The 23rd Annual Sarasota Highland Games and Celtic Festival was held on February 4 at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. The weather forecast was for good top-down conditions but the cool early morning temperature had everyone bundling up for the drive in. By midafternoon, however, the strong Florida sun had raised the mercury into the high 70’s. With a yellow Lotus that came in later, we had another good turnout of 18 cars this year. There was a great cross section of LBCs, including new member Walt Rinker’s ’81 Delorean, Alex Huppe’s Rover and Morgans from the 50’s, 60’s and 90’s, not to mention many of our TR3’s.
A crowd of several thousand enjoyed the music, dancing, sheep dog demonstration and athletics. Like past years, there were a large number of food and drink concessions. Walking from the dance competition to the athletic fields, one was accompanied by the smell of freshly-made fish and chips wafting on the gentle breeze. In addition, there were vendors for all sorts of Scottish and Celtic-themed clothing and other paraphernalia.
The Games judges awarded club members the following ribbons: 1st Place – Jim Wilson (1973 TR6), 2nd Place – Gene Cohen (1960 Jaguar Mk IX) and 3rd Place – Fred Cook (1957 TR3).
[Thanks to Jim Wilson for supplying the alternative facts for this post.]
Ready for the first chukker.
The SBCC was invited by the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club to join them as featured guests at the Jan. 15th match of the Sarasota Polo Club. Most of our contingent met prior to the event in order to caravan as a group to the polo field. Bob Szymanski was anointed caravan honcho. Our invitation was for the exclusive Members’ Pavilion on the south side of the field. However, Bob, apparently in the spirit of egalitarianism, detoured the group via the north side so that the general public and other rabble could also view our cars.
The outing included a potluck lunch and, with over 200 members and guests bringing dishes to share, the supply of varied and delectable food was never-ending. The screened pavilion was at mid-field and the weather was perfect for either sitting in or outside to watch the exciting and fast moving match. We had about 15 cars there and they were a hit, drawing many admirers. All had a great time, watching the thundering action of the horses and their mallet-swinging riders from up close, replacing the divots on the field at halftime, and refilling their glasses. Jan Hasler, event coordinator for both groups, and the LWRWC’s 2016 Woman of the Year, was one of the selectees to hand out the trophies and prizes to the polo players at the conclusion of the match. Everyone clearly enjoyed the day’s festivities.
Those of us who are non-aficionados of polo also learned some interesting facts:
1. Polo originated in Persia in the 6th century BC.
2. The field at 300 x 160 yards is the largest playing field of any competitive sport, with the possible exception of pumpkin chunking.
3. Polo “ponies” are actually full size thoroughbred horses.
4. There are six chukkers in a polo match, each lasting 7½ minutes. The eight players typically change horses every chukker.
5. The horses are in the $30-50 thousand dollar range. When you add in the cost of room and board for each horse, one can see it is an expensive sport, sort of like collecting classic cars, but substituting oats for petroleum products.
[Thanks to Jan Hasler for help with this posting.]
Best British Car
The Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association held its Fourth Annual Fathers & Fenders Car Show on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19, 2016, at Five Points Park. We had a good turnout with about 15 British motorcars along with 25 SBCC members. The temperature was in the high eighties but a lower humidity level than recently experienced made for a pleasant day downtown, also producing a large turnout of the local populace.
As regular participants in this event, the organizers gave us primo parking spaces underneath the shady live oak trees across from the Selby Library. A car show music trailer was parked close to our location. (Perhaps a few decibels too close.) Throughout the event, the DJ spun vintage music through what seemed like equally vintage speakers. Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable day.
The organizers handed out an assortment of awards throughout the early afternoon. The Merchant Association jury awarded the trophy for the Best British Car to SBCC member Gene McOmber for his 1990 Morgan Plus 8. Congratulations, Gene!
Sunday, May 15 brought us a bright and sunny day, albeit a touch hot, but that didn’t stop a group of members participation in this years Poker Run. The event was organized by Ellen and Rick Bucchino the fortunate (or unfortunate winners) from last year depending on how you look at it.
This year’s Poker Run was executed with a new format to eliminate the need for having folks sit and wait for cars to find them to pick a card. The format was themed and directed the members to locate a specific historic landmark or point of interest. A tally sheet plus two “option cards” were chosen by each driving team. Once the member found the landmark, they needed to record the answer to a specific question about the landmark–and also record the last two digits of their odometer when viewing the landmark. There were 5 destinations and then members collected the 5 two-digit combinations. Rick had a computer-generated score sheet that associated a playing card with each two digit combination from 00 to 99. The winner would be based on first the correct number of answers, combined with the best poker hand using the 7 total cards.
Once the members reached their final destination, the Beef O’ Brady’s on Lakewood Ranch Blvd., the tally sheets were collected by Ellen Bucchino and using the special “decoder” sheet, each team was scored.
The winners were as follows:
- First Runner Up with 5 correct questions and a pair of 8’s was Nancy and Jack Hartley
- Second Runner Up with 5 correct questions and a pair of 5’s was Robert Howard
- Third Runner Up with 4 correct answers and a full house was Anita and Bernie Wood
- And our grand prize winner with 5 correct questions and 3 of a kind was Kathleen and Fred Cook!
Rick presented some “limited edition” SBCC clocks to the runners up and of course, the grand prize of the “SBCC Traveling Cup” was awarded to Kathleen and Fred Cook. We are sure they will “cook up” a fun event in 2017!
A minor mishap occurred where Gene and Betsy’s car developed a fuel delivery issue and they missed the refreshments and awards ceremony. However, they did get going after a short time and eventually completed the run. Thanks to all that participated and also to Robert Howard and Ellen Bucchino or taking some photos of the event.
SBCC Member Robert Howard
The 22nd Annual Sarasota Highland Games and Celtic Festival was held on Jan 30 at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. The day began coolly, but the temperature mirrored the steadily ascending Florida sun and quickly reached the mid-70’s. We had a good turnout with 15 diverse examples of British motor cars spanning 80 years of manufacturing, from Bob Faria’s 1934 Austin 7 to Robert Watts’ 2014 Jaguar F-Type.
A crowd estimated to be 10,000 enjoyed pipe bands, dance competitions, sheep dog demonstrations, highland athletics (the caber, sheaf and Scottish hammer tosses, the haggis kick and the pasties twirl), music, food and drink.
Our display location situated between the clan tents and the band assembly area afforded dual exposure to large numbers of festival attendees and to the daylong cacophony of bagpipe tuning. One club member liked the latter to the sound of a cat caught in the fan belt, only of greater duration.
The Games organizing committee recognized the following with Highland Games awards: Mike Browne (1996 Rover MINI Cabriolet) – Blue Rosette, Ron McLeod (1970 Marcos GT) – Red Ribbon and Bob Faria (1934 Austin 7 Type 65) – White Ribbon.