March 10, 2013

Cars ‘Run to the Sun’ of Myrtle Beach this week

The motors and wheels will run for the “Run to the Sun” Thursday-Saturday in Myrtle Beach.

The motors and wheels will run for the “Run to the Sun” Thursday-Saturday in Myrtle Beach.

This 25th anniversary edition of the annual car show by the Florence-area-based Pee Dee Street Rodders will roll 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at the former Myrtle Square mall site, on Kings Highway between 21st and 29th avenues North, in Myrtle Beach.

The family oriented event also raises money for charities, which totaled $98,000 last year, shared by the Children’s Miracle Network, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and local causes.

David Rodgers, the sales manager at Sparrow & Kennedy Tractor Co. in Scranton, 45 miles west of Conway, has helped coordinate the Run to the Sun since its inception. He said this show kicks off a season of shows that participants in the Run take in across the Southeast all the way to Daytona Beach, Fla., at Thanksgiving.

“So, it’s kind of year round,” said Rodgers, master of ceremonies for the Run to the Sun, also complimenting Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, Burroughs and Chapin Company Inc., and Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for support and space for the local festivities.

Question | How did Run to the Sun first start, igniting an almost-springtime tradition for Myrtle Beach?

Answer | Some guys got together and wanted to raise some money for Make-A-Wish. ... We had 84 cars that first year. The strange thing is that it was held at Myrtle Square mall, when it was still there. And now we’re at that site, so it’s come full circle.

Q. | How many cars do officials tally, amid the more than 2,900 registered last year, and how far do people travel for this?

A. | We’re looking for about 3,000 cars. ... Last year, we had cars from 23 states and Canada. We give a long-distance award. Last year, we had cars from as far as Washington state and Oregon, so it goes across the country.

Q. | The funds raised every year: To how much has that tally ballooned?

A. | The Pee Dee Street Rodders have donated more than $1 million to charities. It’s been a very successful show – more than we ever dreamed it to be. ... It’s a significant show and probably one of the largest car shows in the Southeast.

Q. | The run this year falls on the final weekend of the chamber of commerce’s Can-Am Days, another staple to close out a Grand Strand winter. Is that timing coincidental?

A. | It’s always been the third weekend in March. It’s fallen into St. Patrick’s Day and Can-Am Days. That was not a plan.

Q. | Besides this event reaching out for families to enjoy a nice outing, how is this gathering a reunion of a family of car enthusiasts as well?

A. | It’s extremely family oriented. ... One hundred percent of the money we raise goes to charity. Members give up their vacation time to do this, and this is the only show that the Pee Dee Street Rodders do. It’s an enormous task to have 5,000 to 6,000 people and 3,000 cars. We’re already working on next year’s show, and this one hasn’t even been pulled off yet.

Q. | What other vehicle lets the club raise money every year?

A. | A good bit of our income comes from T-shirt sales. Airways, out of Columbus, Ohio, does these special T-shirts. As I go to car shows in different parts of the country, I see “Run to the Sun” shirts at every show. That’s a big contributing factor.

Q. | What other parts make this whole enterprise work?

A. | We have a core of about 30 people, so we know what to do. We pick a car and truck of the year. ... Also, people are eager to get out to show what they’ve built nd worked on all winter. Some have rebuilt cars, and some have built new ones. Some are expensive. It’s a hobby for the people who own them ... kind of like sports, hunting and fishing.

Q. | How has weather proven fortunate through the years, especially for the parade cruise up Ocean Boulevard on Thursday?

A. | We’ve been blessed with good weather. It’s always a little chilly, but as long as it doesn’t pour down and rain. ... We see people sitting in chairs and they have their cameras in the street. It’s pretty neat to see a parade of 500 cars going down the street.

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