Thousands of ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ license plates sold over last three years

Published 9:19 am Monday, March 9, 2020

An estimated 14,000 ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ license plates are believed to be currently registered at this time.

The license plate is the brainchild of John Kubenka, treasurer of the Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. It began circulating around early 2017.

“Another organization I was with actually started trying to come up with the plate, and they never could get the minimum number approved by the state, and when they failed, I thought this would be a good fit for the park,” he said.

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Kubenka said even after three years, seeing his brainchild out there is pretty cool.

“It’s always exciting to see one of those plates on another car around me or parked around me in a store parking lot,” he said.

Kubenka said the license plate appeals to people for a variety of reasons.

“There are a lot of historians out there and it is a flag of the American Revolution,” he said. “It is also a flag Marines have used since 1775. It was associated briefly with a tea party, though we are not taking political statements or anything like that, and some people just in general are kind of put out with the government trying to control their lives and it’s an individual statement.”

Leslie Brockley, secretary for Sycamore Shoals, says that both she and her husband have the license plate.

“I myself have one, my husband does,” she said. “It’s in the thousands of the ones that have been sold and it goes all across the state of Tennessee. People can buy those and part of the money goes back into a fund that they have set aside for projects for Friends of Sycamore Shoals.”

The Friends of Sycamore Shoals help aid in the park’s needs when the state budget goes so far. Kubenka said the group has paid for some of the maintenance and landscaping at the park, as well as renovations to the visitor center, cabins and even the Carter Mansion.

“They are good friends that help,” said Brockley. “They really help out. They are always concerned about what the park needs and having meetings to help the park.”

Those wishing to purchase the license plate may do so at the courthouse or anywhere that sells license plates.