Jeff Ford
December 1, 2002
Contributers: Jeff Ford, The Mustang Monthly Archives Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives

Well, this is the end, the last hurrah-at least until January when we start all over again. We can say that all the trails were fun, that we didn't get lost (at least we didn't get lost in the lead car), and we can truthfully say we had more fun than should be legal in most states.

The trails are getting huge; in some cases the participation is almost overwhelming. To have nearly 300 Mustangs tooling through the countryside is just shy of amazing. The real stunner is that our lowest number on the trail this year was still just a tick over 50 Mustangs.

Where does the credit for the phenomenal success of the Pony Trails lie? It lies squarely at the feet of attendees, many of who have been back multiple times. We can't express our deep thanks enough to those who partook in all our trails over the past five years, and indeed we hope that you will be back in 2003. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you who took the time off to attend.

Now let's look at the totals for most of the field. Next month we'll post the totals for the rest.

Sixth Place: Charlotte Pony Trail Total: 51Though this trail ended up being our smallest, it was certainly a fun one. The roads were nice, the pace leisurely, and we were fed by the nice folks at Montgomery Motors in Troy, North Carolina. The one thing that probably kept our numbers small was that we started out under bad weather, and it only got worse.

Lazarus got its first real undercarriage dousing at the hands of mother nature, so all that detailing seen in the September issue is now in need of some tender loving care. Regardless, we had a ball.

What really surprised us was the show turnout. The Thunder In Carolina (aptly named for the weather) Mustang Club of America (MCA) Grand National show was a tour de force of good planning and good people. Carol Barker and others at the show made it easy to enjoy-even if the rain didn't. As it stood, more than 600 Mustangs braved the sorry weather to show off and shine.

Fifth Place:Carlisle Pony Trail Total: 96Carlisle was a great trail, though we encountered a problem when a business near our lunch stop, after getting many of our Mustangers to buy gas, called in the state troopers to clear his parking lot of all the Mustang traffic. No tickets were written, but there were some anxious moments as we scrambled to get the lot cleared before any tickets were issued. The troopers were cool; they moved very slowly in their attempt to get as many license numbers as possible before writing any tickets, allowing us to get all the cars moved. Suffice it to say we won't return to that place next year.

The show, like always, was a plethora of good and great cars as well as parts for just about anything that carried or carries a Ford logo. We spent Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ducking work so we could get some deals. Though we came home with nothing more than sore feet, we did see some things that made our mouths water. Judging from what we saw, Carlisle might just be the place to discover that hard-to-find part.

Since this is such a mega-Ford event, we will be back next year, and Carlisle will be one of our five featured shows (see the article on page 68 for more on what will make these shows special.)

Fourth Place:Silver Springs Pony Trail Total: 110Down by one from last year's 111 cars, the trail back to Cedar Key was once again an unqualified success. Quite frankly, we felt this total would be enough to put them squarely into at least third place. Little did we know this trail would end up being good enough for only the fourth spot. Even so, the trail is getting huge-larger than some of the local car shows we've been to, with mustangs of extremely good quality blowing down the road to and from Cedar Key.

As always, National Parts Depot and Rick Schmidt were genial hosts and even held open the doors for participants to their phenomenal collection of automobiles. They also helped out Dana "the Cheater" Cheatum with some last-minute parts on Sunday as we headed out for home. Good folks.

The show. Man, what a show. Every year the Silver Springs Mustang and Ford Show seems to eclipse the previous year's. Last year we had more than 900 Fords on the site, and this year promises to be even bigger. We hope the attendance will be huge since this will be the inaugural event in the five-show series where the winners get their cars featured in Mustang Monthly (see page 68 for details).

Third Place: Indy Saac Pony Trail Total: 119Though the weather was bad in Charlotte, we did at least have some moments where it didn't rain on us. At the Shelby American Automobile Club Spring Fling's 25th Anniversary Show, it rained pretty much from the time we left for the trail on Friday till the time we got back. Like the year before, we anticipated a dismal turnout. Why? The weather forecasters weren't just predicting rain-they were promising it. Boy howdy, were they right. It rained solidly almost all day. But the one thing we will say about the folks in that region is that they have fun no matter what. Rain or no, an incredible 119 Mustangs braved the roads and saw it well done. Our one regret is that a truck creamed a new '02 Cobra. The driver was OK, but the car would require repair.

As for the show, it is and will be a Shelby-lover's delight. Just about anything and everything that wore a Shelby livery showed up. We said last year that we wouldn't be able to come back, but we lied. In 2003 we will be back to Brown County State Park for a show that will be part of our anniversary celebration. Somebody warn Joyce Yates and Dan Aiken.