Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2006
Dawn Welch and Senator Harry Coates wtih cut-out of Sally
in front of Rock Cafe.
Senator Coates Calls New Animated Film ‘Cars’ a Windfall
State Sen. Harry
Coates says the new Disney and Pixar film “Cars”
could be a real boon for tourism in Oklahoma. That’s because
one of the main characters in the film is based on a constituent
in his district and her Route 66 Rock Café in Stroud.
“I’ve known Dawn Welch for many years and she’s
a huge promoter for Stroud, Route 66 and our entire state,”
said Coates, R-Seminole. “It’s a windfall for all of
Oklahoma that Disney and Pixar decided to make a movie about Route
When the film makers were researching Route 66, they visited Welch’s
restaurant, ordered one of everything on the menu and asked her
to sit and talk to them about her life, the café and Route
66. She then became the inspiration for Sally, the blue Porsche.
Welch said she and Sally obviously have a lot in common.
“The fact that I get so excited about trying to promote my
town, the fact that I’m really enthusiastic about Route 66
and the history of the actual road and me trying to explain to people
why it’s important to keep the road alive,” Welch said,
were all common traits she shared with the character of Sally.
Welch said that business in her café is up by about 40 percent
because of the movie. Coates says the state needs to take advantage
of all interest the movie is generating in Route 66.
“We have an opportunity here to really highlight Oklahoma,
bring people to Oklahoma, provide attractions for tourists not only
from the U.S. but from around the world that want to come and see
Route 66, see some of the places that are depicted in the movie,
particularly see and meet Sally, a.k.a. Dawn Welch, in Stroud at
the Rock Café and get a taste of what Route 66 is like,”
Coates said. “Those tourist dollars are dollars that stay
Welch said while she has traditionally geared her marketing toward
Baby Boomers who have nostalgic interest in Route 66, “Cars”
has opened up an entire new market—children who’ve seen
the movie and want to come to her restaurant.
Coates predicted the movie could boost the local economy in ways
“I think the movie is about slowing down, by reminding us
of a less hectic way of life. Perhaps some of those tourists who
visit us because of the film will realize they can still have that
kind of lifestyle here, and maybe even decide to make Oklahoma their
In the meantime, Welch is signing autographs in the café,
happy that business is up and happy that because of the movie, children
are learning something about the history of Route 66 and America.
For more information, contact:
Senator Coates' Office: (405) 521-5547