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Bandit Run to begin this weekend downtown

Annual road trip re-enacts ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ beer haul by Erin DeBlanc | May 19, 2022 at 4:36 p.m. | Updated May 20, 2022 at 1:25 p.m.
Auto enthusiasts look at Burt Reynolds' Trans Am at the Four States Auto Museum on June 17, 2017. The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre brought several of his cars to show at the Bandit Run. (Gazette file photo by Joshua Boucher)

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Fans can celebrate the 45th anniversary of “Smokey and the Bandit” at the annual Bandit Run kickoff this weekend.

The Bandit Run lets lovers of the 1977 hit re-enact its premise: an illegal transport of beer from Texarkana to Atlanta, Georgia. Many participants drive vintage Pontiac Trans Ams like the one driven by Burt Reynolds’ character in the movie.

The run will begin with a Show ‘n’ Shine event noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Four States Auto Museum, 217 Laurel St. Classic cars will be on display, and attendees can hear live music, try their luck in a pair of raffles and eat grilled burgers and homemade desserts.

“This year’s theme will feature behind-the-scenes photos from the filming of ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ and hearing stories from people who watched it being filmed and from several very special celebrity guests who were in the movie,” according to the event’s website.

Founders Dave Hall of Restore a Muscle Car and David Hershey began the Bandit Run in 2007 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Smokey and the Bandit.” The mission of the Bandit Run is to get classic cars out of their garages and on display.

Restore a Muscle Car works with a group affiliated with the Bandit Run to create a new route each year. The idea is that more people will become involved, more cars will turn up for the event, and participants in the run will have more opportunities to see new parts of the country.

The run’s itinerary begins Saturday and ends a week later:

Saturday, May 21 — Texarkana, Arkansas — Early Bird cruise and dinner

Sunday, May 22 — Texarkana, Arkansas — Afternoon Show ‘n’ Shine downtown

Monday, May 23 — Texarkana to Vicksburg, Mississippi

Tuesday, May 24 — Vicksburg, Mississippi, to Destin, Florida

Wednesday, May 25 — Destin, Florida

Thursday, May 26 — Destin, Florida, to Helen, Georgia

Frida,y May 27 — Helen, Georgia — Show ‘n’ Shine with celebrity guests available to sign autographs

Saturday, May 28 — Helen, Georgia — Scheduled Kissing Bridge photo ops

(For more information, visit


‘Bandit’ and Texarkana still linked after 45 years (

Eastbound and Down: ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ re-creators visit mural at Texarkana restaurant (


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