The roads of Grady County will take a roll back in time this weekend when the 29th Annual Great Southern Antique Car Rally rumbles into town. The community event will feature 1960-72 Chevy trucks, but will include antiques, classics and street rods as long as they are 25 years old. Hobson Chevrolet Buick and the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce are the event sponsors.
Organizers say they hope locals will don official car rally t-shirts or hats on Friday to show their support for the event and welcome the visiting participants.
The shirts are on sale at the chamber for $15 each and hats are $12.
Participants will register at the Grady Cultural Center on Friday, 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., then enjoy a BBQ dinner before the Gas Light Parade up and down Broad Street at 8 p.m. Grady Countians are invited to line the street and see the antique cars and trucks drive through downtown Cairo.
A street dance featuring the band “Just Us,” will follow at Grady Cultural Center. The sponsor of this event is CNS.
On Saturday morning, the antique vehicles will travel more than 50 miles along Grady County roads in a poker rally. The public is encouraged to line the rally route to welcome the participants and watch the antique vehicles in motion during the daylight.
The cars will make five stops along the route where they will have their rally card punched. Once they make it back to Davis Park in Cairo, they will get playing cards for each hole punched in their rally card, and the participants with the best poker hands will win cash prizes. First prize wins $125, second prize wins $75 and third prize wins $25.
Vehicles not participating in the poker rally will be on display at Davis Park beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, and all cars will be displayed there by noon until 2 p.m. when prizes and cash awards will be announced.
The car rally committee has decided to forgo judging for various trophies this year.
“They decided they wanted it to be more laid back and fun for the participants,” says Wayne Hadden, a founder of the rally who says the practice of judging for best entries was added over the years and did not take place at the original rallies. There will continue to be judging and awards, however, for the best featured vehicle.
Hadden, who had announced his retirement from the event last year, says he agreed to assist organizers this year since the chamber is without full-time staff.
Volunteers on the organizing committee are Trent Stewart, Brian Hayes, Brent Campbell, Scott Davey, Shawn Mobley, Bob Hobson and Hadden.
“We want this event to be something fun for the entire community,” says Hobson.
Hadden says a 1910 Buick was the oldest car to ever participate in the Antique Car Rally. He says as people age, the types of antique cars at rallies change. “We have some of all of it. Generally speaking, at car shows across this country you see fewer and fewer of the real old cars. What people remember and what people are purchasing and buying and favoring are what they grew up with. The generation of people with older cars are getting older,” Hadden says.
Although he is too young to remember them, Hadden says he still favors old cars, and he plans to drive a 1912 Rambler for the Poker Rally if there is good weather. His backup car is a more youthful 1966 Corvair.
2017 Poker Rally Route
Leave the Grady Cultural Center and go up 3rd Avenue for 1 block to the traffic light. Turn right on North Broad Street and travel 2.6 miles out of town to a 4-way stop sign at Pine Park Road. Continue to go straight 3.8 miles to stop sign at Midway Road and Hadley Ferry Road. Turn right on Hadley Ferry Road and scoot along 3.7 miles to Gainey Road. Turn right on Gainey Road and go 1.5 miles to stop sign at Lower Hawthorne Trail Road. Turn right on Lower Hawthorne Trail Road and poke along 4.3 miles to stop sign at GA Hwy 111 South. Turn right on GA Hwy 111 South cruise 1.6 miles to Tired Creek Road. Turn left on Tired Creek Road and go 6.2 miles to stop sign at Old 179. Turn right on Old 179 South and scoot along 5.7 miles, into the City of Whigham, to traffic light at U. S. Hwy 84. Turn right on U. S. Hwy 84 and zip along .4 miles to Rattlesnake Roundup Grounds on the right. Turn right into grounds and TAKE A BREAK!
Leaving the Rattlesnake Roundup Grounds, turn right on U. S. Hwy 84 and cross over the bridge then turn left on Old U. S. 84 (about .2 miles). Travel 1.5 miles on Old U. S. 84 to Trinity Road. Turn left on Trinity Road and poke along 3.0 miles to stop sign at Open Pond Road. Cross Open Pond Road (you’re now on Peebles Still Road) and go 6.2 miles to stop sign at GA 112. Turn right on GA 112 and travel .3 miles to Pine Level Road. Turn left on Pine Level Road and cruise 1.9 miles to Ridge Road. Turn right on Ridge Road and zip along 4.6 miles to stop sign at GA 111 North. Turn right on GA 111 North and poke along 3.0 miles into the City of Cairo to the 2nd traffic light, which will be 3rd Avenue N. E. Turn left on 3rd Avenue N. E. and go into Davis Park.