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Brian Coltrane

Field Report from DukesFest!

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All I can say is...holy cow, what a crowd! Huge turnout. CMT has been filming and interviewing all over the place.

As far as the biggest draw, it's hard to say whether the autograph opportunites with John and Cathy were the prime interest - or, if the "Ride in a General Lee" opportunity is what brought 'em in.

The "Ride in a General Lee" attraction had lines that ran between 4 and 5 hours long. And this was with a fleet of General Lees running on the track. But the once-in-a-lifetime chance seemed worth the wait to those I spoke to.

There's no doubt that "Bo Duke" hasn't lost a thing in charisma. The tickets for autographs went pretty quick - I'd say within an hour of the gates opening. Same thing with Cathy.

Between the number of General Lee's on the grounds, and the number of people wearing " 01 " shirts, Bristol Motor Speedway has been a sea of orange. And the continual blare of "Dixie" horns is unforgettable.

Weather has been hot. I'm sunburned so much that I could use a marker and put an "01" on my forehead, just to take advantage of the color.

This is kinda short, for as much that is going on - just thought I'd fire off a quick postcard, of sorts. I'm fortunate enough to have a hotel room with high-speed internet. Yeehaaa!

Brian

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I was one of the ones that stood in line for 4 hours to ride in the General Lee - and let me tell you - it was AWESOME!

They were taking out groups of between 6 and 11 cars at once, following a pace car so things didn't get too out of control...and even with that my driver said that he got up to 90 a few times that day, including my ride!!!!

They spun you around the track a good 4 times (half-mile track), so the ride was about three minutes long, but at 70 or so miles an hour, your legs are still shakey when you get done with that banked oval.

I would guess that close to 2000 people got to ride in the General yesterday, since they were taking between 25 and 40 people at once, and we still had to wait 4 hours...there were enough people behind me that they probably waited another hour and a half to two hours after I finished.

To all those General Lee owners who volunteered their time for this special event - THANK YOU!!!!

LS3

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Per the Bristol Herald-Courier newspaper, attendance at DukesFest for Saturday numbered over 25,000 people. I believe it, after taking a good look at the parking lot yesterday. The good news is, the Bristol Motor Speedway is set up for huge crowds. There's two seperate tracks and grandstands - one for the NASCAR half-mile, and one for the dragstrip. Plenty of open space in the middle.

I got some decent pics of some of the cars n' such, which I'll upload soon. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing as well with getting cast pictures. No matter where I am on the grounds, there's stuff going on someplace else that I manage to miss.

One of the coolest things about being here, is being surrounded by like-minded folk who love the Dukes of Hazzard and openly display that passion. It's great to see General Lees crusing the hotel parking lot, entire families running around in orange t-shirts and Hazzard gear. The little kids, most of all, are what make it special.

What's amazing is the number of brand new fans that surfaced from the CMT airing. A lot of "first timers" are here this weekend. For some of us, this is DukesFest number three, four, or five. Then there's the folks who have never had a chance to see Rosco, or see a General Lee up close. These shindigs are a lot of work for Ben and the crew, and for all the General Lee owners, ect, but it's worth it to see that smile on a kid's face.

Awright....I have to get away from the laptop and get back to the shindig. More later!

Brian

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Great report there Brian !!!!! ---- I'll pick up from there for you. I left the hotel at about 9:00 to travel 8 miles to the track I've been there before so finding the entance was no problem. I made it to about a football lenght before my off ramp and ran into BUMPER to BUMPER traffic Sat. It took my until ALMOST 11:00 to get parked. Even with this my fellow Hazzardites showed no sighs of 'road rage'! We were all letting in a car or two at a time to keep them from being hit by other traffic.

We circled area and seen the autograph lines were more time than I wanted to spend being the first day. I have gotten the others but needed to get John's.

We made out way up the long hill via track buses. By the time we got up there they had shut down the General Lee rides so we did go in and watch them circle the track and it was AWESOME!! The pace car driver had to be COOL to let them get up to those speeds.

The stunt show was GREAT! Sat. Then I was very close (but out of reach of the stage) when Cooter's Garage Band and John were on --- I have some GREAT pictures of John! It was really cool at some point while singing people were showing him pictures of himself a few years ago he'd hold them up for us to see then hand them back. He did this to a lunch box and other items one lady handed him her cell phone so while singing into the phone he said ,"Hello" then continued to sing while holding the phone finally handing it back to her. Later he asked her, "Who was I talking to? Your sisiter. Where is she? In Ill (or Ind) Well if that wasn't a commercial for the (name of the phone company) I don't know what was!" Thought it was great he did that for her.

I counted 40+ General Lees on the track for the parade of the General Lees and the other cars made up the field of 60+ cars and BOATS!

