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Friday, September 9, 2011

From the September, 2011 issue of Mustang Monthly: ShelbyFest shuts down the streets of Hermann, Missouri, for a weekend of Shelby fun

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By Donald Farr
Photography by Donald Farr
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Last year, I made my first visit to ShelbyFest, held for the past five years in Hermann, Missouri. I quickly understood that it would not be my last trip when I called home from my Wine Valley Inn room to tell my wife about the historic German village filled with antique shops and wineries. Typically, Pam doesn't issue orders, but this time she said, "You're going back next year and taking me!"

So I followed instructions and this year once again arranged to fly into Kansas City, where Pam and I spent the first evening with Jeff and Julie Yergovich at R&A Motorsports in nearby Lees Summit. Like last year, Jeff offered the use of a late-model Mustang for the weekend, this time one of R&A's Twister Specials, which certainly made the cross-state drive to Hermann more pleasurable as opposed to the company-mandated compact rental car. Once in Hermann, Pam pretty much disappeared into the antique stores. I only heard from her when she needed cash.

ShelbyFest is a totally unique Ford event, celebrating everything Shelby but also including anything and everything with a Ford oval. Originally founded by Kyle Caraway as a get-together for local owners of newer Shelbys, the event has grown to nearly 400 cars on the Saturday of the show in downtown Hermann.

I can see why. While the city of Hermann shuts down several streets for the Saturday show, there is a lot more to see and do in the area, something that definitely appeals to those of us who have been attending Mustang shows for over three decades. I was surprised to learn that eastern Missouri is well-known for its vineyards. Winery tours are a popular ShelbyFest activity, perhaps because of the wine tasting at the end. This year, ShelbyFest also included a ziplining tour through the Missouri forest thanks to ShelbyFest sponsor Eco Zipline Tours, located just a few miles north of Hermann. Driving a fast Shelby is one thing, but zipping through the air on a cable is a totally different kind of thrill. Our group had so much fun that Caraway hopes to add ziplining to next year's official ShelbyFest schedule.

Like last year, the 2011 ShelbyFest, held over the April 29-31 weekend, included a Friday night concert, Saturday evening banquet, and Sunday morning pancake breakfast. This year, the event also incorporated a ride-along autocross hosted by Gateway Performance. Actually, it was more of a drifting exhibition as Gateway's Jason Childers took passengers along for a slip-sliding ride in one of Gateway's Mustang race cars.

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