Gator Boys Car Show and Picnic

Jim Wilson (in driver’s seat) explaining the finer points of TR6 carburetion to a group of awestruck Gator Boys and staff.

March 26 saw the annual Gator Boys Picnic and Car Show. Like last year, the event was held at the activity center of the Bethel Mennonite Church, just east of Sarasota. Our LBC’s were joined by some larger examples of automotive collectibles brought by our frequent collaborators, the local Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). Second term SBCC President Bruce Skaggs reported 22 cars, 38 members and 32 Gator Boys and school staff in attendance. `

The day’s schedule included a car show, in which the boys pick their top 2 favorites, a picnic lunch provided by the school, an auto design contest for the boys, musical entertainment by the school, and then the awards ceremony. 

The Gator Wilderness Camp in a faith-based year around educational program established in 2009 for boys 11-15. Some of the boys come from a difficult home life and some have run afoul of the law. The isolated camp school is located on 250 acres in Charlotte County, in southwest Florida. It’s seen as an alternative to placement in a government social services program, to include the juvenile detention system. Counselors lead the campers in learning to form healthy relationships, structure, problem solving, planning, and evaluating. They seek to instill positive changes that last for a lifetime. The costs are covered by donations; there is no cost to the Florida taxpayer. 

Back to the event. Following a thorough inspection of the cars on display, the boys submitted their votes for tallying. Then the camp counselors laid out a great picnic serving table featuring pulled pork sandwiches, which they had prepared using the turbocharged grill they towed with them. (Photos below.)

After lunch, each boy was given the opportunity to design their own car. Judges selected the winning drawings and the club awarded trophies, by age group, to the designers. As can be seen from the several photos below, the winners were very proud of their accomplishments. 

This year’s winners of the Boys’ Choice trophies were: First Place, Bob Zuhone and his 1954/56? Chrysler Imperial. Second was awarded to Bernie Evans for his 1991 Lotus Elan.

A shout out to Walt Mainberger for organizing this extremely successful event!

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