If you’re looking to find one of the best concentrations of vintage Ford-powered pickups in the country, program the Garmin for the Volunteer State and roll out to the Annual F-100 Supernationals, now in its 44th year. This long-running September classic is held at the Sevierville Convention Center, Sevierville, Tennessee, with the focus of the event always on the Ford truck platform, although all Ford-powered vehicles are welcome. With loads of display space for the more than 475 Blue Ovals outside as well as air conditioned comfort inside for vendors and debuting vehicles, the venue is always a hit with the crowd.
The action begins on Thursday with vehicles and vendors arriving from around Tennessee plus dozens of neighboring states. Shake off the road dust, settle in and get ready for the Friday morning welcoming ceremonies that began with the Star-Spangled Banner and recognizing veterans in the crowd. Show promoter Charlie Cobble presented each with a custom ball cap and commemorative coin.
Next on the agenda and a long-running tradition of this event is the unveiling of freshly completed vehicles, giving spectators their first look. This year, six debuting trucks had their covers removed as Charlie went over the list of details. The applause from the appreciative crowd convinced the owners that all the hard work and long nights were worth it. Spectators had an opportunity for close up inspections with many getting ideas they could incorporate into future builds of their own.
While there were lots of premium rides on display inside, spectators were surprised to see a unique celebrity ride, the 1978 F-350 SuperCab pickup specially built for John Wayne. Fitted with the newly introduced “Ranger Lariat” luxury trim level, Wayne’s truck was used as a tow vehicle for his dressing room trailer on location and saw regular use on his Arizona ranch. Roger Mathis is the current owner, having purchased the truck at the 2020 Mecum Auction in Florida.
While the inside attractions were great fun, the outside options added even more with row after row of custom rides, sporting every color of the rainbow. Swap meet vendors displayed a huge collection of rusty and dusty alongside shiny and new, providing the perfect opportunity to accessorize your ride. The shaded wing of the Convention Center was a cool place for lunch and Tennessee’s fabled tourist attractions in the evening made the event a true family affair.
The Saturday afternoon award ceremony wrapped up the three-day event, with dozens of spectators going home with significant door prizes and drivers making their way through the crowd to pick up more than 130 awards.
Winning the Street Trucks Editor’s choice with their 1970 F-100 supercharged Unibody was the father and son team of Gerald and Jim Lindsay. Gerald’s brother George Lindsay captured the F-100 Builder’s Guide Editor’s Choice with his bright orange, Coyote-powered ’63. George also took home a second trophy, winning the overall Points Champion. Lynn Pace took Best of the Best with his Black Onyx ’56, sporting a 500 hp 351 Windsor V-8.
Capturing the coveted F-100 Champion trophy was Larry Cleary of Roman Road Auto Restoration with his Atomic Silver ’56, built for his customer Joe Massaro. Watch for more on these vehicles soon.
As the award ceremony ended, Charlie had a special announcement of his own. Health issues have dictated a change in direction and this was Charlie’s last show. It’s time to retire after 34 years in the car and truck show business but he will still be in an advisory capacity this year and next to ensure that the new team of owners gets off to a proper start. Rest assured that the future of the event is secure. In fact, the 2022 event already has flyers and sponsorship scheduled. Put Sept. 22-24, 2022, on your calendar now. If you’d like more information on this annual classic, go to https://www.facebook.com/F100Supernationals
Great events don’t happen in a vacuum. Special thanks to show sponsors Mid Fifty, National Parts Depot, Dan Carpenter’s Specialties, and Scott’s Hot Rods ‘N Customs.
With loads of display space for the more than 475 Blue Ovals outside as well as air conditioned comfort inside for vendors and debuting vehicles, the venue is always a hit with the crowd.
Joseph P. Greeves