After our 20th anniversary and one of the largest events to date, the staff decided to hold one last Mustang Week, returning to our original July dates and location. Many questions have been asked why and the best answer we can give is it was just time and why not go out on the top. If you did not know the history of Mustang Week, our first event was held in Myrtle Beach with just under 200 cars.
When we first started the event and called the local hotels to make reservations for Mustang Week, a few thought we were talking about horses. Back in the early 2000s, we did not have social media to promote, so we relied on forums and handing out flyers. The event was the idea of Rodney Melton after we had successfully hosted cruise-ins around the NC area. These events gave him the confidence to build a larger event. After the decision was made for this to be the last Mustang Week, our long-time graphic designer, Keith Keplinger, sent our first promos. Seeing it in bold letters, "The Last Trip to the Beach," hit hard. The dates and location were released to the public and as always any changes to the event schedule brought backlash on social media. We remained determined to host another successful event and to prove the naysayers wrong.
The last award ceremony would be emotional, with Laura Beattie presenting the staff with the Bill Jones memorial in honor of her father. Bill was one of the original staff members and we always say he kept us grounded and made us better men when he was with us. We would also raise $3,500 for Jarrod Shelborne to help with medical expenses.
Our Monday event would start with a kick-off party hosted by long time sponsorModify My Stang and Cobra Sam. We were very honored when they approached us to have this event in appreciation of our 21 years of hard work. This event would take over the parking lots of two restaurants and a mall.
Tuesday's event would be the Pro Dyno X Steeda Meet & Dyno Challenge heldat Suck-Bang-Blow. Shanon Derickson's 2020 GT 500 put down 1,096 RWHP and won the top honors. With the t-shirt line having a two hour wait at some points, we knew this would be another fantastic year.
For years the staff has enjoyed Rats at the Beaver and we have always wanted to replicate that cool, laid-back vibe during Mustang Week. We reached out to the Beaver Bar and worked with them to create a one-time event, Stangs at the Beaver, on Wednesday. From the crowd reaction, we think everyone enjoyed this event as well.
Thursday would be a setup day for staff members Rodney Melton and Mike Clay, while Brad Worley would make the trip to Darlington Dragway for the UPR Test N Tune. Darlington is a 1/4 mile track and participants that made the trip enjoyed plenty of track time. In addition, numerous pop-up meets and afte rhours events kept the event attendees in Myrtle Beach entertained.
On Friday morning, the staff showed up at 6am to find participants lined up to get into the CJ Pony Parts show field. We had to limit the show to 600 participants due to lot size limitations. These spots sold out in just under 24 hours. Nevertheless, we are very proud of the show results. We had an exceptional team of judges using a new app that will soon be available. We think it will change how car shows are judged. The staff also reviewed every car that received an award with the judging teams. The Retro Meet hosted by Harris Lue and Emily Butler of LUE Creative took place Friday evening. This was one wild party with drift demos by Vaughn Gittin Jr and Chelsea DeNofa. This retro event will return to other venues in the future, the first being the Holley Ford Fest in Kentucky.
As mentioned previously, the award ceremony on Saturday was emotional, with so many people sharing stories and showing gratitude. It was genuinely overwhelming. So many have asked what the future holds for Mustang Week and all we can say is the company is for sale and we are in negotiations with those that are interested. We have talked with Horry County and they would welcome the event back. As far as the original staff, we are ready to enjoy the hobby again. Maintaining this event for the last 21 years has been a full-time job for us and it caused us to lose our passion for the cars that brought us all together.
If you did not get the opportunity to see Mustang Week in person, you truly missed one-of-a-kind event. No other event could match what we offered with the help of sponsors and clubs. The action was non-stop and the majority of events were provided for free. We owe our sponsors so much for helping us keep our event cost-friendly. Over 20 events occurred throughout this last Mustang Week and we are thankful for all those involved who helped make us the premiere Mustang event to attend.