identical twin of the Trans Am in the movie -- black with gold trim.
Since 2007 -- the 30th anniversary of the film -- Rodriguez has joined other lovers of the movie and the cars for Bandit Run, an annual celebration honoring the cult comedy that also starred comedy legend Jackie Gleason as Buford T. Justice, a small-town sheriff, and actress Sally Field.
The film's simple plot centered on lots of car chases involving the illegal running of 400 cases of Coors beer, which, back in the 1970s, wasn't distributed east of Texas.
Late Monday afternoon, Rodriguez and about 100 other Trans Am owners from throughout the country are expected to arrive in Daytona Beach. After spending the night at a beachside hotel, they are scheduled to drive and display their cars Tuesday night at 6 at Hooters restaurant before rolling on to Jupiter and Orlando.
"This is fun stuff, not just a car show," Rodriguez said. "This year, the idea was to make a run to Burt's hometown, Jupiter, even if he doesn't come out."
Keith Peck of New Smyrna Beach will be making his first Bandit Run. The 52-year-old sheriff's sergeant has owned about 20 Trans Ams since 1977. One of the three he now drives has just 10,000 original miles.
"I got my first Trans Am right after the movie came out," he said. "They were about the only muscle cars left by 1977."
Bandit Run was conceived by Dave Hall, a 39-year-old Trans Am owner and muscle and classic car dealer from Lincoln, Neb. He and a customer back in 2006, over dinner, talked about the forthcoming anniversary of the movie, the classic "muscle" cars and doing a fun run to honor both.
"I'm definitely a fan of the movie. One of my first cars was a Trans Am," he said. "I love the cars. It's a sharp car. And a rare car."
The first year of the Bandit Run followed the movie's original route from Texarkana, Texas, to right outside of Atlanta. This is the first trek to Florida.
"Every stop for gas or lunch we add more cars," Hall said. "People meet up where and when they can."
The hope is that the Bandit -- Burt Reynolds -- shows up at his Jupiter museum to meet the mobile fans of "Smokey and the Bandit."
"We're crossing our fingers," Hall said. "That's why we're taking the event down to his front door."
With General Motors no longer manufacturing Pontiacs, the Bandit Run 2010 will celebrate a slice of American history and pay homage to the 1977 hit film “Smokey and the Bandit.”
Sponsored by Restore a Muscle Car of Lincoln, Neb., the fourth annual Bandit Run will roar to a start on Saturday, May 15, beginning at the Year One facility in Braselton, Ga. More than 100 participants from across the country – many driving their own classic Pontiac Trans Ams – will converge on Year One ready to drive. The activities-packed trip includes a six-day itinerary:
Created in 2007, the Bandit Run started as a re-enactment of the journey portrayed in “Smokey and the Bandit,” where Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) chases a trucker, “Snowman” (Jerry Reed), his buddy “Bandit” (Burt Reynolds), a runaway bride, “Frog” (Sally Field), and 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas, to Georgia. Over the years, however, the event has “become so much bigger and more meaningful,” according to Bandit Run sponsor Dave Hall. “What started out as small group of die-hard Trans Am lovers, evolved quickly into a 100+ group of close-knit friends travelling all over the U.S. with a variety of muscle cars and the same objective in mind, to cruise in their beloved muscle cars and have fun,” Hall said.
Open to everyone (including those who do not drive Pontiacs), this annual traveling car show offers an opportunity for gear heads, Trans Am enthusiasts, fans of the film and more to embrace the Americana-flavored event that some, like Bill Halsey of Independence, Mo., have made a yearly tradition. “Once I went on the first one, I was hooked,” said Halsey. “I knew I’d never miss one.”
Along with the classic cars, Snowman’s rig will once again join this year’s run, and rumor has it that the Smokey may be in “hot pursuit.”
To find out more information or to register, visit http://www.thebanditrun.com/.
