WHEATLAND – Tom Wopat, better known to many as Luke Duke from the 1980s show Dukes of Hazzard will visit Wheatland as part of the second annual Blue Mountain Car Show and Safety Fair.
The event begins Friday and runs through Sunday with many events for the entire family. The highlight of the weekend will take place on Saturday when Wopat and a replica of the famed General Lee Dodge Charger will be on hand as part of the car show.
The event is used for a fundraiser for Project SAFE, Inc. The money raised for the event will enable them to continue to provide assistance and support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other crimes through prevention, education and social change.
Even with COVID-19, the event raised more than $5,000 to the organization during the inaugural event in 2020.
This year, Wopat’s appearance is expected to draw many people from far and wide.
“I’ll show up, take photos, kiss babies. It’s a service to the Dukes of Hazzard fans,” Wopat said in a phone interview on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve not done an event like this in the Rockies in – I can’t remember the last time – at least 20, 25 years.”
Fans will be able to come meet Wopat, take photos with he and the General Lee, get autographs and buy merchandise.
The nearly 70-year-old star said social distancing is going to be encouraged, but he said it isn’t going to stop him from engaging with his fans.
“I’ve had my shots, but it’s just to be careful because there are some people who haven’t,” Wopat said. “I make sure to engage with folks, and anyone who wants can get a picture with me and the car.”
Wopat got his start in acting on Broadway in a show called I Love my Wife in 1977 prior to making a name for himself as Luke Duke.
He has starred in 15 Broadway shows, most recently in a show in 2015 called The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson.
“I thought I’d be there for 25, 30 years,” Wopat said. “As it turns out, I was there for on and off.”
Then it was off to Covington, Georgia to produce Dukes of Hazzard in 1979.
“The thing about the Dukes of Hazzard, it was like the Andy Griffith Show. It became iconic. It was nothing anyone really planned. It just became a big part of people’s lives,” Wopat said. “Here we are 40 years later, and it still lives. We’ll have people in their 80s and 90s who remember the show, and we’ll have kids there who are six or eight years old who are third or fourth generation fans who really enjoy it.”
Even with his age, Wopat is staying busy in 2021.
His trip to Wheatland is part of a string of personal appearances he is making. In the coming weeks, he’ll make stops in Indiana, as well as Wisconsin.
He is also working on a new music album scheduled to come out next year and recently finished up two sequels to the movie County Line, which was originally released five years ago for the Inspiration Network.
“I just last weekend, finished two more films in that sequence. I play a hero,” Wopat said. “It’s much like Walking Tall. It’s family entertainment because it’s for the Inspiration Network. There’s no blood. There’s no cussing. There’s no sex.”
In addition to that, this Christmas, he will be filming a DVD at Cooter’s Place in Nashville, Tennessee, which is a combination museum and shop for Dukes of Hazzard fans.
Wopat is scheduled for his appearance from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Wheatland.
If fans are lucky, he might even sing a song or two over the course of the day.
“I’m looking forward to it. It sounds like a beautiful part of the county, and it’s supposed to be a gorgeous day,” Wopat said. “We’ll have people come from miles and miles away to come see us.”