The River City Rodders is a car club comprised of local car enthusiasts who tend to have an interest in modified cars, although owners of original cars are welcome as well. The club is organized as a not-for-profit corporation from a legal standpoint and we pride ourselves on the financial support we have been able to provide over the years for various local charitable organizations with income generated from our annual car show. Our club currently has around sixty members. Most of our members are over sixty, but younger members are certainly welcome. Our dues are $50 per year and are payable in January, which entitles the member to a club polo shirt and the opportunity to participate in all club activities.
We like to say that if you are thinking about becoming a Rodder, you will fit in if you like cars, you like to BS and you like to eat. We meet monthly on the second Thursday of the month, with the meeting hosted by a different member each month – typically at their home or in their shop. With meeting hosts providing the food and beverages, we tend to have some friendly competition to see who can produce the best meal. Suffice it to say that dining at one of our meetings is usually better than going to a restaurant. The club provides the meeting host with $150 to help cover the cost of the meal.
In addition to monthly meetings, the Rodders also have an annual picnic at the 4 th of July car show in Jackson and a fall picnic, typically at Brookside Park in Jackson. We also have a Christmas Party in January that includes a high-quality catered dinner and optional steal-a-gift exchange. All of these activities are funded by our dues.
Our most significant activity each year is our car show, which is held every year on the second Sunday after Labor Day. Our show has been held annually since 1977, with the location moving from its original home in the Town Plaza parking lot to Cape County Park to Capaha Park and eventually to Downtown Cape, where we have been located since 2008. Our show became the River Tales Classic when we moved Downtown, but was rebranded to Manifolds on Main Street in 2019. We feel we have the highest quality small car show in this part of the country and take a lot of pride in the positive comments we get every year from both participants and spectators. We do not charge admission by design to encourage families to attend and fund our expenses primarily with corporate sponsorships, which we have always viewed as “rain out insurance”. If we have good weather and make money, we have historically donated the lion’s share of our profits to local charitable organizations like the Women’s Safe House, CASA, and the Humane Society. We have a car show leadership team that works behind the scenes all year to get the show organized, but all members are expected to help out the day of the show and also help solicit sponsors for our show. The day of the show is always busy, but it’s a lot of fun and we always finish the day by meeting for dinner at a local restaurant, provided Mother Nature allowed us to make a profit that day.
At some point after we moved our show Downtown, we decided to expand to a two-day event in an effort to attract more out of town participants. On the Saturday afternoon before the show, we now host a free cruise in at Capaha Park that includes free grilled brats, chips and beverages and the opportunity to win a door prize. The last two years, one of our members has also organized a cruise on Broadway that evening. This cruise has been a nice addition to our weekend activities and usually features quite a few burnouts. We now have a large number of participants from St. Louis, Memphis and other out-lying locations coming to Cape for the weekend.
In 2019, due to the rising popularity of these types of events, the Rodders started hosting Cars & Coffee the first Saturday of every month at the Cape Krispy Kreme on William St. These are always well attended, with 70 – 80 cars typically in attendance. They run from March to October.