by Larry Card
In 2007 Hunter Rigsby got his first Mustang, a black 2006 V6. He joined the Mustang Forums to get information and help with his new ride, but he was always looking for something more. There was a local club in Hickory that was enticing, but they didn’t really travel outside of the area and he really wanted something that involved more people and more of the Mustang community.
Looking around the forums he found, in the general “Regional Chapters” section, a thread with a solid amount of interest in a North Carolina Chapter and one with a few posts about a South Carolina Chapter as well, but it seemed that no one really knew what to do to get things rolling in the right direction. Having been on the forum for a while he had made a few connections with moderators and admins, so he decided to use that to get things going. In March of 2011 the Carolina Chapter of the Mustang Forums went live. “I’m not sure how I stumbled across it,” Hunter says, “but I tend to tell people that I’m the “president by default,” because of that series of events.”
In reality it was more than that. Hunter and core group of members have put in a lot of work networking with other clubs and promoting the Carolina chapter, as well as a good deal of time getting to and organizing events, which has been integral to the growth and success of the group.
As with many organization, the first meeting, scheduled for June 25, 2011, was sparsely attended, but was nonetheless enjoyed by the 5 attendees (3 cars). It didn’t take long for pictures and stories from the event to make their way back to the forum and spark more interest in the group.
From those humble beginnings the chapter began to grow, and before too long we were having meet-ups and driving events across the state. In October 2011 we made our first trip to Fontana Dam to drive the Tail of the Dragon, a winding 2 lane highway crossing the NC/TN border near Deals Gap, NC. For sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts this road needs no introduction, and it was everything we hoped it would be. Twenty six cars and two motorcycles showed up to drive the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway, ending with dinner in Robbinsville. Afterwards everyone went their separate ways, all having had a great time and looking forward to the next trip.
In January 2012 MF member Alan Toney started organizing the next event and the group decided on a date of April 28. Before the month was out there were already enough cars signed up to exceed the October run. At the end of February MF member Jeff Kresge registered us on the Tail of the Dragon event calendar as Mustangs on the Mountain, and we now had a name for our shot at the Dragon.
By this time the event was starting to grow legs, so Alan suggested we do something good with it. In March the decision was made to turn our run into a charity event, and Alan registered us with the Wounded Warrior Project. I started a website but it took the efforts of Fort Bragg soldier and unofficial MOTM Webmaster John Wyatt to put it all together. Now we had a name, a purpose and a place to keep everyone informed.
On the morning of April 28 the wheels were set in motion. From as far away as Canada the cars gathered at Fontana Dam, just off of NC Highway 28 (known to motorcycle and car enthusiasts as Moonshiner 28). A total of 52 cars came to play on the mountain, and both forums and clubs were well represented. Forum members from Mustang Forums (of course), United Stangs, S197forum, Mustang Week, Horsepower Junkies, All Ford Mustangs and Stangnet were present, as well as club cars from EliteStangs, Roush Owners and Enthusiasts, Stangs-R-Us, Ponies of the Piedmont and Heart of Carolina Mustang Club.
Video of the Mustangs on the Mountain Event. Footage and Editing by John Wyatt.
The event included a raffle with tons of great prizes from a multitude of incredible sponsors (full list below). The raffle was both online and in-person, so the contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project came from the Mustang community all around the world. It was a great day and a good cause, and in the end $4082.35 was raised for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We’ve definitely rewritten what it means to be a “Regional Chapter” on the forum,” says chapter president Hunter Rigsby. “I’ve seen multiple posts from outsiders saying that “we have something special going on in the Carolinas,” and it is a really rewarding thing to see our efforts coming to fruition.”
“We have many more events planned, including a Car Show and Drag Day to benefit St. Judes Childrens Hospital. It is really incredible to see what began as a tiny group of individuals who shared a similar passion for Mustangs and a bit of dedication blossom into what it is today; a group approaching 100 registered forum usernames (encompassing well over 100 actual members),” says Rigsby. “Seeing everyone having such a great time, both on the forum and at events all over the Carolinas makes all the hard work seem miniscule in comparison to the results. And when those good times can also serve to benefit incredible causes such as the Wounded Warrior Project, St. Judes, or countless other worthy charitable organizations . . . well, it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?”
For more information on the Carolina Regional Chapter, please feel free to contact chapter president Hunter Rigsby (forum username: HT) or visit their section of the forum.
Sponsor List from the Event:
American Muscle, Croftgate USA, Freedom Racing Tool and Die, Late Model Restoration, Blow-By Racing, AutoGeek, StangMods, Detailer’s Domain, Mustang Depot, Killboy, Fun Ford Weekend, CJ Pony Parts, Discount Tire and Snap-On. Crossroads Ford of Morgantown, Keith Hawthorn Ford in Belmont, First Place Ford of Lenoir, Summit Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, K&N Filters, JLT Performance and Leith Auto Group of Raleigh.