For years Pigeon Forge has been the home to many car shows, none as popular as the Pigeon Forge Rod Run. For most of the event’s life, it was known as the Grand Run, but as of 2014 to coincide with its new venue (the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge), the showrunners have changed the name to the Pigeon Forge Rod Run. Unlike most shows, which are a yearly event, this show takes place twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. The autumn show is normally more popular since it takes place only a week after the Shades of the Past show, which is also held in Pigeon Forge. Many car enthusiasts, families and friends plan a vacation to the area to enjoy the hot rods, muscle cars and show cars that fill the Pigeon Forge strip for two weeks in the fall.
Rod Milligan has been a major part of the show since its second year in existence, taking over the apparell for the event. In 1991 Milligan and his partners (MCS Promotions) took over the show and has grown it to the event that we know and love today. Him and his staff strive to provide each participant and spectator with the best experience and merchandise possible.
Milligan is also the owner of ET Motorgear, the only official event apparel provider at the show, which prints T-shirts and merchandise for many events and business in the Southeast. He gave us some inside information about the show. “The event has hundreds of the finest show cars in the United States, as well as fans filling the strip with 5,000 of their own cars, hot rods, rat rods or other modified vehicles.” The official event itself is held in the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, where the top of the line vehicles are on display. The cars one will see along the Parkway are brought by individuals and not necessarily part of the official event.
Milligan would like to thank his sponsors for making Rod Run possible, namely Danny’s Rod Shop, Ausley’s Chevelle, Camaro Central and ASA Performance. In addition to these sponsors having vendor spots selling today’s finest “car candy,” there will be a wide variety of other vendors selling everything from car parts to pocket books. “We try to have something for every member of the family when selecting our vendors,” stated Milligan.
The 2014 event will kick off Thursday, September 11 at 9:00 a.m. in The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge. It will run for three full days, concluding with the awards ceremony on Saturday, September 13, which starts approximately at 5:00 p.m. The awards ceremony will bestow plaques and speciality awards to the top 25 contestants with a $10,000 giveaway. Then there will be an “ultimate 5 awards” ceremony, which will award the top five best automobiles at Rod Run 2014.
This year, the staff will be holding a kickoff party on Thursday afternoon at Margaritaville Rooftop Pavilion at The Island in Pigeon Forge at 7:00 p.m. Courtney Hansen—host of the new NBC Sports, Spike TV and CBS Sports TV series PowerNation—will be the celebrity guest. Courtney has personally invited 12 feature cars to be displayed at the 2014 event.
The Pigeon Forge Rod Run is always loved by local businesses as it attracts over 75,000 tourists into the town. Almost every single hotel is packed in advance, restaurants flourish and the local attractions are always filled with customers who wouldn’t normally be in town this time of the year. Some locals aren’t a fan of the traffic that the show brings to town, but it is a small price to pay for the business it brings to town. The Pigeon Forge Rod Run is a well-established part of the community and we know that Milligan and his team will continue to grow and help the community bring in tourists, as they have done for 33 years.