Rod Run moves to LeConte Center

Apr. 06, 2014 @ 11:44 PM

 After spending 31 years at the Grand Hotel and Convention Center, the Pigeon Forge Rod Run is moving to the LeConte Convention Center next weekend on April 11-12. Like previous years, the show will feature show cars, awards and door prizes, including an $8,000 cash giveaway.

Byron Cooper, one of the event organizers, said that he believes moving away from the previous venue and into the LeConte Center will be beneficial for the event. When word got out that the Rod Run was moving to the LeConte, Cooper said, more vendors than ever signed up.

“With a brand new facility and the added square footage inside the LeConte, it gives us more room for more show cars and more vendors inside,” Cooper said. “It’s such a nicer facility, plus there’s a huge parking lot, I think it can hold about 2,000 cars.”

Phil Campbell, manager of the LeConte, said both he and the event organizers hope that the LeConte can become the permanent home for the Rod Run. However, the organizers only signed a one-year license and prefer to only commit one year at a time.

“I know they hope it helps to grow the quality of show and brings more folks in to see the show, with more free parking than they’ve ever had before,” Campbell said. “I think they’re pleased so far with vendor response, and anytime you’ve been restricted to mostly outside and you open up this 100,000 square foot facility, it opens a world of possibilities.”

The LeConte is adjacent to the previous venue, and a trailer will be set up at the Grand Hotel to direct anyone who is not aware of the move. “This will probably send over a lot of foot traffic,” Campbell said.

The event will take place both in the LeConte Center and outside as well, with about 40 show cars inside. New this year is ScottieDTV Dirty Dozen, which is 12 hand-picked cars from across the nation that have been on ScottieDTV. Before moving to the LeConte, there was not enough room for this.

Special celebrity guest Michael Henry of the TV show “Counting Cars” will also be on hand this year. “That’s something that a lot of people watch, and a lot of people will be there for that reason,” Cooper said. “It’s a very popular series.”

For more information, visit the Rod Run website at rodrun-pigeonforge.com or call 687-3976.

jold@themountainpress.com