Are you a reckless teenager? Or are you simply retired and enjoying the good life?
For Bruce Rudd and his friends, the answer would be the latter. About a year and a half ago, Rudd started a casual club for his convertible-loving friends. Most of them are retired and live in Blue Water Estates, a subdivision north of Cadiz on Lake Barkley. About every month when the weather is right, Rudd plans a cruise to various destinations, which are usually no more than 90 minutes away from Trigg County. The beauty of the Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois country roads offer a nearly unlimited supply of sites to see and places to eat.
“Why visit Europe when there are so many places to see right here in Western Kentucky?” Rudd said.
A few months before Rudd started the club, which is known as the Topless Cruisers, one of his best friends, Jerry Builtman, had a bad traffic accident when he collided with a deer and lost the use of his left arm. Not long after the accident, Rudd bought a yellow 1993 Corvette, a 40th anniversary edition. He had an idea to start the club as way to cheer Builtman up and give him and his wife, Karen, something fun to do after the painful experience. The Builtmans now try to come down from their home in Evansville, Ind. for every cruise. They also own a house at Blue Water Estates.
Even though the Topless Cruisers have no meetings, no officers and no charter, one would never know it by looking at the group. Before Rudd retired, he taught graphic design at a high school in Henderson and he still enjoys messing around with graphics. The members all have sweatshirts embroidered with a logo Rudd designed. Luckily, his interest in graphic art goes hand in hand with his wife, Tish’s interests in quilting and sewing. After Bruce designed the logo, Tish was able to enter it into her computerized embroidery machine, creating a perfectly professional logo every time. Enough people from around the neighborhood have gotten involved now that Tish has had to create more than a dozen shirts.
Bruce plans every trip out almost perfectly. He creates an itinerary – with a logo at the top, of course – with the list of the places they’ll be headed that day. He’ll usually go on the cruise himself to test it out before the other six or seven cars follow him on the adventure. If there are any tourist spots along the way or any good restaurants, he’ll check those out.
“I take time to keep things interesting and fresh for the members,” he said.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.