Look out for a few Burt Reynolds look-alikes roaming the streets of Payson in some crazy, tricked out cars on April 16. The second annual Cannonball Phoenix Spree is coming to Payson, and bringing entertainment along with it.
The charity run is based loosely on the 1981 film “Cannonball Run,” starring Burt Reynolds, only all the proceeds from this event go to charity.
The epic game rally consists of a four-part competition where participants enjoy an interactive journey with their cars, said Stephanie Finnegan, founder and tour director of the Cannonball Spree.
The Cannonball Phoenix Spree kicks off April 15 at the Fort McDowell Radisson. Spectators can check out participating vehicles, which include muscle, exotic, junkers and specialty cars like the Batmobile, KITT, the talking car from the TV series “Knight Rider,” and the sheriff’s car from the “Dukes of Hazard.”
The event includes a costume contest for the best Burt Reynolds moustache.
“Come and dance with your friends where you can jam out to the sounds of the band Higher Power, or take a chance buying raffle tickets to win amazing prizes,” said Finnegan.
All proceeds from the event go to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit group that supports U.S. troops and their families.
On April 15, the rally starts at 7 a.m. at the Fort McDowell Radisson Hotel. On April 16, participants travel to Payson and are expected to arrive in town around 10 a.m. From Payson, “Cannon-ballers” head to Sedona and then Flagstaff.
Last year, participants searched for hidden Cannonball cash and looked for clues to trivia questions in Payson.
Once again, the Wagon Wheel Territory will be transformed into Cannonball turf.
Payson residents are encouraged to come out, bring lawn chairs and sit alongside the road to view the cast of characters and cars competing.
Vendors will be out selling food and fare, so hit the pavement with us, so to speak, Finnegan said.
“I am really excited about working with Operation Homefront and giving back to them where they remember the fallen, honor those who serve and sacrifice and teach children the value of freedom,” said Finnegan.
“One of my partners in the event is married to an active duty Marine and he’s currently on his sixth deployment.”
Finnegan said a drive to help the troops inspired the idea for Cannonball.
“I really wanted to put together a fun-spirited event where all participants and cars would be invited,” she said.
Last year, 200 cars entered the spree and more than 200 cars are signed up for this year’s event.