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4th Annual Bay Life Church Car Show • May 23, 2009

story, photos and captions by John Michael

With the rainy season upon us, and the fact that it was Saturday, May 23rd, and that it was the Memorial Day weekend, it was no surprise that it rained twice on my way to the 4th Annual Bay Life Church Car Show. What was a surprise is that, despite the dark storm clouds looming over the horizon to the west, the rain had cleared upon my arrival to the Bay Life Church campus, and the very large gathering of show cars as well as spectators. The entire staff of volunteers worked hard to get everyone parked, registered, and goody bags distributed. Around 10:00am, the day’s events officially got under way to honor God and to pay tribute to our veterans and military heroes for the Memorial Day weekend. The Durant High School ROTC Drill Team presented the colors, and Bay Life Church member Lori Lakus sang Our National Anthem.

After viewing the parking lot area filled with vendor’s displays as well as show vehicles, many satisfied their hunger and thirst with the variety of refreshments, including Chick-Fil-A meals, grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and BBQ items from Jaymers Bar-B-Q, as well as soft drinks. Tables were set up for eating as well as relaxing, and many sought the shade under the roof of the main building, and others that required relief from the humidity went inside the main entrance of the church, to enjoy some air conditioning as well as browse over the exhibits set up. The stage area was also set up, with members of the Bay Life Church sharing their musical talents, and in addition to announcing the event activities as well as door prize numbers throughout the day, DJ Kevin Fuller played our favorite oldies and cruising tunes. Activities were also planned for the little cruisers, with a “Children’s Classic Car Coloring Contest”, and a special “Children’s Favorite” trophy was awarded, with the kids picking out their favorite ride.

As the dark clouds moved closer, the judges worked efficiently in an attempt to evaluate the vehicles before the rains hit. But, the dark skies finally delivered monsoon style heavy rains, and everyone took shelter under the roof or inside the main building, and after a brief rain delay, the show continued as the rest of the door prizes were drawn. Many participants went back out to wipe down their rides until the awards ceremony took place. By early afternoon, everyone reassembled under the roof for the awards announcements as well as the 50/50 drawing, which paid out over $400 to the winner. Due to the threat of severe weather, the tradition of the show winners driving up to receive their award and then parking their vehicles in front of the main building for pictures was suspended as more dark storm clouds raced towards our area. After the trophies were given out, the specialty awards were distributed, and included the Kid’s Choice, and for the second year in a row, the Club Participation Trophy was earned by the 350-Z Club, which had the most members with their newer Nissan 350-Z cars present, and beat out several groups of late-model Mustangs and Corvettes for this award. In honor of the late Marie D’Angelo, the Best of Show award was also given out concluding the events of the 4th Annual Bay Life Church Car Show.

The Bay Life Church Car Show is an annual affair, open to all makes, models and years of show vehicles. The event was previously held on the Saturday during the Memorial Day weekend, but due to rain and heat the last two years they have now shifted if to February 27th for 2010, so update your calendar now. The proceeds from the show goes to help the Bay Life Church Youth Missions with their various activities and summer trips. If you’re interested in attending, their location is 1017 Kingsway Road in Brandon, Florida. Information for next year’s show can be obtained by calling 813-661-8397, by visiting, or by looking at the listing in the Coming Attractions section of Mike Kelly’s Cruise News.CN