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Hill climb brings car enthusiasts to county

Cars from all across North America took to “Bluegrass Hill” during the seventh Fiddlers & Fiddleheads Ford A Speed Technology (F.A.S.T.) Hill Climb held on Friday, April 24, in the Town of Unicoi.
“It’s been a few years since we hosted a hill climb,” said Mike McIntosh of Model A Macs in Unicoi. “F.A.S.T. is a nationwide club that hosts these hill climbs from California to the East Coast.”
Unicoi was the hot spot for different drivers, including participants from Canada to Texas, McIntosh said.
“We had a lot of people come from different states,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have it again and see how the crowd response is. Sometimes, people get tired of going to the same place year after year, but the reason we had it again is because these same people asked us to have it again, so evidently they like Unicoi and the hospitality of Unicoi County.
“It’s good to meet these people. Sometimes you just meet people at these kinds of events because they live so far away. This is the only place you get to see them, once or twice a year. The event is a fun time and is also a big boost to the local economy.”
The climb had multiple winners in each class.
King of the Hill and Queen of the Hill honors went to Ron Kelley, of Rosye City, Texas, and Christy Fontenoy of Ellenboro, N.C., in the Class SP-1 for their speedsters.
In the Class S-1: Don Rice, of Elizabethton, won the event with his 1930 Model A Ford Pickup and Amelia Osborne of Charlotte, N.C., won the Class S-3 in the 1932 Ford One Ton. Other winners were Larry Kyker (Jonesborough) in the Class ST-1 for his 1930 Tudor Sedan, Mike Bogart (from Ohio) with his 1930 Model A Ford coupe in the Class M-3, Kenneth Hedrick (Gray) with his speedster in the Class TSP-1 and George Vineyard of Tunnel Hill, Ga., won in the Class H.
While the hill climb brings a day of fun for the participants, the event also helps the community, according to Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch.
“The Model A hill climb traditionally skips around,” Lynch said. “They were here around three or four years ago and decided to come back and we were glad to have them. Not only does everyone have a good time, but this is a showcase for our county.
“Folks come here from Florida, Wisconsin, Texas … all these places, they participate in this event, but then go back home and tell everyone about it.
“It is great advertising, basically, for Unicoi County. Not only that, but while they’re here, they get rooms at the hotel, go to our restaurants and, this age group of people, love the antique shops. Everyone has a good time and everyone in business has a good time and that’s what it is all about.”