Monday, March 2, 2015

Another trip down historical roads


Every once in awhile I have to venture down the historic road of the creation of this organization and why it was created.

Although there are many people who know the history, and all , either they don’t read these postings, or they just pass over them, in fact if anything concerns any kind of a fund raiser. Without further adieux I’ll get into this.

The year was 1976 with one movie to his credit Gy Waldron had made the film based on the writings and tales of an old moonshiner Jerry Rushing, the film the MoonRunners. A movie that would become the pilot film to our beloved Dukes-of-Hazzard, but while I saw the film during its first running, I thought it was just a great film.

In 1978 after I had bought with Marine pay in part and money from my Mom, I bought LexiBelle my beloved tow truck.

>adxelexi With that I needed a shop, so I opened along with a dear friend James Stuart Macdonald a place we called, Pat & Jim’s Speed Shop in downtown Hagerman Idaho. In March of 1979 I was to go on a recon run to that years Salt Lake Autorama. However a snow storm prevented me to go down there, and was too bad to return to Hagerman I stayed over in Burley. Although by this time I had been watching the Dukes, to me at that point it was just another TV show. The night I stayed over , on going out for dinner, a albeit poorly done, a duplicate General Lee, 1970 Dodge Charger was parked next to my mini Kenworth. Some time I’ll tell ya’ll about that, not now.

So I sought out the kid who built it. I met with the kid, and made the agreement with him that should he ever want to sell the old General to call me.

Life went on, and in 1980 we built a counter car to the General Lee, a 1969 Chevy Caprice that we called the General Jackson. Fast forward to 1981, we had every intention of taking the Gen Jackson, to that years Salt Lake City AutoRama, the at the time premier premium hot rod show in the region, before it went so commercialized. Everything was on target when in June 1981 on a prop finding mission for our diorama or display for the General Jackson, a pair of white go-go boots that we felt would be hot on a manikin as a car hop, I spied the General Lee across the street from a Junior High where we were obtaining the boots from.

The sign said FOR SALE $1,500.00 You can bet the quickness of the trip back to Hagerman.

A long conversation with my Mom and some farm money, off her and I went to Paul Idaho, to buy the General Lee.

Some up front meetings with AutoRama producer Mickey Ellis and we had the General entered. Two months of serious work, engine, a 440 magnum power plant with a 13.5 to 1 Comp ratio, a B&M reprogrammed A727 Auto tranny, a Ford 9 inch rear, making our General the fastest and most reviled hot rod in two states by all that wore a badge. None of them could catch it. NONE OF THEM.

Off to the show in November 1981, ours took two awards, most authentic, and best of show for conservative street custom.

Over the three nights of the show about the second night, I considered, that neither myself nor my side kick, looked anything like Bo or Luke Duke, but I did resemble very much Ben Jones- aka Cooter. While the General was hot I thought, why not build the ultimate Hazzard County Garage tow truck. Call the shop the Hazzard County Garage, and take it from there.

With the blessings of producers of the Dukes, Warner Brothers and CBS, we opened the Hazzard County Garage in the spring of 1982. Jimmy and I wondered even with the popularity of the General and the name of the shop, how are we going to bring people to Hagerman ? I said let the General do it. Unite the grassroots gearheads, on the shirt tails of an official Dukes-of-Hazzard fan club.

At this period of time there was a hit movie running, called the Hollywood Knights. Which featured a orange 56 Nomad wagon called Newbaums Pie Wagon. After several ideas of what to call the club, with a sit down at then the Polish Palace, now the Snake River Inn, the Hazzard County Knytes was formed.

We started with 15 members, even two now law enforcement officers who became members, we went to Boise to register the club, with the state registrar, and two members of the Idaho state Legislature and through a short fast tracked process, Hagerman Idaho was officially assigned the second town name of Hazzard. But it was in 1983, that the most treasured part of the dedication to fans and all from the Dukes happened to me as an individual. In March 1983, my Mom past away due to COPD. When the cast of the Dukes heard this , Gy and the full cast of the Dukes attended my Moms funeral in Hazzard, as I will always call my home town, and the rest is as they say, is history.

It would take all too many pages of a blog to tell the many firsts and all the work that the club has done for charitable causes, or the fact that the Hazzard County Garage wrote the book on what a kountry hot rod shop should be, the fact that Hazzard’s only radio station was created by the Hazzard Knytes. The list as I say is too long.

In mid 2008 things would however change, that in my next blog.

But know this, there is no more dedicated to the legacy of Hazzard County, not just the Dukes, but all of Hazzard County, than the Hazzard County Knytes.

We must be doing something right however. At the last club census, the Hazzard County Knytes(aka Knytes of Anarchy) has 50,000 members that is 1,000 members in 50 states, with an additional 10,000 members in Canada and another 10,000 members in Australia.

This is the magic of Hazzard County.

The story of the Knytes-of-Anarchy Wednesday, here on HazzardAyre Gazzette.



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