HOMETOWN HERO: Joe Pruitt

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- After 16 years of ownership, Joe Pruitt is selling National Corvette Homecoming in Bowling Green.

"We've done everything we know to do to take it where it is now," says Pruitt, who owns NCH with his wife, Vera.

"We bought it in december of '01. Our first show was in july '02," he explains.

The event started with its original owners in the '80s.

"Corvette Homecoming is probably -- if not the longest running event we have [in Bowling Green], it's close to it," says Vicki Fitch, Executive Director of the Bowling Green Area Visitors and Convention Bureau.

But now, after years of ownership himself, and recent health concerns with both him and his wife, Pruitt says it's time for him to sell the show.

"It has been one of the most difficult situations that I've ever had myself in," he says.

Pruitt wrote a letter, addressed to "All Our Loyal Participants" of NCH, explaining that he would be stepping down.

"I didn't really lock the decision in until the letter was written. Put it away and came back to it and as soon as i turned it loose and sent it to the person who was going to send it out. Just like, you turned a light blub on and no regrets, no regrets," he says.

Hundreds of cars roll into Bowling Green for the event each Summer.

"Over the years I wouldn't have any idea how many millions of dollars this show has brought in to the community," says Pruitt.

"He (Pruitt) brings in lots of people and they spend money in our hotels and our attractions and our shows and our shops and our restaurants," adds Fitch.

Pruitt says, "It just makes me feel good to know that we have put the show where it is. If it had continued to go down, it would've been gone. Bowling Green would've missed something."

Through his ownership he's gained memories and friendships along the way.

"It's something that you love," says Pruitt, talking about NCH, "It's never made a lot of money, but it has give us the opportunity to go a lot of places, meet a lot of fine folks, and just travel the country."

Fitch says Pruitt is always full of enthausiam and good ideas.

"He's not just a promoter of the car," she says, "But the promoter of our whole community."

National Corvette Homecoming is still for sale, and if a buyer doesn't take it over, NCH may end in Bowling Green. But Pruitt is trying to stop that from being the case.

"It pains me to know that there's a possibility that it might not keep on going. But then, I'm hoping it will. Somewhere there's somebody that wants it that can take it to another level. Got more money than me, got more connections," says Pruitt.

For his dedication, years of hard work, and commitment to community, we honor Joe Pruitt as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.



 
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