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'Dukes of Hazzard' fans flock to Hagerstown Speedway

June 22, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Dukes of Hazzard Replica Cars and Classic and Antique Cars were on display at the Hagerstown Speedway's Dukes Family Festival held Saturday.
By Yvette May / Staff Photographer

Randy Shepard said his wife, their four daughters and their dog packed into the family vehicle late last week to make the eight-hour trek from Buffalo, N.Y., to Hagerstown.

But the trip wasn’t made for a wedding or family reunion.

The Shepards were among several hundred people who visited Hagerstown Speedway on Saturday to attend the Duke Family Festival, an event that featured autograph signings by five of the cast members of the former television series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

“I have a big poster I’ve been trying to get signed by everybody,” the 37-year-old Shepard said as he stood under a blistering sun. “I have everybody except for Tom Wopat.”

Shepard said he owns a poster that has been signed by all of the cast members except for Wopat, who played Luke Duke in the pop culture phenomenon that ran from 1979 to 1985.

The cast members who attended Saturday’s event were Catherine Bach (Daisy), James Best (Rosco), Rick Hurst (Cletus), Ben Jones (Cooter) and Sonny Shroyer (Enos).

Most of the stars stayed in their trailers during the early part of the afternoon, while Jones’ band, Cooter’s Garage Band, played covers of songs by the Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry and other acts.

Jones touted “The Dukes of Hazzard” from the stage as one of America’s best television shows.

“The good guys always win and nobody ever gets hurt,” he said.

The speedway grounds were filled with monster trucks, Confederate flags and replicas of the Duke cousins’ car, known as The General Lee.

Hagerstown’s House of Pain Wrestling Federation set up a ring and provided several hours of matches, which included a Royal Rumble at the end with about 15 wrestlers. Gustin Uberstud, who dressed like Daisy Duke, won the title.

Dereck Carter of Stephenson, Va., said he was a big fan of “The Dukes of Hazzard” when he was growing up.

“It’s pretty cool to see the stars,” he said. “It’s free entertainment. I’ve always been a big fan.”

Hagerstown resident Kitty Garza, 53, said she travels all over the country to attend Duke Family Festivals.

“I still watch the show today,” said Garza, who attended Saturday’s event with her sister, three cousins and nephew’s wife. “We’re big country fans.”

She said she was disappointed that Wopat and John Schneider, who played Bo Duke, didn’t attend the autograph signing.

But Garza seemed happy that five of the show’s stars came to Washington County.

“They’re all nice people when you meet them face to face,” she said.

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