Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Rev up the engine and tear on out to the first Pony-Only Cruise of the summer with the Mustang Project Cruise in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Highway 69 on Saturday, May 7. Featuring a wide range of Mustangs, the cruise features cars from all over the state.
This is the first of two shows put on this year by the Central Arizona Mustang Club, with the second being at the end of the cruise season, said event organizer Don Stewart. He has a warm spot in his heart for Mustangs and had one for a short period of time in college. Through traveling in the community, he sees a lot of Mustangs sitting on lawns or in garages that are half-finished.
“It’s not an easy task restoring a car like that,” he said, noting that the goal of the event was to give folks a kick start to finishing their projects with one way to do so being to give them a way to show their car. “At the beginning of the summer, we have the Project Cruise and at the end, we have the Pony Only Cruise where they can show off what they’ve done during the summer.”
There’s no judging that happens at the show, Stewart said, adding that it’s a glorified cruise where the car owners cruise on in and let other people drool all over their cars. Little is done to the car participants as they are very busy talking to other car owners or those who come with projects and questions for those who have already finished their own projects, he said.
Admission is free and any proceeds from donations or the raffles go to the Yavapai County Jeep Posse. Raffle items include an overnight stay at the Hassayampa Inn, tickets for the Grand Canyon Railroad, tickets for Castles & Coasters in Phoenix, dinners and car parts.
Over the years, the Mustang Project Cruise has grown from 40 cars to between 120 and 130 cars, with some of the stalls reserved for the Jeep Posse and cars that come out from the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, Stewart said. Ford also comes out with the latest and greatest versions of their cars along with other cars they’re showing and demonstrators to give people a chance to drive around.
KKLD will also be at the event with a live remote, playing their 1960s music.
The Mustang Project Cruise gets registrations from as far south as Tucson and as far east and west as Kingman and Williams, Stewart said.
“This is the show to be at during the summer. Folks in Phoenix understand that this is a cool place to be in, in more ways than one, because it’s just too warm down there to have day shows,” he said. “Their cruise season pretty much stops when our cruise season starts up here. It’s a great opportunity for them to come up.”
Not only do registrants and cars come in from all around the state, there are people who call from out of state and mention that they’re traveling cross country and want to stop in at the event along the way, Stewart said. It’s heartwarming to get that kind of coverage as it’s all done by word of mouth, he said.
The Mustang Project Cruise is aimed at getting projects off he lawn and as many vintage Mustangs out on the highway, Stewart said. It’s turned into an opportunity for people from all over the state to show off what they’ve already done.
“This cruise is more a car show than a cruise except we don’t do any judging,” Stewart said. “If you can push it, pull it, trailer it or drive it, you belong at the show.”