Bubba Cruz 4

Owners of ‘rat rods,’ classic vehicles pay tribute to Ardis

Cars of all shapes and sizes took in the parade.

News Staff Writer

Owners of dozens of “rat rods,” classic cars and classic trucks gathered last Friday (July 16) for Bubba Cruz 4, the annual celebration of the life of Ewing Darrell “Bubba” Ardis, who passed away just hours before the first of the events.
Thomas Ardis, Bubba Ardis’s brother, led the eye-catching convoy in the rust-spotted 1955 Chevy he and friends rehabilitated prior to the 2018 event for what was planned as Bubba’s “last ride.”
About two dozen vehicles (later joined by dozens more) left Lottie Road Kustoms and made a pit stop around noon at Creek Travel Plaza before heading into Atmore. They paraded through downtown before converging on David’s Catfish House for lunch.
The drivers and their entourages came from across Alabama and from several neighboring states.
“It’s hard to say right now just how many folks we have,” Thomas Ardis said during the brief break. “We’ve got a pile of people still coming in. We’ve got folks from Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.”
The two-day celebration included live music, a car show and a burnout contest. It was held in the field adjacent to the house in which Bubba Ardis breathed his last.
Stricken with terminal cancer, the car lover — well-known and well thought of by automotive enthusiasts, especially those who custom-build their vehicles from spare and junk parts — died peacefully in his sleep on July 21, 2018.
Thomas Ardis said the memorial event would continue as long as there was even one participant who wanted to pay tribute to his brother.
“We’re going to keep doing it long as we can, even if it comes down to where it’s just me,” the event organizer said.
See more photos on the Atmore News Facebook page.