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Letter: Car Enthusiast Not Returning Since Rod Run Turned into Redneck Run

Letter: Car Enthusiast Not Returning Since Rod Run Turned into Redneck Run

We have been coming from Virginia to the spring (and sometimes fall) Rod Run for about 10 years now. We have traded cars, bought cars and sold cars. We love Pigeon Forge, and have even talked about moving down here upon occasion. We rent cabins and stay for 4 or 5 days each visit. We have enjoyed Dollywood, Gatlinburg and the numerous restaurants and shopping opportunities, but no more.

Your chamber of commerce needs to take a look at the overwhelming number of young, shall I say “rednecks” (and I can, I live the mountains of Virginia) that invaded the spring Rod Run this year. It has been growing worse and worse every year, and we have griped to ourselves for several visits now, but this spring we spoke to numerous of other Rod Run participants who will not be returning next year for the same reason.

All the eye could see starting Friday evening from sundown to when we left Saturday night due to being tired of being bombarded with pickup truck exhaust, smoke blowing, yelling out windows, and this year, chest baring, was truck after jacked up truck of half drunk teenagers hanging out windows, shouting obscenities and ground shaking rap music. We are not at Mardi Gras and our younger children do not need to see the reason there are strands of beads hanging off sideview mirrors.

We are very disappointed that Pigeon Forge has sunk so low. It is NOT a family friendly place to be, at least during Rod Run. It has turned from Rod Run into Redneck Run.

If I lived in the area and saw that these teenagers were representing Sevier County, and Pigeon Forge I would be ashamed. The laws in Tennessee must be very lax due to the blind eye most of the police force turns to the dangerous and disorderly behavior.

I just wanted to write and express my disappointment and downright disgust at the turn Rod Run has taken. We will be finding other car shows to attend and patronize with our tourist money, as will a number of fellow car enthusiasts next year. I hear Pennsylvania has some good ones…

L. Wampler

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  1. As a person who has moved to the Sevier County area from Knoxville 5 yrs ago i am disturbed by the manner these people show when at The Rod Run.I dont care if these so called rednecks are local or if they came from afar.My problems other than the traffic,all places to park have vanished,constant sounds of burn outs and cheap visitors is the Mardi Gra type atmosphere.When out with my 9 yr old daughter countless woman exposing their breasts and men flaunting the Mardi Gra beads for them in plain view of my daughter and I.It has been 4 yrs since I last went to the Rod Run and pretty much stay inside my home the weekend of this so called FAMILY oriented PF Rod Run.Lastly I observed a Jacked-up black smoke blowing rap blaring (how ironic) pick-up truck with a stripper pole in the bed of said truck with females dancing on it.That was the last straw for me

  2. I am a local and I have seen both sides to this event for many years. It was a family tradition to go to the rod run since the Gatlinburg days. I was proud and continued the tradition with my grandchildren until 2006. At that time is when I noticed the prominence of the “bead trade” , more than even I wanted to see. Sadly, those of you stating that it’s not the local teenagers are wrong. I have personally seen both local and tourist participating in this “New Orleans ” type of activity. As for any of the stereotyping or name calling, all of it is uncalled for. Most people tend to forget that we all live in the United States of America and it does not matter what part of the country we call home, we are in it together. As for the tourist, this county does need them, just as the tourist need a place to go. Yes, we have to deal with a great deal of traffic and yes, we have to deal with a handful of rude people. On the other hand, some tourist have to deal with a handful of locals who choose to blame everything in their lives on all the tourism. I remember when our economy ran on a 6 month year and the next 6 months the locals struggled to feed and house themselves. Take a few minutes in between complaints to think about what would happen if you were granted your wish. No more tourist. Everything would close down. How would you support your family? We are struggling enough without adding fuel to an already increasing flame. We have to contend with outrageous rental fees, ever increasing taxes, inadequate education, minimum wage, little to no benefits, among other things. As for the police, while I can not comment on this year’s event, I have witnessed the police doing their best in previous years. However, with today’s technology, nearly everyone has a camera on their phone, video it and find an officer. Bring it to their attention so they can follow through. I am sorry that both sides of this feel the way they do, but, as adults, we need to find a happy medium and set the example for the younger generation and learn to get along with each other.

