It is a step back in time, it recalls the time of big engines and big cars with names like GTO, T-bird, Nomad and Bellaire. It is a time that recalls poodle skirts and packs of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeves of white t-shirts
It is Sonic Drive-In’s Saturday Cruise Night that takes place every other Saturday night at the west end of Tucumcari Boulevard across from Ruby’s Diner.
The idea for the Cruise Night came about when the manager of the Sonic Drive-In, Bill Grey first came to Tucumcari during the summer of 2001. “And we’ve had it ever since,” said Grey The Sonic Drive-In manager said that early on the Cruise night drew a few cars but it has evolved into a get-together that often sees as many as 30 vehicles taking part. “Just about everybody takes part,” said Grey pointing out that classic cars and motorcycles often are parked next to new or near new pick ups and SUV on the special Saturdays which sees many of his carhops wearing poodle skirts and pony tails.
“We do it just for fun,” said Larry Klaverweiden a Camaro enthusiast who says he seldom if ever misses one of the Cruise nights with his Camaro. In fact, says Grey, there are a number of participants in the activity that have never missed a single Cruise Night. Participants say that for most who take part in Cruise Night, the evening is a chance to hang out with other people with similar interests – good friendship, motorcycles and classic cars while enjoying Sonic Drive-In food and drinks.
Grey said it also provides a chance to win any number of valuable items such as DVDs, compact discs, car paraphernalia, tools and the like as the awards for the poker run throughout Tucumcari which is a key ingredient for the Cruise Night. The locations of where to pick up the cards for the poker hand for the poker will vary. Sometimes it is a local historic site like the train depot, or museum, or an old school then it is off to one of the parks in town or a business or a parking lot.
At each of the three locations, the competitors pick up a playing card. They then return to Sonic receive their final card where they attempt to make the best poker hand they can from the five cards they have received.
“It would be fun even without the prizes,” said Klaverweiden, “but the prizes are great. They make it even more fun.”
Both Klaverweiden and Grey agree that Cruise Night has become a definite summer tradition in Tucumcari.
“We’re looking at something special for the final one of the year,” said Grey. “Maybe a street dance or something.”