When we got wind that Lee Caudill was going to bring back his now-legendary Heritage show to the small town of Whitesburg, KY, for its third year in a row, we knew that we had to make plans to attend. Now, when we say "small town," that's what we mean. There are only two hotels and four restaurants in town, but somehow they handle us doubling their town population for the show weekend as smoothly as a big city would handle a small crowd. Everyone from the local McDonald's manager to the mayor gets involved in making sure things run smoothly.
This was actually our second year checking out this show, so we had a little heads-up as to what to expect this year. As we rolled into town Friday night, the scene reminded us of the movie "Friday Night Lights," where the town shuts down so everyone can go check out the high school football game, but as soon as the game was over, the locals (along with the showgoers) made their way to the center of town, where the town officials had already blocked off a section of the main drag to allow everyone to do a few passes of legal dragging. It was kind of cool to see trucks showering the spectators with sparks while the popo was right in the middle of it cheering it on. The action carried on well into the night as the hotel parking lots became makeshift party spots. Now, this is where the show sets itself apart from a lot of the others. Where most shows' hotel scene would get shut down, or the cops would roll through and make everyone put up the adult beverages or even give tickets for open containers, one of the main cops in town, Officer Brandon "Walker" Fields, hung out with us most of the night telling jokes and making fun of people. He was even spotted in the passenger seat of several vehicles as they railed down the access road next to the host hotel. There was even one of the Kentucky State Patrol officers that hung out for a while to laugh at everyone and check out the rides.
As we got up Saturday morning and headed out in the early fog to find a spot to capture a couple features, it was evident that the late-night partying didn't stop everyone from being up just as early as we were to do the last-minute cleaning before they headed off to the show site. Once at the show, most of the day was spent checking out all of the newly finished rides and some of the soon to be kick-ass rides that were still rocking a top layer of primer. One of these unfinished rides that caught our eye, even though it didn't have any primer, belonged to Michael Phillips from Little Shop of Horrors. Mike's one-of-a-kind Blazer took home the Mini Truckin' Editor's Pick award even though it wasn't a finished vehicle. The main reason behind this is that the amount of sheetmetal work on it was more than most people put into 10 vehicles. "Best of Show" went to Brandt Fuqua from Graphic Disorder with his Nissan Frontier with 383 Stroker motor, Corvette independent rearend, and a full custom frame. We also took a little time to browse some of the vendors such as Drop 'Em Wear, Graphic Disorder, and the Drop Jaw Mag booth. We even spotted tags on vehicles from as far away as Delaware, Philly, and Maryland.
Did you say legal draggin'?
Saturday night wound up being even bigger than Friday night since more of the show participants were in town. The local police, fire department, and even the town mayor, Nathan Baker, were all hanging out to check out the railing that was going on. Jamie Kelly brought out his radical bed-dancing and flame-throwing S-10 and put on a show right in the middle of town. They even brought in a street-bike stunt team that wowed the crowd after the legal dragging was done.
Lee and the rest of the crew handling the show would like to thank some of the sponsors that helped make this one-of-a-kind show possible. Special thanks to 3DKustoms, Designs by Big Rik, Letcher County Parks and Recreation, Elkhorn Drug, and People's Bank and Trust. For more info on next year's event, which is already scheduled for the weekend after Labor Day, check out www.heritageshow.com.