Random Rods bringing massive classic car show to historic Amis Mill

Jeff Bobo • Sep 26, 2018 at 5:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Amis Mill’s settlers first observed the Big Creek Valley near Rogersville 250 years ago on horseback, but on Saturday a new generation of explorers will rumble through that valley, this time carried by a lot more horsepower.

For the first time, the Amis Mill Historic Site will play host to a Random Rods Car Show, which has brought as many as 1,000 classic cars to Rogersville in the past when the event was hosted by Otis and Kathy Eldridge’s Memory Lane.

Amis Mill owner Jake Jacobs told the Times News Tuesday he’s not expecting 1,000 cars Saturday, but then again, he doesn’t really know what to expect.

Uncharted territory for the Amis Mill

“We were approached by Random Rods to see if we would host their car show since (Memory Lane owner) Otis (Eldridge) probably isn’t going to be doing it anymore,” Jacobs said. “I cautiously said, ‘OK, we’ll give it a shot.’ We have no idea what to expect, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Jacobs added, “They don’t know how many cars are going to show up. They’ve had as many as 1,000 at Memory Lane, and that would definitely buckle our knees. But we’ve got room for it, and we’ve got plenty of spectator parking, so I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Saturday’s show will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Event parking will be accessed from Bear Hollow Road near the Amis Mill Eatery, which is located at 127 W. Bear Hollow Road about two miles south of Rogersville.

The section of West Bear Hollow Road between the Burem Road intersection and the intersection of Ebbing and Flowing Springs Road will be closed to through traffic Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The event is open to all pre-1988 classic cars. Registration is $15, and there will be cash drawings throughout the event.

Local “Hot Rod” artist featured

Although classic cars will be the main attraction, Amis Mill events always have a few side shows.

On Saturday, nationally renowned artist and Hawkins County native Jimmy Caswell will have 25-30 of his most recent “Hot Rod” paintings on display at the Big Creek Visitors Center across from the Eatery.

They are also some of his bigger paintings, with none being smaller than three feet in width, and some as big as six feet.

Although he considers it more of a show or a display, Caswell said the paintings are for sale.

“We’ll see how much they like them,” Caswell told the Times News Monday. “My cheapest painting I’ve got is about $325 and on up. Some of them get pretty costly, maybe $2,000 to $3,000. Of course, a man can price something any way he wants to, and that don’t mean it’s going to bring that. It’s just a start, and if somebody says, ‘Will you take a little less than that?’ well shoot yeah. I’ll take your wife’s little Honda and two chain saws.”

Although his paintings feature a variety of styles and subjects, Caswell said hot rods were his first love.

“Ever since I was a kid, I would paint hot rods when I was in school, and now I’ve got it down to an art,” he said. “Some of them, all you’ve got to do is look for the switch key and you can drive them off. They’re pretty well detailed.”

He added, “Some of them are car portraits, and some of them depict action with a street rod. I’m going to put them all on the porch over there at the (Amis Mill Visitors Center) museum, and they’ll be stacked everywhere.”

A few added attractions

Claire Reed, who paints pet portraits, will also be on hand, and she’s expected to bring 25-30 original pet paintings.

There will be several vendors, including Native American artists, who will have authentic handmade tools, weapons, pottery, candles and other items for sale, as well as homemade fry bread.

On Oct. 6, Amis Mill will host its third annual Native American Gathering, and the artists attending Saturday’s car show will also be helping promote the upcoming Gathering.

The Amis Mill Eatery will be open for table service and will also be selling BBQ and Cajun cuisine in the Visitors Center pavilion. The popular Miss Bea’s will have a food booth with cookies and cakes as well.

For more information about the event, call (423) 293-4300 or (423) 272-2518.