Today I left the hotel about 8:40 and made it to the track by driving straight through -- no traffic jams. I saw John's line and it was HUGH by 9:30 I took my spot in line it was after 1:30 when i finally made it to him but I didi get the autograph as well as a 3 pictures of myself and a friend with him. I took him a patch for our shirts from where I work which he seemed to like. I knew James Best collected like police patchs so last year I took him and the others one this year I took one to John.

Needless to say I and ROASTED!!! Bristol Speedway ig GREAT and a Great place to have such a large event but NO SHADE!

Then for the stunt show--- They set up like a bread truck type truck which the General lee was suppose to clear. I was standing even with the ramp. JOhn said they would hit the track at about 60-65mph I was told the stunt driver later said he hit it about 100mph. Something happened the ramp broke when he hit it I saw later --- as the General Lee flew over the truck the nose of the beloved General dropped suddenly it landed nose first and then rolled onto its top and to the trunk! As soon as it had stopped the Emergency workers were there flipped it back to its wheels and were getting the driver out as I saw FLAMES from under the hood!!!! Bristol Motor Speedway's fire dept had extinguishers and a foam until and took the situation in hand......but the poor General Lee I don't even think my brother Cooter can fix him this time!!!! It sold for $11,200 AFTER the crash! (I heard in the crowd later that there was too much weigh in the back end and when he hit the ramp at the added speed the back end of the long Charger bottomed out causing the flip.) After the jump he said he circled back because he didn't have enough speed and Cooter had SECURITY blocking the gate so he had to go through with the jump-- he also said he was glad it was over with! It was unbelievable!!!!

Then they jumped a cruiser through the truck which was cool also. I think they might have done a few more stunts but after they looked at the General's ramp probably couldn't fix the ramp in a timely manner.

I wanted to post this before I layed down in front of the fan I feel like a French Fry

DixieDaveport

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Thanks Dixie for YOUR great report !!! You guys are terrific with the details for those of us that are bummed we couldn't go. :(

So cute about John on stage - ugggh, it's KILLING me that I didn't get to see him sing live. Do you think you could post those pics of him? Would LOVE to see! What did he look like? What was he wearing? Hmmm, so many questions... :D

Too bad you being a frenchfry :wink: but I'm sure it was completely worth it! Sounds like it was a fun time for all including the cast and stunt guys!

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When I can get all the pictures developed I'll have them put on CD for the computer and with good direction I'll be more than glad to share them!

He had on jeans and a off white shirt the first day and get this in the pictures with him he had on a brown t-shirt that said "Dreams do come true". I thought that was a very appropriate shirt to wear!!!

Dixie

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Yummmm, "Bo" in a brown T-Shirt again (remember season 1) I LOVE him in brown! Somebody posted a pic somewhere and WOW - he looked GREAT!

I just can't wait to see some more pictures - thanks Dixie! Look forward to it! :D

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I WANT TO BE THERE!! DAMN!!

Yes pictures would be great!

Dixie, if you'd be so willing to share, I could put them on my John site, giving u credit of couse!

I want to see John in that shirt, and hear him sing, see him sing live. Though my dreams dont seem to be as lucky as John's dreams have been lol.

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My trip to Dukesfest was good but could have been better. I would have preferred to travel to Bristol Friday morning and get settled in. But my radio station had a late afternoon remote and I had to work. I didn't get away until after 7:00pm and I didn't arrive at the Days Inn until after midnight. The next morning, I had a major money scare. I had deposited my money Friday morning and it showed up in the ATM that afternoon, however, the money wasn't there on Saturday morning, so I had to use what little I had available to eat breakfast at Shoney's and then get to Dukesfest. I arrived at bumper to bumer traffic, but it didn't take too long to get parked. I got to the autograph tent, but failed to notice that you had to get a ticket, hence the long line I saw. So I got into the line inside the tent to see John Schneider and I played it dumb, thankfully, I wasn't turned away. Good thing too. I later on saw how long that line had gotten. I got to meet John and he surprisingly remembered me and my voice impressions from a few years ago. I had a Polaroid picture taken with him. When I told him I was program director at my station and that we spin his greatest hits album, John gave me a copy of his new CD, which I will listen to and hopefully find some good songs to play on the air. John is a very nice guy and he looked younger than he does on Smallville.

After leaving the tent, I saw that CMT was having a Rosco impersonation contest, so I couldn't resist and got onstage, and did the voices of all the Dukes of Hazzard characters. I got a CMT T shirt and some Boss Hogg's beef jerky.

I was still worried about the money situation and I left Dukesfest for a while. When I saw the lineup of traffic waiting to get in, I figured I'd never get back in and I saw one car pulled off into the turn lane because it apparently broke down. I went back to the Days Inn and took a nap. Well, later that day, I checked the ATM and the money I thought was missing was there, so I went back to Dukefest around 4:00 and got in with no problem and no traffic.

I enjoyed the stunt show and I was right at the stage when it happened and when the cast assembled. I waved to Catherine Bach and I couldn't believe it, she STILL remembered me by name and she said "Hey Will!"

