Rain doesn't stop Blue Suede Cruise

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – All the colors of the rainbow were out Friday at the Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise, despite the overcast sky and the elusive sun.
As of 5 p.m., almost 500 vehicles were registered for this weekend’s event, the eighth cruise for Tupelo, at the BancorpSouth Arena.
Bob Pushee and his wife, Linda, added some blue to the cruise with their 1964 Plymouth Fury. The couple, along with two other people, drove 12 hours from Zion, Ill., to attend the show for their sixth year.
Bob Pushee said he normally participates in local shows near Chicago, but he likes to attend the Tupelo event because he has friends in the area.
The weather’s normally warmer in Tupelo than at the northern shows, he added.
But this weekend, the National Weather Service is warning of thunderstorms and heavy rainfall. The region also is under a flash flood watch until Sunday night.
The forecast won’t change any of the plans for the event, said Allen McDaniel, president of the Blue Suede Cruise.
“We have an itinerary,” he said. “We’re pretty much going to stick to the itinerary. We’re just going to get wet. … People come here from a long way away. We can’t say, ‘Well, we put this off for next week.’”
He added, to the best of his memory, it’s rained for part of every Blue Suede Cruise.
But, “there hasn’t been a year yet where the weather has been as bad as they predicted it to be,” McDaniel said.
John Clemmons, from West Point, is a Blue Suede Cruise regular and is showing two vehicles at the event – his wife’s 1960 Chevrolet Corvette and his 1939 Chevrolet Business Coupe.
He said attendance seemed down from last year, but he wasn’t going to let the weather keep him home.
“It’s usually cold or it rains when we’re up here,” he said. “We just grin and bear it.”
Plus, he’s staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, so if it rains heavily today, he and his wife, Peggy, can walk over when it clears up.
Mike Oatman of Saucier plans to stay close to his 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan if the forecasted showers arrive.
“As soon as it stops raining, I chamois it and then Water Blade it,” he said. “I don’t want any water spots. I dry it off as soon as I can.”
Despite the extra work, he wanted to make the four-and-a-half-hour drive from the Mississippi Gulf Coast because he had preregistered and didn’t want to lose his money.
McDaniel expects Oatman will be joined by more classic car owners today.
“We’re eternally optimistic,” he said.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Plan your weekend
- What: Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise
- Where: BancorpSouth Arena and Tupelo Automobile Museum
- Cost: Free to attend; $45 to register a vehicle
- Info: bluesc.com or (662) 842-4242
- Today
8 a.m.-1 p.m. – Registration
8:30 a.m. – Parade through downtown Tupelo
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Car corral, swap meet open
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Cruise and poker sites open
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Classic car auction, $5
noon – Bill Brooks’ Elvis tribute
5:30 p.m. – The Gents
7 p.m. – Gino
- Sunday
8 a.m. – Main site opens
8:45 a.m. – Elvis gospel music
10 a.m. – Winners announced
Rain doesn’t stop Blue Suede Cruise