By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
More than 140 “Smokey and the Bandit” enthusiasts will pass through Tucumcari this week as they head “East Bound and Down” to Dallas, taking part in the eighth annual Bandit Run.
“It’s an amazing event that grows more every year,” said Jill Braud, of Port Neches, Texas. “You get to meet great people, have fun and of course you get to be the Bandit.”
Braud said this is the fifth year she and her husband, Jimmy, have driven in the weeklong event that started Sunday in Albuquerque.
The Bandit Run was started by Dave Hall, owner of Restore a Muscle Car, LLC in Lincoln, Neb., in 2007.
David Hersey and Hall came up with the idea to hold the original run as a reenactment of the 30-year anniversary of the journey portrayed in the film “Smokey and the Bandit,” that starred Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and the late Jackie Gleason.
A group of 30 Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams started out in Texarkana and by the time they made the three-day, 1,800-mile journey to Atlanta, Ga., they had added 70 additional Trans Ams and other vehicles.
While many of the cars that stopped Monday in Tucumcari were classic black Trans Ams, much like the one driven in the movie, the event is open to all makes of Trams Ams and cars.
“This event is for everyone,” said Bruce Browere of Chicago.
Browere, who was driving a red 1973 Trans Am, said the event honors a great movie and brings together a diverse group of people to enjoy a week of new experiences.
The event continues to grow in size and the route is changed every year, allowing the event participants to see different parts of the country and to take part in different events.