Ponies In The Smokies: Four Days Of Mustangs In The Mountains

The Pigeon Forge/Sevierville Tennessee area has been know for years for its rod runs and smaller shows dedicated to everything from vintage Chevys to minitrucks and everything in between. However, after last weekend, Sevier County might just become famous for its Mustang shows.

After nine months of planning, the first Ponies In The Smokies is in the books and it is the harbinger of ponies galloping through the mountains in the years to come. The show spanned over four days, beginning with two days of cruising and parties and wrapping up with two days of events at the beautiful Sevierville Convention Center.


(Editor’s Note: The author of this story is a co-owner of T5 Productions LLC, the company behind Ponies in the Smokies, so he obviously had a great time at the event.)

Running Shine

Registration opened early Wednesday morning at the convention center and participants wasted no time picking up their goodie bags and Shine Run cards. The Shine Run is a modified poker run that would take participants 100 miles or so to stops like Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum, Triple XXX Tennessee Moonshine, Thunder Road Distillery, and the legendary Tail Of The Dragon. The winning hand would receive the a trophy for “The Fastest Bootlegger In Sevier County,” as well as the top pick at the Shine Run prizes.


Another Shine Run stop was the Kick-Off Party at Hard Rock Cafe in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on Wednesday night. Over 100 participants came out to get their card stamped, take advantage of drink and food specials inside the restaurant and hang out late into the night with the great music and great cars spread throughout the parking lot.

Thursday brought another day for participants to complete their Shine Run cards before turning them in Thursday night at the Shine Run Party presented by SVTPerformance.com in the lower parking lot of Quaker Steak & Lube.


With DJs blasting tunes and adult beverages flowing at Hot Rods & Happy Hour, it was a great time in the unique, under-the-bridge parking lot down by the river. People brought Shine Cards with everything from full houses to high cards, most all of them expressing the same thing, they didn’t care what hand they had, they were just excited about the awesome roads they had just conquered in their ponies!

On the left, PITS Girls Amber & Christina pose with the unique PITS graffiti on the wall below the bridge. On the right, two Camaro owners are converted to our side!

Show Time

When the doors finally opened for business Friday at the Sevierville Convention Center, spectators were greeted with 108,000 square feet of Mustang heaven. The outer ring featured 30 -plus vendors including some of the biggest names in the Mustang industry. The inner horseshoe featured “The 54” — one Ford Mustang of every year from 1964 1/2 to 2017. The event did come just three cars short of the 54, as there were a few missing Mustang IIs (1973, 1974 and 1975) — although there was one on the grounds on Saturday!

The promoters vow to return with a 100-percent display —The 55 — at next year’s show.


Festivities kicked off Saturday morning as a Fox Mustang Cruise, presented by Southeastern Foxbodies, rolled into the lot after a short ride from beautiful Douglas Dam. Shortly after, over 350 Mustangs and Fords filled the lot for Saturday’s All-Ford Cruise-In. All while, the inside festivities carried over from the day before.

Sound like fun? Hate you missed out? No worries, early bird registration is already open for 2018, which is set for March 21-24 2018. You can learn more at the official site right here.


On the back side of the hors shoe, The Saleen Club Of America was out in full force with its Four Decades Of Saleen display, which featured 25 of the 33 years of Saleens produced! This impressive collection featured several limited-production examples!

There was a taste of everything Saleen at this event!


Jay Ronca brought out one of our favorite cars of the event. This one of one 2007 S281 Extreme painted in the stunning Liquid Mercury hue.

One custom and on stock GT350 greeted spectators as they walked into the convention center.


Friday featured an outdoor car show. Despite a morning shower brought out about 200 of the nicest Mustangs in the area to compete for a large selection of unique awards that were to be handed out on Saturday.

On Top: Participants check the car corral and the swap meet for a bargain! On Bottom Left: Stephani Walker from Chromolusion Photography performs a photo shoot with PITS girl Kasey and and Courtney Barber, of Team Mustang Girls, first-gen Pony. On Bottom Right: A crowd gathers as Rob at Powercurve puts another Mustang up on the rollers to see just how much power the Pony has.

Cale Parrott's Legend Lime beauty serves dual purpose as advertising the Croftgate detailing product as well as Muscle Car Ministries!


The Elite Five — the top five finalists for Best of Show — received an inside parking spot on Saturday.

Yeah, that's a wedding dress, but no, it's not a black Trans Am! It is a black Mustang though, Rick & Susan Ball chose the event to host their very unique and super cool Mustang Wedding!

Yeah, that’s a wedding dress, but no, it’s not a black Trans Am! It is a black Mustang. Rick & Susan Ball chose PITS to host their unique and super-cool Mustang wedding!

"ZELDAA," owned by Mark & Candy Lund of Wisconsin, took home the Best Of Show Award in the outside car show (right), while the pristine, original 1996 Cobra, owned by John & Nancy Doherty of North Carolina, took home the Best Of Show for the inside car show at PITS.

Photo gallery


About the author

Jeff Southard

Growing up with a dad who loved Corvettes, I was destined to be a gearhead from day one. Beyond that, my dad owned an auto parts business for over 25 years. There, I learned the automotive basics as a child, then began my professional career working there after high school. From Corvettes and Superbirds to Hemis and Cobra Jets, my dad has owned a little of everything over the years, so I've had my chance to get some quality seat time behind the wheel of some rare, unique, and sometimes, just odd automobiles. I have owned my share of toys, including over 20 Mustangs. I guess to make a long story short, if you look up "car crazy" you will probably find my photo listed pretty close to it!
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