  3. I have been coming here for 4 years and I am from NY, but bought a house down in eastern Tenn. In those 4 years I have met nothing but nice people at the Rod Run and in the stores that I shopped in. Over 90% of the car owners usually stay parked all weekend and the cruiser traffic is mostly locals in commuter cars going up and down the strip backing up traffic. Yes it makes it hard for those trying to get to work, it would make more sense to park and walk around to open the roads a bit. Unwritten rule is right lane cruisers and the other 2 lanes should keep rolling at the speed limit, nope people are in the left lane trying to look at the cars and making it impossible to get through. Like folks said did you expect bankers to attend a rod run? You are in eastern Tennessee and people down here are in their element, yes some slightly rowdy kids come out in those big diesel 4×4’s and get a little rambunctious, but I guarantee in any part of the country kids that age get a little wild; It is hard to grasp that the rod run itself was started and continues as a car show now inside the LeConte center and everything out on Parkway is a freestyle unorganized thing that just happens. I have never been insulted by any behavior and even those rowdy kids are respectful to people. The late evening would be best served for serious car guys to park the cars have some dinner and enjoy other car enthusiasts. The cruise traffic slows down late at night and for the most part is quiet. Recent weekend at the Ocean City Maryland cruise met with crazy traffic jams as the day progressed, way too much obnoxious driving and the evening was just obnoxious drunk kids all night long being loud and drunk. Just a reminder Pennsylvania is in the south and try driving in the back roads and hills, big surprise there are rednecks up there too!! Run around upstate NY and you might be surprised! I find the folks in Pigeon Forge to be friendly and I do spend money locally and tip very well because the service is attentive and friendly. Read the license plates, not only many counties all over Tenn., but Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, etc… There are two ways to enjoy this event, stay in a local hotel and wander on foot or park the car and linger around it all day. I have attended the Woodward Dream cruise in Detroit and I can tell you stories about that sometimes! Yes the gentleman that started this had some points, but not fair to be so judgmental and insult the nice folks down here we are invading their life’s for the weekend. I will keep coming down here for the rod run as for the most part it is fun, probably more if don’t display a car, but just take in the ones parked for miles!

    • Ractally agree I have lived in this county most of my life actually about 24 years and I know things get crazy but like this nice person pointed out that can happen anywhere there’s large crowds of ppl. If u can’t handle the ppl in the south good luck with the north and I say this without feeling bias because I was born up north. My mom use to say it’s not ur place nor job to judge others so do and teach what’s right. And hope others follow but don’t knock the place I grew up we r the ones that live here and put up with the crowds of ppl for months not days. Plus I’m a server and can tell u that all kinds off different ppl come threw here. all kinds of young people old people every Race black white. and there are good and bad in all of those.thank you Vent over. Sincerely an annoyed local

  4. As a local, and service industry worker, I can attest to this entire letter for the pigeon forge rod run. A tasteless, disrespectful crowd with horrible manners, inconsiderate of others is brought to town with this particular show. The shades of the past show is a much milder, generally older, crowd, that most of us don’t mind dealing with.

  5. I think it’s funny that someone who is not even from here actually has the balls to say anything about how this county is ran…I’ve got a great idea keep ur rude self at home and take all the rest of the rod runners with you and trust me I’m sure I speak for all of us that live here when u say WE WONT MISS YOU AT ALL! I worked in a retail store in Sevier County and am here to tell you that all rod runners do is terrorize and mess up a store sales stay the same because they just wanna come in and “look around”

  6. Although I agree to a point, I do work in customer service and both old and young act rude and entitled. I am forced to keep my mouth shut as I’m told off for making them wait 20 minutes to sit down in a town that’s over run. I have also encountered some of the nicest people ever at this time of yr. Did you people know that our kids have to be dismissed from school early on Friday because of you??? Did you know that? Did you know that we don’t like you alot of your all’s behavior but we have to put up with it? Our police officers are doing their job and being put on YouTube in a demeaning way for doing it. Oh well I’ll shut up now, the more I think about it sounds like your a redneck that got old….good day

    • Yes it makes me sick too. It’s I’d a self centered city. Traffic cops are religiously ticketing those with Christian bumper stickers and complain about things at our churches. Locals are not all about courtesy. It’s all about opinions,waiving flags and looking at a bare women’s chest at these rod runs. The pastor kids love it. Not me. Just awful. A bible town my behind.

  7. Being born and raised here i can say that teenagers have been doing this for years.. I remember being 17 years old and coming up to pigeon forge for the rod runs and dirty old men used to do the same thing. 13 years later im not surprised that the same thing is happening.. Also with being a local and working locally i can say that even though people come up here every year for the car shows we know they have money for it but can they tip their server more than 5-10%.. No cause that extra 5 bucks might mess up the 10,000 + budget that they have for a old car.. So thank you for your rant but its not gonna change how they do things around here..

