by Mitch Prentice from the Lake Sun
If you had been looking for your fix of classic cars, The Bandits brought it straight to you on June 28, 2019. Camdenton, Missouri was the host to a parade of Pontiac Trans Ams as they rumbled through town. The parade was in honor of Smokey and the Bandit.
The event began in Texas and went all the way to Kansas City, Missouri. With over 110 cars in attendance, it was hard to miss. John Kelsey, owner of Kelsey Tires in Camdenton, is one of the main reasons the group decided to make a stop in town. Kelsey’s museum is home to a number of rare and vintage automobiles.
The event is not only in honor of Smokey and the Bandit, but also to Burt Reynolds himself. Kelsey Tires supplied the tires on one of the vehicles Reynolds drove in the movie, and is one of the many claims to fame Kelsey enjoys.
The Bandits enjoyed this while in town, with buses shuttling drivers to and from Kelsey’s location on US-54. The drivers made their way to Camdenton Middle School and park at the building. Lunch was held for the group inside the building, with Kelsey and his wife hosting a number of memorabilia pieces inside the cafeteria. The public was welcomed to take pictures and see the cars as they came through, but it was not considered a public event.
Kelsey says that this group is important as they recognize a significant era in this vehicles history. He says that the era of Reynolds and Smokey and the Bandit was important to tire salesman and classic car lovers. Being a salesman at the time of its release, he says it’s a tribute to an era that is loved by many.
“For those of us who were active in that era and in the tire business, it set the tone for that car and was very important,” Kelsey said.