Friday, May 12, 2017

The Grand Opening of Cooter's in the Valley in Luray, VA Was A Huge Success!

What a great weekend I just had in Luray!  The Grand Opening was so much fun and a huge success.

The weather wasn't perfect, but that didn't stop loads of Dukes fans from showing up and opening the newest Cooter's location in grand fashion. 

We started the day with a ribbon cutting ceremony that was on the stage inside instead of outside. Many local politicians and community leaders were in attendance.  There were no Boss Hogg types here as everyone was very excited for the potential that Cooter's Place was bringing to Page County. Our good pal Cody of C3Brix was on hand for the ribbon cutting and I only got a picture from the stage.

Cody made another amazing mosaic out of Legos, this time of Crazy Cooter himself, Ben Jones.

This picture is of Ben seeing the mosaic for the first time, and it was a surprise from Cody and Miss Alma.

I'd say Ben was impressed.

He even grabbed special guest Tom Wopat and showed his newest portrait off to Luke Duke.  It was a special moment.

I made some great new friends at the event.  One new friend is JD Heavener of JD Joyride TV.  JD is a youtuber who has an awesome Mustang Shelby GT.  He is very passionate about his video production and Cooter's was lucky enough to have him make a video about the Grand Opening.  I happen to have a cameo in it.  Check it out above.  JD got some great footage and we had a blast hanging out.  We also rode in the Monster Truck together and JD is going to make a separate video on that.  Watch my twitter feed for that one.  Check out JD's other great videos on his youtube channel  JD Joyride TV.  I'm really looking forward to hanging out with JD more at the big event in July.

Miss Alma commissioned this awesome Cooter's shaped cake from baker extraordinaire Tom Sowers and it was a big hit.

I also surprised Alma with some homemade Dukes of Hazzard cookies that were also a hit.  Maybe I'll write a blog all about these delicious General Lees.

Alma loved them.

This is Kevin posing with his son and his really cool custom newer Charger General Lee.  I first met Kevin at the old Cooter's in Sperryville in December of 2015.

Kevin recently had his Gen'ral featured in a Mopar magazine and showed me the pictures.  He told me how much fun the photo shoot was.  It is really cool that Kevin had that experience and got to share his love for the Dukes in the magazine.  Great job Kevin!

There were several custom General Lees at the event.  This is Nicholas and his General Lee Dodge Dart.  Nick is a die hard and the next generation of Dukes fanatics.  It was really great talking to Nick about his trips to Gatlinburg and Luray.  He has a great collection and plans on building a '69 Charger General Lee.  I look forward to talking to Nick more at future events.

Nick already has a trunk lid from a '69 Dodge Charger that he plans on one day installing on his very own General Lee.  Ben signed it at the event, and Nick has several other autographs on it.  I can't wait to see your car when you get it Nicholas.

I also caught up with our pal Mike.  I first met Mike at the Kickstarter concert in New York City in December 2014.  Mike has quite a Dukes collection and we spent some time discussing Dukes stuff. I'm not sure if anyone knows, but I love talking Dukes stuff.

Mike brought his kids and they seemed to have as much fun as their dad.  Dukes of Hazzard truly is about family and that shows so often at Cooter's.

And then I took my new drone to the sky.  I recently bought a DJI Mavic Pro, and I couldn't wait to get some Dukes photos from the sky.  What I love about this shot is it shows how big the new Cooter's location is and it also shows the Cooter's Garage that's an awesome addition to the location. The outside of the building is painted to look like Cooter's Hazzard County Garage on one side.

When you step inside, you would swear you were in Hazzard County.  Ben and Alma, with the help of the Cooter's crew as well as Hollywood set designers recreated Cooter's Garage from the show down to exact details.

Mark Bradley, who currently works at the theme parks in Orlando, has designed models and sets for Hollywood productions all over the world.  He started out by building an exquisite model of the garage and it blossomed into a full size replica.

The addition of Hazzard County cars such as the General Lee, Cooter's 99 Camaro, and Boss Hogg's Caddy really add the finishing touch.

The posters on the wall and the tools on the bench are all accurate to the garage from the show.  The Cooter's Garage at Cooter's Place in Luray is a must see destination for all Dukes fans.  A really cool aspect of the garage is that fact that it will be fluid in a sense that it will have different Hazzard vehicles displayed at different times.  Cooter didn't work on the same few cars, though he did work on the Gen'ral all the time.  Keep an eye out for Daisy's Jeep, Rosco's Patrol car, and other cars soon.

The museum is amazing.  There was a crew that I was a part of that worked very hard leading up to the opening getting everything on the walls and in the shelves.  I'm honored to be a part of the Cooter's Dukes of Hazzard Museum Curators. That's not an official thing, but it sure sounds good.

Tom was interviewed by the local television station.  Everyone gets excited when the Dukes are in town.

A great thing about the new museum is that it's so big that there is space for the cast to sign autographs, a line to form, and still have people enjoy the collectibles and even have someone perform on stage.  The place is huge.

 And if Ben is signing in the museum and there is bluegrass music on stage, you can put Tom in the garage to sign and everyone is happy.  Tom looks really happy here.

Back to some of my drone shots.  We usually are looking up as the General flies through the air.  It's the other way around in this shot.

Hey look, there was a monster truck at he event.

And I got to rid in it!  I didn't use this ladder to get in.  You can see JD prepping his camera mounts inside the cabin of this beast.  He is preparing another video of us in the Monster High monster truck that I can't wait to see.

You really don't know how high you are in a monster truck until you take a ride in one.  I was in the backseat and I still got muddy.  It was a blast.

Saturday evening saw the kick off of the Shenandoah Jamboree concert series at Cooter's.  The great thing about the museum is everything is on wheels and can be moved around easily so it can turn into a concert hall.  We fit about 300 seats in there.

It's so cool that I get to see behind the scenes at these events like Tom and Cooter's Garage Band warming up.

These two lovebirds enjoyed a private concert and a little rest during all the commotion of the Grand Opening.  It was a moment I had to capture.

The concert was great.  It was a sellout and everyone had a good time.

Tom sang so many hits.  I contend that his version of "Up On Cripple Creek" is better than the original from The Band.  I said it and I stand by it.

Lisa Meadows and the rest of Cooter's Garage Band never disappoint.  It was a great show.  Tom even stuck around to sign more autographs afterwards.  He signed all day Saturday and Sunday and Saturday night.  We Dukes fans are very lucky that our heroes are so good to us.

I hung out with Cody most of the weekend, but didn't get many pictures of or with him.  Here is one of the Lego Master Builder entertaining the crowd as they wait to meet Ol' Crazy Cooter.

It was a great weekend at the Grand Opening of Cooter's in Luray.  Now the the location is officially open, there will be events all summer.  Of course, Cooter's Last Stand is coming up quickly on July 29 and 30, and there will be car shows, appearances, concerts, and all kind of events each weekend. I'll be there at least once more before the big event.  I'm already counting down the days until I go back.

1 comment: