Pontiac lovers converge on Pigeon Forge

Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:43 PM

The 13th annual Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge show was held Saturday at the Music Road Hotel. At the event, which benefited St. Jude's Hospital, approximately 150 cars were entered, and first, second and third place awards were given in 25 classes.

After his daughter Ciera received a cancer diagnosis four years ago, Mike Blackburn wanted to do something to benefit the organization. Combining his love of Pontiacs with his desire to help the hospital, he organizes the car show, which is held in May of each year.

Ciera, 21, was diagnosed with lymph nodes cancer at the age of 17. She is currently experiencing a relapse in symptoms, and will soon undergo a bone marrow transplant at St Jude's. Nevertheless, she remains strong in will and spirit.

"I had to beg my doctor to leave. With transplant patients, they usually don't let them, but I've never missed a show," she said. At last, her doctor relented. "He said this was something I needed," she said. "But I had to agree to be back Sunday night for blood work."

Blackburn first realized something was wrong when she developed a pain in her shin. Within a year, a rapidly growing tumor was determined by her orthopedic doctor to be cancerous.

Blackburn said all treatments and care she has received have been free. "We never get a bill from them at all, and we never pay a dime. That's why my dad does this," she said.

Larry McClure, a longtime Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge participant (and Mountain Press employee), said the event goes on throughout the weekend. On Friday night, a free dinner is provided to all participants who have pre-registered. On Saturday, after the show, the group gets together to "cruise to the top of the mountain."

While hundreds of folks came out for the show, some are bigger supporters than others. Brian Davis and his new wife, Gail, even attended the Pontiac show as part of their honeymoon. The couple got married on Friday in Chattanooga, then traveled to Pigeon Forge. Brian, a Pontiac enthusiast, has six Pontiacs at home, though he didn't bring any in for the show this year.

"If he's happy, I'm happy," said Gail. "We've got a lot of years to do things. I didn't want him to miss it." n

jfrye@themountainpress.com