I'm amazed how John, Cathy, or any of them can remember fans by name since they meet millions of people all the time. I accomplished my mission that day and I bought the 3rd season on DVD.

The next day, I got up earlier and arrived at Dukesfest within the 8:00 hour and surprisingly, the traffic wasn't bad. They had apparently opened up the gates and I got in and got parked quickly. Everybody literally ran for the autgraph tent like a relay for life race and I got lined up to meet James Best. When I met him, I was amazed that he and Dorothy remembered me and my voices from the previous year. Well, I realized that meeting any of the others would have been downright impossible, The lines were all too long and now we get to what I hated about the trip. I was hoping against hope that the weather would be real nice like it was a week or two ago. But unfortunately, Mother Nature gave me and all of us there the proverbial middle finger. It was like August and was terribly hot, hazy, and humid. Temperatures reached the 90's. I was hanging out with Jerry Rushing and Paul Harrington, the head of the Canadian Dukes Fan Club under a tent and after Shooter Jennings performed, I made the tough decision of leaving early. So I missed John's stage performance and stunt show with the jumping of the General Lee. I figured I'd either stay and go from being roasted to charred and get caught in the heavy traffic leaving, or leave early while there's no traffic and avoid health problems. I had no protection from the sun and I am redder than Uncle Jesse's Barbecue sauce. All in all, it was a good trip. I accomplished my main missions. I met John and Jimmy. I didn't have to meet Cathy since I met her in Pigeon Forge last week, and if I want to see Ben or Rick (or Sonny in absentia) I'll go to Cooter's Place. Except for desert drought conditions, I had a blast. I especially enjoyed making new friends at Dukesfest and getting the chance to do my voice impressions of the cast.

Cheers.

Will Rodgers

The Voice Man

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The General Lee jump and the patrol car jump on Sunday could only be described with one word: Wild.

The General hit the ramp damn fast, launched up like a rocket, and tilted nose-down in mid-air abruptly. It landed hard on the nose with a savage crunch, flipped end over end, landed on the roof and skated across the grass upside-down...then caught on fire. Everybody in the crowd gasped for breath because it looked pretty bad.

The emergency crew put out the fire in seconds, but nobody in the crowd moved until Corey got out of that car and stood up. Talk about relief!

The patrol car jump was amazing, too. The car leapt from the ramp at an odd angle, did a barrel-roll in mid-air, and crashed through a parked panel truck while it was upside down in mid-flight. Craziest thing I've ever seen. It was, as Rosco would put it, a "horrendous crash." Spectacular, though!

MeadowMufn caught a part of both jumps on video, which has been posted on DukesFest.com. ( viewable with QuickTime player.)

More soon!

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I especially enjoyed making new friends at Dukesfest and getting the chance to do my voice impressions of the cast.

Cheers.

Will Rodgers

The Voice Man

Just wanted to say how impressed me and my friend were with your voice impressions, they sounded exactly like each character.

We were there Saturday and Sunday and had a great time, just wish we'd brought some chairs along, it was an exhausting two days.

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To everyone who attended DukesFest and gave us your reports on it, I thank you very much for it. I am also very jealous because I didn't get to go...

I am hoping next year I can attend. This year was a bit hard, my 10 year wedding anniversary(together since High School 17 years and 3 kids later)was that weekend and the Mrs. put her foot down and said no(this is where I have my tail tucked between my legs) :oops: ...We had a wonderful dinner and a great weekend. BUT I would rather have been at DukesFest with all my HazzardNet friends. Wait till next year....

I am glad everyone enjoyed it so much and for sharing your experiences and enjoyment...

Darrell

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Happy Anniversary Darrel and Mrs. Darrell. It was good you gave in for her. Had it been me I THINK I could have convienced either EX to have went to Duke Fest -- course if they wouldn't have went I would have went with out them! Guess that's why they are ex's!! LOL I got my second EX last year. I took our son and a video camera making sure to video a lot of Thunder Valley (the Drag Track) which the EX has wanted to go to since before we married and that was about 16 years ago. He hasn't gotten there! I put the video on VHS and gave it to our son with instructions to play it for his Dad LMAO!!!! I beat him to Thunder Valley!

BCDR05 -- Just hop a boat or plane and come on over next year! By the way I like your picture of Luke! :)

DixieDavenport

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Geeez I bet it was neat as hell to be there. I wasn't able to go this year, but I'm definitely gonna try to go next year for DukesFest '06. I hope that all the cast members will be able to attend also. I can't wait to meet all of them! Especially Jimmie Best, because he and I share a common interest, a love for art! Peace folks, take care!

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I had to downsize the pic in the first place. This website only takes pics less than 6 kb; the i went to imageshack.com and placed it in the "HOST IT" section. You then write down the address it gives you for the pic and then you come back here and place it in your "PROFILE", right down the bottom under "AVATAR" link. Hope this helps! Write me if it doesn't :)

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