After a three-month delay due to COVID-19, Somernites Cruise came roaring back this weekend with a strong start to its 20th season.
Featuring the 4th annual Truckin' Nationals, pickup trucks were everywhere during Saturday afternoon's Show 'n Shine event in downtown Somerset. About 90 minutes in, organizers had counted a total of 641 vehicles -- including 340 trucks -- with more coming in. He estimated the final count would fall somewhere between 800 and 1,000.
"That's right around what we were expecting," Somernites Executive Director Keith Floyd said. "It's manageable…Everyone is social distancing and several are wearing masks. It's been a great day."
If anything at all could mar the event, it would have been the few dark clouds which passed over from time to time. When asked about the chance of rain, Floyd laughed, "I haven't looked and I don't want to know."
Whether it was from stray rain drops or overpowering sunshine, Mike Powell was safe under his modified 1983 GMC TopKick. In the business of custom builds for 20 years, for this model, he shortened the body of the former fire truck and put a dually bed on it.
"I've always been a mechanic sort of guy," he said, "and I used to watch rednecks with their jacked-up baby trucks.…I went the opposite way, mainly because I wanted to be different."
The Mercer County man said he comes to Somernites usually every other month. He had no qualms about attending Saturday.
"This is the best run show anywhere, ever," Powell said.