Jeff Ford
January 1, 2001
Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives

When we started this deal back in 1998, we figured that this trail would bring out an average of 20 cars and 40 people. Heck, our first trail had 12 cars packing roughly 20 people. That morning, we wondered if any one would even show up. Since then, we have had good times and bad, but through it all, you folks who have been involved have been the greatest. No matter what happened, you all had a good time, a good sense of humor, and a good sense of direction-sometimes better than the trail boss.

This time, we didn't get lost, but we did manage to have fun. Our trail ran southwest and east of Ocala, with a turn north at Grand Island. As eventful as 1999 was, our 2000 trail was wracked by none of the problems that Y2K was supposed to bring. Essentially, the trail went off without a hitch.

We began our trail with a tour of the Schmidt Collection. Jim Schmidt and his son, Rick, have amassed a collection of vehicles that is quite impressive. More than 90 cars from various makes and years dwell in the huge warehouse facilities. The group was much impressed and so were we. After the guided tour, we scooted on our way with more than 50 cars and 1 Cobra kit car. By the end, our Cobra driver had to be pried from his vehicle due to a lack of heat.

The show was-as it always is-super. Five hundred cars of various makes (all Ford/Mercury, of course) filled up the Silvers Springs grounds. The weather was great, the people were super, and fun was had by all.

Cherry Blossoms and Wild Horses
January 2000
Macon, Georgia
Macon Cherry Blossom Festival
38 Mustangs
Weather: 60s, cloudy, and finally wet

Macon, Georgia, turned out to be one of the nicest surprises of the entire Pony Trail season. The show-which in the past has posted 90 cars for the single day of the event-swelled to 210 this year, and we enjoyed all the Mustangs that made the event. Karen Gray, who handled the many phone calls about the show and trail, swore out a warrant for us. With its close proximity to Atlanta and to the home of the Mustang Club of America, we saw a great deal of quality at the show-and hope to see even more in our trip back this coming March.

The trail was a nice, leisurely drive into Georgia's backcountry that Bob Gray drove for us prior to the event; in fact, it was from his Boss 302 that we shot many of the pictures. Though one of our stops was closed on Sunday, we still managed to have some fun as well as some local barbecue for lunch. The participants were troupers who showed up with the threat-and reality-of rain.

Y2K
January 2000
Ocala, Florida
Silver Springs Trail and Show
52 Fords
Weather: 60s-70s, sunny

When Dan Aiken called via Mark Kulwick to let us know that our trail was not going to do well, due to some of the road construction that was in progress, we asked him to pick an alternate route. Believe us, when Dan picks a route, he picks a great one. The drive was spectacular, and his work and effort in helping us were outstanding. In fact, the whole bunch up there in Indiana made us feel like long-lost, well-loved relatives. What seemed to astound Kenny Brown and company was that we had so many cars show up. It kind of caught us off guard as well. Even so, these guys and gals were the only ones to even come close to the number of cars posted by Mustangs Northwest-more on them later.

The show was a success, even though the weather was not in a cooperative mood. Still, even with the bad weather, we managed to find some interesting Shelbys and Mustangs at the event.

Surprise!
May 2000
Nashville, Indiana
Indiana SAAC Spring Fling
89 Fords
Weather: 60s-80s, cloudy to sunny

Our trail began at CJ Pony Parts in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with 70 cars. Once again, we surprised the owners with a turnout that eclipsed what they anticipated-we like doing that. The trail was, as usual, in the state of Pennsylvania-a visual treat. For the history buff in us, Gettysburg was particularly impressive and poignant. It was truly awesome to look out over those fields and think of the cost in lives that place had exacted. After Gettysburg, we moved on into Carlisle for the show.

As we have said before, if you can't find it at Carlisle, you may be out of luck. Let's face it, we found a new old stock Ginger door panel for the Lazarus Project at this show and swap. The field was full of vintage and late-model Mustangs, and we think that every year the late-model field grows more and more. As shows go, this one-along with Silver Springs-is an annual favorite.

Trails, trails, and more trails
June 2000
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Carlisle All-Ford Nationals
70 Fords
Weather: 70s-80s, sunny

Well, we haven't ever had a show yet that we couldn't attend-until this one. It wasn't for not trying. We arrived at the airport on time; however, weather in Denver cancelled the flight. Someone standing in line said that the flight crew had not shown up that morning-grrr. Even so, after a sad call to Bill Bruhn, we made arrangements for Jerry Malone to lead the trail. Jerry must have done a good job because we received no complaints. In fact, the only complaint that we have is that we weren't able to be there so that Jerry could go about his real job as a show committee member. We owe Jerry and the folks from the show a debt of gratitude and thanks for jumping in and saving the day.

Friday during the time of our trail, the RMMR was holding a closed-course driving event that saw 120 drivers competing. The Saturday show netted 372 Mustangs and loads of fun in the fresh mountain air-and Sunday's Father's Day brunch and awards made for a full weekend. We hate that we could not be there, and by that fact, we plan to run the Pony Trail again (the first time for us), then stay around for the show on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. We hope that you will make a point to be there!

North And West
June 2000
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
The Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup
32 Mustangs
Weather: 70s-80s, sunny

The Big One
July 2000
Bellevue, Washington
Mustangs Northwest Roundup
212 Mustangs
Weather: 70s-80s, sunny

Wow! In the words of a friend from Houston, Texas, "We've been to three goat ropin's and four county fairs, and we ain't never seen nothin' like this!" The folks who organize this event for us every year do a bang-up job. We don't know if it is the weather or what, but our trail that left from Bellevue Community College had as many cars as the show in Macon! To see 212 Mustangs zooming around Seattle and the beautiful countryside surrounding the bay was awesome. When we stopped for fuel and snacks, several people asked us what was going on. One lady, who lived next to the road, set up a lawn chair to watch the "parade," as she called it. We chatted as we waited for the traffic light to turn green. She seemed impressed when we told her that there would be another 100 Mustangs coming up behind us.

The show, as usual, was equally impressive. More than 1,300 Mustangs and a smattering of other Ford products filled the Bellevue Community College parking areas to the point that it looked as though school was in session. Thursday saw open-track events at Seattle International Raceway, Friday we held the trail, Saturday there was a Mustang Club of America Concours event, and Sunday the popular vote show took place. Whew!

Oddly, at this event, the only day it didn't rain was Friday-the day of the trail. Our concerns about weather were founded in the fact that forecasters had predicted sloppy, nasty weather all weekend. As far as we were concerned, they were right-right up to Friday morning and, indeed, after we returned to the hotel. Lazarus made the trip to Raleigh and was scheduled to lead the trail; however, it was decided that a drive in potential rain was too much to ask of the owner. Of course, we did have boatloads of fun. Junior Deese was gracious enough to open his home to 60-plus people and allow us to take a break at his place. He fed us and even entertained us with a smoky burnout from his Cobra kit car. Of course, we had to do the same in our Lightning lead truck. We also missed our offramp exit while snapping photos of one of the cars, so we had to take a detour. Luckily, a local was with us and took us on a scenic tour of some North Carolina backroads. Aside from the small, out-of-route experience, the trail went well.

The show was an outstanding success with 420 cars coming from all over the U.S. The concours area was chockful of Mustangs of every stripe, color, and style. Of course, Lazarus, Project '66, and Project '68 were in attendance as well. We even had departing Head MCA Judge Ricky Simmons go over our '72 with a fine-tooth comb for the lead story. All in all, the weekend was fun and well worth the trip. We would heartily recommend a Grand National experience to any Mustanger.

Last But Not Least
September 2000
Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
Mustang Club of America Grand National
35 Mustangs, 1 F-350 pickup
Weather: 70s-80s, sunny

Well, that is what it was. Now on to what it will be. Below is a list of the shows that we will be centering our trails around and the months in which the shows will take place.

Month of Show Name of Show Location
January Silver Springs Ocala, Florida
March Cherry Blossom Festival Macon, Georgia
May SAAC Spring Fling Nashville, Indiana
June All-{{{Ford}}} Nationals Carlisle, Pennsylvania
{{{Rocky}}} Mountain Mustang Roundup Steamboat Springs, {{{Colorado}}}
July Mustangs Northwest Bellevue, Washington
September 25th Anniversary MCA Atlanta, Georgia