ATLANTA, Texas — The 40th anniversary ride of Smokey and the Bandit will take place on Loop 59 in Atlanta on Saturday, June 17 at 5:45 p.m.
The ride is a commemoration of the 1977 film where Bandit “Bo” Darville, played by Burt Reynolds, and Cledus “Snowman” Snow transport illegal Coors beer across state lines to Atlanta, Georgia while being pursued by Texas sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason.
After nearly 300 Trans Am’s and an 18-wheeler resembling Snowman’s rig and an assortment of movie-specific law enforcement vehicles drive down Loop 59 and Main Street, the cruise will turn north on Park Street and continue to the Atlanta High School parking lot for the car show.
Jim Christian, a board member of Texarkana-based Four States Auto Museum, encourages spectators to line up along Loop 59 and Main Street to get a view of the cruise.
“If people want to line up the route that they’re coming on to welcome them into town, that would be great,” said Christian, who has seen the movie at least a half-dozen times. “Maybe along Brookshire’s or Main Street down there. That would be awesome.”
Though the only relevant portion of the film took place in Texarkana, the cruisers found the town of Atlanta, Texas intriguing and decided to take a detour south.
Said Christian: “They like the idea of coming to Atlanta, Texas on a cruise while they’re here in the area. So, they just thought that would be cool.”
The cruise has come through the ArkLaTex once every five years since 2007. With the 300 Trans Am’s coming this year, it only highlights how much the event has expanded annually.
“It’s growing every year,” Christian said. “They’ve got them all over the country. This is a huge event. They have car clubs coming.”
The country-wide cruise is put on by Restore a Muscle Car out of Lincoln, Nebraska and the Texarkana portion is sponsored by the Four States Auto Museum.
“It’s been around since 2005 and we have about 16, 18 vehicles in there that people put on loan for the museum,” said Christian. “It has all kinds of paraphernalia; gas pumps, all the old car signs. It’s really a well done small museum.”