The Jerry Reed family of Nashville, Tenn.– “When our family heard what Tyler, Greg, and Kevin [the owners/restorers of Snowman’s trailer] were doing to honor dad on the 2009 Bandit Run, we were completely blown away. The Bandit Run is such an amazing group filled with some of the most caring and friendly people we have ever met! Fun? That doesn't even touch it! We had a ball! The Bandit Run created some amazing memories that our family will never forget. 2009 may have been our first Bandit Run, but it certainly won't be our last!
Dave and Nancy Betz of St. Joseph, Mo.- “We did the Bandit Run last year and met so many wonderful people that became friends. We celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary last year on the run and this will be our 33rd and a chance to be with everyone again. It is one of the best times we have ever had.”
James and Debra Buie of Diana, Texas- “The Bandit Run carries us back to a better time and allows us to celebrate it with a great bunch of people.”
Mark Ciepiela of Rock Hill, S.C. - “I was 19 when I ordered my 1976 Trans Am from the dealer, and the Bandit Run is the most fun I’ve ever had in my car.”
Clint Clausing of Milwaukee, Wis. - “This will be my second Bandit Run, and the people you meet along the way are second to none.”
Stan and Pam Farlow of Columbus, Ohio - “It’s great to know a group of folks that get together every year just to celebrate a passion for Trans Ams, a belief that ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ is a documentary and the need to answer the question ‘Does this thing move?’”
Ron Franks of Cumming, Ga.- “The Bandit Run is like the Super Bowl of polish and cruise! It is indescribable. You have to do the run to experience it.”
Brian G. of La Salle, Ill.- “There is no other feeling that compares to the high I get from driving with such a big group of Firebirds! It’s all about the birds and the passion I have for them and the people I meet on the way – such a cool group of guys and gals!”
Brenda and Gary Gregory of West Palm Beach, Fla. - “The Bandit Run is a vacation that everyone enjoys. You travel through parts of the country you may have never seen before and you meet great people that remain your friends forever.”
Tyler Hambrick of Newnan, Ga.- “The Bandit Run is about celebration, family, adventure and fun. It’s not about the destination but the journey, and rolling down the highways leaving only the breeze and smiles behind us.”
Mike Hudgins of Madison, Miss.- “The Bandit Run is the ultimate fountain of youth! I bought my first Trans Am in 2008, 24 years after driving a friend’s. I found the Bandit Run info online while searching anything Trans Am related … The Bandit Run is a must for every Trans Am enthusiast’s bucket list.”
Robert Kern of Plano, Texas - “There’s an old saying that true wealth is not measured in the accumulation of money but rather in the friendships built during one’s life. If that’s the case, then Bandit Runners are rich indeed.”
Sam Lewis of Russiaville, Ind. - “The Bandit Run starts out with the cars and our love for them, but that quickly changes to the people you meet along the way. The cars are the glue that puts us together, but I cherish the friendships I have made most of all.”
Heidi, Frank and Tony Martin of Gastonia, N.C.- “There have been movies in the past that featured cars and trucks, but none have ever left as indelible a mark on Americana as ‘Smokey and The Bandit.’” Doing this Bandit Run symbolizes how the simple things in life can be kept alive!”
Mark Miller of Kennesaw, Ga. -“The most important thing to me about doing this trip with all of you is the friendship and respect that we have toward each other. No one is out to outdo the other; we are all a family of strangers brought together by a single name: ‘Trans-Am.’”
Ric Rodriguez of Sarasota, Fla. – “All you have to do is look at the pictures from previous Bandit Runs to know why people love the event. You won’t find a picture of a face without a smile on it. Bandit Run fever is infectious!”
David Thomas of Greer, S.C. - “Rarely will you find such a diverse group that encompasses so many differences into ONE. We come from different places, economic backgrounds, races, creeds, professions, ages and cultures. Our camaraderie is akin to that of those who have served in battle with one another and made bonds that last a lifetime.”
Dennis Wilson of Marietta, Ga. -“The Bandit Run has become one of those events where you begin a yearlong anticipation hours after completing that year’s run. I honestly go through Bandit Run withdrawals when it is over. The Bandit Run is just plain addicting!”
Check out more pictures at: http://picasaweb.google.com/thebanditrunphotos
The Bandit Run Books are also available on Ebay! Click on the pictures below.