More than 47 years ago a small but dedicated group gathered for a picnic. They were there to celebrate a shared love of Shelby Mustangs and all things Ford. All in attendance enjoyed the gathering so much they decided to make it an annual celebration. Over the years it has grown into a multi-day spectacle that offers a little bit of everything for fans of Blue Oval machines.
Our event is all that you want to make of it – road course, race, cruise, show, network or sit back and enjoy… — Justin Hobbs, Mid America Ford & Shelby Nationals
“Many enduring friendships and business relationships have been made at Mid America and many more will surely follow in the years to come. There is no doubt that it is the people who make the event,” event founder Jim Wicks reflected on the event’s history. “The cars are very special but, without the enthusiastic owners who want to share their good times with other enthusiasts, these cars would gather dust in garages all over the country.”
From June 16-20, 2021 the Mid America Ford & Shelby Nationals took over the Marriott Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as its home base. The hotel served as the site of indoor displays, the launching point for an extensive Poker Run, and the closing Cars & Coffee on Father’s Day Sunday morning. The event kicked off with a cruise-in at the city’s Blue Dome District, which is bustling with dining, entertainment and shopping options. It received an injection of horsepower as nearly 600 vehicles filled the streets on Thursday evening.
For the next two days participants flocked to Hallet Motor Racing Circuit for open-track action. Whether enthusiasts were participating or just watching, there was plenty to enjoy at the storied road course. There was a great variety of vintage and modern hardware lapping the track, which was accented by a contingent of Ford’s latest machinery. Both the Mustang Mach-E and Mach 1 kicked off the festivities as the pace cars for the vintage race on Friday morning.
“…They have been sponsoring and coming to our event for so many years now definitely making them a part of our Mid America family,” Mid America Ford & Shelby Nationals Event Director Justin Hobbs said. “Their continued support and feedback continue to help us shape the event this year and to set the stage for years to come.”
“We were a part of the Ocean to Ocean Reimagined cross-country tour of the Mach-E. However, the tour came not only with the Mach-E, but also came with a 1909 Model T and a retro Airstream-style trailer,” Hobbs added. “The fact that Ford chose Mid America to represent this tour, with so many events to choose from, is what continues to excite me about our event.”
On Saturday the action kicked off in the morning with the aforementioned Poker Run, which featured five card stops along the legendary Route 66. Later in the day the action moved from the twisties to the 1,320 as participants made drag-strip hits at Tulsa Raceway Park. Much like the road course action, the drag strip featured a little of everything — from Transit vans to classic Mustangs.
“Saturday we were at Tulsa Raceway Park for a drag race event and had a little over 200 cars out there for the day and everyone had fun and of course the weather cooperated and just made it awesome day,” Wicks said.
Closing out the festivities back at the host hotel was a Cars & Coffee event dominated by Ford vehicles, though a few Brand X machines snuck in. On hand were huge displays by Ford and Shelby, as well as a huge turnout of Mustangs and other Fords. As many cars as were there, which numbered over 400, the throngs of onlookers were even more prevalent, as the closing event coincided with Father’s Day.
“For me, the secret has been our moto: Fords, Families & Fun. We have continued to push this and over the past three years have really strived to put the family back in our event and encourage fun for everyone,” Hobbs said. “We’ve been giving out Hot Wheels every day at the venues and promote not only the show, but activities around Tulsa for the entire family. Also, our continued support of our longtime sponsors. They continue to bring new and exciting vehicles each and every year, which keeps enthusiasts coming back for a chance to see or ride in them. The sponsors are truly open to feedback for current vehicles and the next iteration.”
If the Mid America Ford & Shelby Nationals sounds like a good time to you, it will return to Tulsa next June for its 48th installment, so mark your calendars.
“We are continuing to review feedback from participants, volunteers and sponsors year after year to craft tweaks to make the next year the best year yet,” Hobbs teased. “Our event is all that you want to make of it – road course, race, cruise, show, network or sit back and enjoy, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t continue to morph.”