Highway of youth: Cruisers relive youth and help community

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015

This 1937 Packard street rod belongs to a member of the Boulevard Cruisers of Picayune.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

This 1937 Packard street rod belongs to a member of the Boulevard Cruisers of Picayune.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Fifteen-years ago, three Picayune residents with a passion for hot rods formed a club, the Boulevard Cruisers of Picayune.
Since its inception, the club’s membership has grown to about 100 from Pearl River County and beyond, Boulevard Cruisers President Mickey Penton said.
The Cruisers’ original members included Penton, club secretary and treasurer Judy Davis and club co-vice-president Jim Kennedy. The club’s second vice-president is Joe Spiers.
Fifteen-years ago, Penton said most car lovers attended events outside the county.
“We decided we needed something like that here in Pearl River County,” Penton said. “During our high school days, we used to cruise Goodyear Boulevard, hence the name Boulevard Cruisers. We used to ride up and down the Boulevard, drag race, see who was cruising, ride with girlfriends and later meet up at the Colonel Dixie for hamburgers. Everyone back then did that. We grew up riding in hot rods and muscle cars.”
Every fourth Saturday of the month, the Cruisers host a “Cruise In” night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the parking lot next to Burger King, Penton said. The public is welcome to come enjoy the cars and oldies music, he said.
The Cruisers also participate in Picayune’s yearly Street Festivals and other events the city or Picayune Main Street invites them to help with, Penton said. The final Cruise In of the year is held in downtown Picayune on West Canal Street.
One of the club’s major community projects is the Angel Tree project, which is sponsored by First Baptist Church of Carriere each year, Penton said.
“Our members go shopping each year for the children and it’s a lot of fun,” Penton said. “We also help various people in the community. One year, we helped a sick woman pay her electric bill. We do whatever we can to help the community.”
Along with local events, the Cruisers travel to classic car events in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast’s yearly event Cruisin’ the Coast, Penton said.
Penton said the group welcomes members who own all types of vehicles. Penton said many members own Corvettes, Camaros, Challengers, street rods and 1956 and 1957 Chevrolets.
Penton said he owns eight classic cars and his favorite is a 1966 Mustang.
“The Cruisers are a group of guys and gals who like to meet up and have fun with old cars,” Penton said. “It brings back a lot of teenage memories. We are still kids, just older. We still like to do burnouts and open headers on the Boulevard. We haven’t grown up, just got older in a fun way.”
Anyone interested in membership may contact a club member or attend a “Cruise In” event and pick up an application, Penton said. At the next meeting, members review and vote on submissions.
Learn more about the Boulevard Cruisers through Facebook at Boulevard Cruisers of Picayune, MS and visit the club’s website at www.boulevardcruisers.com.

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