Hundreds of Mustangs gather in Jefferson City for tenth Shelbyfest

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JEFFERSON CITY - Hundreds of Shelby Mustangs gathered in Jefferson City Thursday to mark the beginning of the tenth anniversary of Shelbyfest. Shelbyfest, a four-day gathering of Mustangs and other muscle cars from across the country and Canada, was scheduled to include events such as races, a charity cruise and a showcase.

Kyle Caraway founded Shelbyfest in 2006, and he said the expansion of the event was more than he could've imagined.

"The fact that we've become one of the premiere all-Mustang rallies in the United States, it's pretty emotional for me to describe it," Caraway said.  

Shelbyfest drew a crowd of 15,000 spectators in 2015 to see 660 cars from across the country. Caraway expected anywhere from 700 to 1,000 cars in 2016. He said the event, which started in Hermann, has grown every year since its start in 2006. He said he thinks it keeps growing because people want to get together to share their common interest in muscle cars.

"I think it's an opportunity to connect with friends," Caraway said. "It's an opportunity to drive the cars, to geek out together. We get to see product and vendors from the industry."

Shelbyfest originated after Caraway and six other men met to discuss their new 2007 Shelby Mustangs. The cars became a roadside attraction during their meeting, so they decided to meet again in Hermann, drawing 26 owners to Shelbyfest from five different states.

Jim Attebury traveled from Dallas to take part in Shelbyfest 2016, and he said the event was more than admiring the cars.

"It's more than Mustangs, it's Shelby enthusiasts," Attebury said. "It recognizes the history of Carroll Shelby and all the fabulous cars that he built and raced and continued to up until his death in 2012."

Shelbyfest was scheduled for May 5-7 this year. The Shelbyfest Showcase was scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at 8:30 a.m. at no cost to spectators. Caraway said the cars would be lined up along High Street, the Capitol Plaza Hotel and near the State Capitol.