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JUN 1, 2017 | COURTNEY BARBER / TEAM MUSTANG GIRLS

TEAM MUSTANG GIRLS GIVE THUMBS UP TO NEW ‘PONIES IN THE SMOKIES’ SHOW

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – When I first heard about the new “Ponies in the Smokies” event, I was excited. Not only was it a Mustang show in one of my favorite places to visit, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but the first two days of this inaugural event involved a Shine/Poker Run, and anyone that knows me knows that I will use any excuse to drive my car anywhere. To top it all off, one of the stops along the drive was the famed “Tail of the Dragon,” which enthusiasts know is packed with 318 curves over just 11 miles and is my favorite automotive dance partner!

After a quick stop at registration we arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pigeon Forge on the opening Wednesday night, and were immediately surprised by the size of the crowd, something we became accustomed to over the next four days of the event that ended on April Fool’s Day. This was the first year for the show and -- as with any brand new event we didn't set our expectations too high to avoid disappointment. I figured that no matter what, we would have a great time here simply because of the location, time of the year and the company we’d keep. Well, we weren't the only ones who shared those thoughts because the turnout was huge even at the launch party held on a week night.

The next day we were up early and ready for the best game of “poker” I've ever played in my Mustang. The show organizers had set up different locations all around the area to pick up a card and increase your chances of getting the best hand possible. I have to admit once I saw that the Tail of the Dragon was one of the stops, I immediately started heading in that direction. It's one of those roads that just calls out to me.

Even after doing it over 20 times previously, a return drive on the Tail of the Dragon is always a little wobbly the first run through – kind of like dancing with your Grandma. But then you get in the groove and you begin to feel the car and what she likes, and once that harmony syncs up, things get real smooth – like melted chocolate, and just as addicting! After our dance with the dragon we headed back to Pigeon Forge, stopping along the way to pick up our cards on our way back to Quaker Steak and Lube for the party hosted by SVT Performance. Once again, the parking lot was full, the tunes were playing and the reason we were all there was evident: All for the love of Mustangs!

Friday arrived and it was time for the show! We headed to the Sevierville Convention Center in neighboring Sevierville, Tennessee, and were greeted by hundreds of cars in the parking lot. Even with a cloudy start to the day, a good number of Mustangs had arrived. Inside the convention center a Mustang and Saleen from every year was on display – including my own pony, which was looking all fancy after a new coat of paint. Our Alaska adventure last year had done a number on my car and the number of rock chips were starting to look like a pattern that had been intentionally applied by a 3-year-old. While getting new paint is wonderful, sanding my car isn’t so much.

After an amazing four-day weekend enjoying all that Ponies in the Smokies had to offer, it was time to head home. I can't say enough about the great time we had at this new event. Not only was the Shine/Poker Run and subsequent show a blast, but just hanging out at the hotel easily became a great spot to sit and sip a beverage while enjoying the sights and sounds of all the Mustangs cruising up and down the strip.

The show organizers covered everything you could hope for and went above and beyond to creating an all-new event that I will look forward to every year. Special thanks go to Troy Raby for giving Team Mustang Girls a great spot in the center of all the action, and to all of the people who helped to add another great Mustang event to our world! Mark your calendar now for next year’s Ponies in the Smokies on March 21-24, 2018, and we will look for you there!

FORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS & VIDEO COURTESY TEAM MUSTANG GIRLS