When movie star Burt Reynolds died in September at age 82, the mustachioed former stuntman left behind a body of work that reportedly inspired many fans to seek careers as truck drivers. A prime example was the 1977 movie "Smokey and the Bandit," which featured Reynolds and co-star Sally Field in a tale about a trucker and his buddy who were hired to smuggle an 18-wheeler full of Coors beer from Texas to Georgia, with inept police in hot pursuit.
Now, 41 years after the film's release, truckers still remember Reynolds as an actor who brought humor and glamour to a blue-collar profession. On Sept. 29, the industry group Truckers.com (formerly known as the "Small Business in Transportation Coalition") held a memorial celebration—free to commercial driver's license (CDL) holders and their families—that included a country music concert.
The centerpiece of the event was a truck convoy that duplicated the movie's fictional dash from Texarkana, Texas, to Atlanta, complete with replicas of the film's Pontiac Trans-Am sports car and '70s-era state police cruisers. The group reached its Georgia destination on Sept. 30, with one significant change from the film—all drivers stayed in compliance with federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations as required in this age of electronic logging devices (ELDs), the event's organizers said.