Cruisers retrace Presley family journey

Published 6:26 am Monday, August 18, 2008

TUPELO (AP) — On the 31st anniversary of his death, Elvis shared the spotlight with cars as the 2nd Annual Rags to Riches tour rolled up and down old Highway 78.

Despite steady rain, more than 120 cars participated in Saturday’s cruise, which commemorates the ride Elvis and his family took to Memphis, Tenn., when they moved from Tupelo.

Dozens of antique cars took part in the cruise, which Tupelo Auto Museum curator Allen McDaniel said was designed to promote his attraction and Tupelo.

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“This tour symbolizes that ride Elvis took from our town to Memphis,” said McDaniel. “He didn’t know that ride would lead to riches, but it did so that’s why we call this the Rags to Riches tour. It’s always good to get people coming to Tupelo and this is another way to do that.”

Presley, who died Aug. 16, 1977, was 13 when his family left Tupelo and moved to Memphis.

The tour started at the Olive Branch City Hall at 9:30 a.m. and traveled to Tupelo along the old highway. The group also made a stop in Holly Springs to check out an antique car collection.

John Richardson shined up his 1957 Chevrolet and joined the crew.

“I am an Elvis fan, but I’m a bigger car fan,” said Richardson. “So this was a great event for me. It’s good when you get with a group of people who share the same interests as you. I don’t have any problems finding things to talk about with this group.”

Richardson and the others got a chance to view the classic cars in the Tupelo Automobile Museum before heading to Holly Springs.

Even though she said she wasn’t a car enthusiast, Michelle House said she still enjoyed the history in the museum.

“It’s amazing to see where technology came from,” said House. “We take for granted things like air conditioning because every car comes with it now, but back then there was no such thing. It’s just amazing to see.”