On Saturday, August 13th, from 10 am til 3 pm, the 15th annual Ardmore Quarterback Club Car Show is going to be held in John Barnes Park on the Tennessee side of Ardmore. Talking with two Ardmore High School graduates, Brad Stovall, and Eddie Gilbert, who both work hard every year to ensure the show is a success, I think I now understand for the first time just how much a car show should more accurately be described as an art show. Last year’s winner was a late ‘40s Chevy truck, and both Brad and Eddie took a good deal of time to explain the marvel of how an old truck could be simultaneously be a “blast from the past,” as well as being brought up to today’s standards. They described it to me as “today’s truck with the look of yesterday,” and it was a beauty.
The first show was held back in 2000, and there were a grand total of seven cars which were entered in the competition. They could easily fit on the football field, and in 15 years the event has grown to where there have been as many as 1500 cars, and thousands of people come to see them. It is not just folks from Limestone, Madison, Morgan, Lauderdale, Jackson, Giles and Lincoln counties who attend; every year there are people from Florida, Mississippi, and beyond. It has been nicknamed “The Biggest Little Car Show in the South.”
Before I talk more about the show, please allow me to tell you a bit about the Quarterback Club, as well as the sponsors. The Quarterback Club was formed to raise money for the Ardmore High School football and cheerleading programs, and the show is the Club’s chief fundraiser. Brad Stovall’s Body Shop is the longest continual sponsor, and others include Ardmore Auto Sales, Air Care Systems, and Snap-On Tools.
While the entire event is held on the Tennessee side, both sides of the respective state lines come together to make it happen every year, rain or shine. Sheriff Mike Blakely provides vans to shuttle people to John Barnes Park, as well as spots along the way. There will be music performed by Fender Bender, and the band is sponsored by Paul Davis, a home recovery and remodeling outfit. There will be concessions, and Brad says, “The entire event is family friendly. You can come here and have fun all day, even if you don’t like cars.”
The prize money is substantial. Brad Stovall’s shop is giving $1,500 for first prize, $1,000 for second prize, and $500 for third. There is a 50/50 drawing, and last year’s take was $4,700. This year there is a chance to win a gorgeous 1959 Ford Thunderbird, which is being donated by R&J Salvage.
Another feature of the Ardmore Car Show is the Swap Meet. There is a brisk market for old car and truck parts, and the selection at this show is huge. It is entirely possible that the exact thing you are looking for is waiting for you, and for a restorer, the hunt is the best part.
Brad and Eddie went on to educate me about what is known as “Rat Rods.” This is a trend that began about 10 years ago, and in the car world, it is akin to “shabby chic” in the interior design world. They look somewhat like the old hot rods, but crazier. They can include trucks, and sometimes will make zany combos like an open hot rod front welded to an old Chevy rear. At times the bodies are actually newer, but have been painted and distressed to look old and rusty. “A Rat Rod is a bunch of junk, but they make it work,” Brad said with a laugh.
Clearly what makes Brad and Eddie smile the most when they talk about the event is what was referred to earlier as the “art show.” Each car or truck entered is a work of art, the result of a large investment, in terms of time, money, research, elbow grease, and the requisite “blood, sweat, and tears” that at the end of the day draws forth the “oohs and ahhs.” As Brad says, “each car tells a story, and the detail says it all.”
Come and experience what Brad is describing on August 13th from 10 am to 3 pm. If you are a spectator, the ticket price is $5.00, families are $15.00, and children 12 and under are admitted free. If you are interested in pre-registering, exhibiting, or for more information, go to www.ardmorecarshow.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner