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Town officials gearing up for classic car show

The countdown to one of the biggest days of the year in Wessonhas begun, and Saturday will be the warm-up round.

In an effort to restock the shelves in preparation for the annualFounder’s Day celebration, the Wesson Chamber of Commerce issponsoring its first Wheelin’ and Grillin’ Classic Auto Show. Theplan is to gather classic cars from around the area in the parkinglot of the Wesson Baptist Church beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, coatthe whole event in fine barbeque sauce and replenish the chamber’scoffers for Founder’s Day and other programs.

“Hopefully, this will be the first in a long string of events thechamber can bring to the area to provide some new events for ourfolks,” said Stephen Ashley, president of the chamber.

Admission is free, and a variety of barbeque cooked by HammertimeGrilling will be sold onsite for $7 per plate. Giving blood at aMississippi Blood Services event the afternoon before the car showwill earn a ticket for a free plate Saturday. Blood may be givenbeginning at 2 p.m. in front of Mississippi WesternOutfitters.

Around 50 classic cars are expected to be on display at the show,and more are welcome. The chamber invites anyone who owns a classicvehicle of any kind – from beauty queens to muscle cars tomotorcycles – to contact the chamber at 601-643-5000 to registerfor the event for $10.

Latecomers can even drive right into the show before 9 a.m.Saturday and enter a vehicle for $15. All car owners present willjudge the best car on display, and spectators will also be allowedto vote for a People’s Choice Award. Award winners will bepresented with commemorative plaques.

“We’re looking for everybody. We don’t care if they want to comefrom Oklahoma,” Ashley said. “It’s a good chance to show off yourcar and help the Town of Wesson in the process.”

Already, there’s been lots of help in making the car show areality.

Extra muscle for the car show is being provided by Brookhaven’sT-Tommy Smith, who organized the judging and awards process for thecars and is helping spur fellow car owners to participate inWesson’s show. His own show, the annual Ole Brook Cruisers exhibit,will be held in Brookhaven the following weekend.

The entire event was basically planned by Lincoln County’s WendellSmith, owner of Hammertime Grilling, whom the chamber turned to forhelp.

Smith came not for the cars, but for the food. As the winner of thefirst ever Founder’s Day barbeque cook-off in 2008, he washorrified when chamber officials began discussing terminating theevent this year because it lost money in 2009, and volunteered hisservices for fundraising.

“I love to cook, I love people and I love to see people eat,” Smithsaid. “I like to help people out, and I’ve done these benefitsbefore. The visiting is just as much fun as the cooking.”

And while Smith has his hands full preparing for Saturday’sWheelin’ and Grillin’ Classic Auto Show, he’s also been appointedto organize the barbeque cook-off at Founder’s Day. That event isstill a little more than two months away, but planning is wellunder way. He hopes to grow the cook-off this year and encouragesanyone, professional or amateur, to call the chamber and make plansto grill at the event.

“You can bring your Weber grill up there and compete with somebodywho has a $20,000 cooking rig,” Smith said. “My rig is pulledbehind a truck, but I competed against a lady whose grill was 6inches across and burned three pieces of charcoal … and she beatme.”