  8. I love how because your drunk and shouting obscenities you are classified as a redneck. I hate to inform you but trash is trash no matter what area you are in. Trust me the people of sevier county hate these things just as much….rude tourist getting in the way keeping us from our jobs to help people like you during your time here. My view on this post 1 less person blocking up traffic in the roads!

  9. Trust me, we that live in sevier county do NOT attend rod runs!! We live it 6-10 a year, and have to work during these rod runs and fight the traffic of these tourists that can NOT drive! So these rednecks may be from your town for all we know, but they are not from here! Plus we have maybe 10-20 tops patrol cars to control crowds of thousands, if you see unappropriate behavior contact them, because I gaurantee they are NOT above you in helicopters seeing all that EVERYONE does.

    • Excellent reply but I would add few R from here and PF has great officers that do their best! Come at a different time. We hate to lose u as a tourist or possible local. There r calmer car shows here. Sorry u had a bad experience ?

  10. We could care less if you come back to “our” town. Go to Pennsylvania and spend every red sent you have. WE DON’T CARE! Our police department is the best in Tennessee do how dare you criticize our officers. Don’t ever come back then we can go to Walmart and to the restaurants and to the grocery store. So you just keep yourself in Virginia.

  11. Im from Jersey and have been living in TN for the past 7 years now, 3 of those years here in Pigeon Forge. You think you’ll do better in PA? Ha, good luck with that. And Please, make sure you write us, and update us on that visit. It’ll be a good laugh Im sure.

  12. My goodness. How very judgemental. I know this has been mentioned, but the half-drunk teenagers you speak of aren’t locals. We local rednecks tend to provision ourselves and stow away for the weekend, simply to avoid the insane traffic and miles of outdated map-laden “visitors” who lock up our normal driving routes and park said rods in every parking lot in the county, completely oblivious of the fact that we cannot park anywhere remotely near where we need to be for the weekend. This is not a Pigeon Forge problem or a Sevier County problem. This is an entire generation of manner less idiots, and I believe these unfortunately rude teenagers can be found nationwide, even in Pennsylvania. That’s like going to the beach for vacation and blaming the residents because readiness occurs. Anytime you get a large group of people and automobiles together in a relatively small public forum, there are bound to be issues. How dare you wag your little misinformed fingers at us? I say shame on you for not realizing what you were driving yourselves into beforehand. And trust me, you are free to take your tourist money elsewhere. The locals will not complain if one car is missing from the mob of humanity with which we are invaded. And thank you for polluting our mountains with your fifty-year-old cars, by the way.

  13. You mean there were rednecks at a rod run!! I thought only hedge fund managers and CEO’s hung out at those things.

    • well that’s just an ignorant type of comment to tag Sevier County in instead of getting in here talking about rednecks perhaps you should start a rod run in your redneck town so you can see the type of teenagers you have growing up or law enforcement is not wax here and to tell you quite honestly you’re probably the type of people all of us sit and talk about throwing up that you rent cabins well of course you do it’s for tourists just like you lol sad but true but the whole world is changing perhaps when you visit your next rod run it will be old people or perhaps you should have came to shades of the past lol

  14. I would just like to say I agree with some of your points but most of the ‘rednecks’ aren’t even from sevier county. What do you expect us to do a Sevier County residents kicked all the rednecks out better from other places? I personally went to A high school and Sevier County and would like to say you are judging things that you do not know all about not all those rednecks are from there so before you criticize you should probably find out where they’re from. The cops can’t just pull kids over because they are redneck what do you expect them to do they don’t pull you over for being there?….

  15. The Rod Run is a family fun time not a drunken orgy. The police need to crack down on drunk drivers and this type of behavior.

    • If u missed the comments above then re read them thousands I’ll say it again thousands of idiots come here from all the surrounding states and most of it can’t always b dealt with because there aren’t enough police to accommodate so many. If u don’t enjoy it then don’t come back. I won’t miss ur rude ass or having to leave for work over an hour early to get tomy job on time because if it. And yes again most of those renecks u speak of aren’t from here cause we aren’t dumb enough to go deal with the b.s. that u speak of. I love it here but I think u misjudged the locals tremendously. Thanks rude ppl have a pat on the back for thinking u know what ur talking about. 🙂

  16. These teenagers you speak of aren’t even from here…

  17. It has been this way for years.