Mini Coopers Converge on the Bluff
Photo: MINIs parked while their owners refuel on Hayden’s Pink Lemonade and BBQ Sandwiches
Poplar Bluff, Mo. – The MINI TAKES THE STATES tour for Mini Cooper owners passed through Poplar Bluff on a last-minute detour between Memphis and St. Louis on Monday, August 4. When the Mini Coopers pulled out of Memphis earlier that day, over 450 vehicles were on the tour which began in San Francisco on July 26 and makes a jagged-route across the states to Boston by August 9.
John Clark, owner of Hayden’s BBQ on Maud Street, got word late last week that Hayden’s ranking on TripAdvisor.com caused the tour to select Hayden’s for their lunchtime stop. The local favorite rolled out the pink carpet and put up tents and tables for their converging guests. Hayden’s employees handed out large cups of their world-famous hand-squeezed pink lemonade to everyone. Clark had made sure there was enough pork BBQ on hand to make 600 sandwiches plus plenty of burgers and fries to make his guests happy.
Each of the MINIs appear unique even when parked alongside 449 other MINIs. The owners can choose from different body styles, custom paint, detailing and aftermarket body kits to reflect their own personality.
David Duncan, Vice President of MINI of the Americas, arrived with his family in their family-owned Mini Cooper and was greeted by Clark. Duncan’s son, 16-year-old Eric Duncan, said that he and his mother joined the tour the previous night by flying into Memphis. The junior from New Jersey said, “I’m enjoying the ride. It’s been fun so far.”
Eric got his driver’s license this year, but when asked when he was going to get behind the wheel today, Eric looked toward his parents for a response and said, “Ask them.”
With an apprehensive smile, David Duncan said, “Yeah, he’ll be driving from here.” Reflecting on all the issues getting in and out of the tight parking lot of Hayden’s, dad quickly said that he’d probably not hand Eric the keys until they got out of town.
When Eric was asked if he’d be cruising with a friend on a future MINI tour, he gave a resounding, “Yes.” His mother, on the other hand, laughed and said, “Maybe when he’s in college…no, his second year of college.”
Poplar Bluff’s new MINI friends were quick to declare what locals have known for over 65 years: Their pink lemonade is delicious and their BBQ is award-worthy.