Cruisin' gets a rainy but strong start

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Rain couldn't keep the wheels from turning at Cruisin' the Coast. Organizers say turnout for this year's first Cruisin' event suggests strong turnout for the rest of the week. One thousand classic car owners showed off their rides at the Hardy Court Shopping Center in Gulfport and another thousand spectators came out to admire them.

Seven-year-old Halle Ladner carefully dried off her father's 1965 Mustang convertible. Her dad was an avid motorcycle lover, but all that changed three years ago at Cruisin' the Coast.

"My first time on Cruisin' I did not have a car. I had nine motorcycles," said Averett Ladner. "I sold all my motorcycles to get me a Mustang."

The Gulfport cruise-in was Ed Ramsperger's first Cruisin' event. The New Yorker says he caught classic car fever.

"It's wonderful. Wonderful. I never saw a car show like this up in New York. This is amazing," said Ramsperger. "Oh, we'll be back. And next time I hope to have one of my own vehicles."

Randy Kelly of Moss Point found inspiration for his classic car watching classic tv shows. His car is his version of Kit from the 80s Knight Rider series.

"I've got it where it does talk," said Kelly. "It's got gadgets on it. It's got the smoke machine, ignition lock. I can program the ignition. It comes on. Reprogram it, it goes off. I've got the actual steering wheel that come out of one of the stunt cars."

Organizers say once people experience Cruisin', most can't wait to come back. So a few rain showers weren't enough to keep classic car lovers away.

Averett Ladner said, "People have been waiting for this all year round. They're going to bring their cars out. In between rains, we'll dry it out and keep going."

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