Promoters: Rod run to get new name

Feb. 12, 2013 @ 12:17 AM

Promoters from the Grand Rod Run announced last week they signed a contract to keep the event going now that the hotel is under new ownership. Friday, they announced the name could be changed and that they hope to make some other changes as well.

Brothers Ronnie and Byron Cooper and partner Rod Milligan have worked on the rod runs for years. The events are 31 years old, and have become some of the biggest classic car shows coming to town every year.

While people coming for the shows often park their antique automobiles along the Parkway and cruise the road to view the other trucks and cars, the events were centered at the old Grand Resort Hotel.

The new rod runs will still be based there — in April, they’ll be using the convention center and parking lot while the hotel is under renovation, and they hope to be back in the hotel for the fall event. But the hotel owners have indicated they plan to open under a new name, and the event is no longer associated with Kenneth Seaton, the previous owner, who also owns the rights to the “Grand Rod Run” name, Milligan said.

So they’ve come up with the new name, along with some new changes they hope will make the events better.

That includes plans to move the gates so that they’re closer to parking areas and some other changes, but Milligan said he wanted to wait until they present the plans to the Pigeon Forge Planning Commission before going into more detail.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com