Date: June 28th & 29th 2008
What beter place to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Dukes of Hazzard than right back where it began back in 1978? That is what John Schneider a.k.a. Bo Dukes must have thought when he decided that Dukesfest 2008, the first Dukesfest under his management, would be held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway just outside of Atlanta, GA.
This year's event included appearances by Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport); John Schneider (Bo Duke); Tom Wopat (Luke Duke); Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke); Byron Cherry (Coy Duke); James Best (Rosco P. Coltrane); Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos); Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus) and Don Pedro Colley (Sheriff Ed Little).
The burly men lined up early to see the woman of their dreams at this weekend's Dukesfest, a sea of camouflage and General Lee orange T-shirts.
Nervously glancing side to side, they blushed as they snaked through the more than 50-deep line at Atlanta Motor Speedway to finally reach their long awaited goal: Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach), the star from the hit television show "Dukes of Hazzard" who made hip-hugging Daisy Duke jeans shorts famous.
Truelove, who said he owns all the Dukes episodes on DVD, had tears in his eyes and "felt like a teenager all over again" when Bach rested her head on his shoulder and posed for a photo with him.
"I'm just a redneck and she is the biggest celebrity I have ever met," he said triumphantly, clutching her autographed photo.
Truelove is one of thousands who turned out at the racetrack for the two-day event Saturday marking the 30th anniversary of the show a little early. Parts of the show, which aired from 1979 to 1985, were shot in Conyers, and characters Bo and Luke Duke sometimes talked about racing NASCAR in Atlanta.
Outside the media center where Bach busily signed autographs, lunchboxes and T-shirts – for women and children, too – car enthusiasts showed off dozens of look-alike General Lees, the famous orange Dodge Charger cousins Bo and Luke drove in the show. Some of the car owners took fans on thrill rides around the track.
Other fans dressed up like characters in the show, including 13-year-old Austin Prather. He appeared as the show's villain, Boss Hogg, complete with white polyester suit, matching cowboy hat, and pillow stuffing to give him Hogg's paunch.
"Now we just need to find a gray wig to go with it," Prather's grandmother, Delina, said proudly as she admired him. The Prathers traveled to the show from Cairo, Mo., with five show vehicles including a 1970 Cadillac DeVille convertible they restored to look like Hogg's ride.
They weren't the only ones who came from afar. Steve Whittaker drove in Friday from Bristol, Va., spending the night with his wife and two young sons in their minivan. They lined up early Saturday morning to get Daisy's autograph.
"She's gorgeous," Whittaker asserted after Bach autographed a somewhat revealing photo of herself for him.