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21st Annual Lakeland Auto & Bike Show • February 8-10, 2008

story, photos and captions by John Michael

The Senior Orphans of Polk County held their 21st Annual Lakeland Auto & Bike Show with Swap Meet & Flea Market the weekend of February 8-10, 2008. The three-day event took place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the major change made for this year’s event was the new location, leaving the Lakeland USA Speedway for the much larger Lakeland Linder Airport. The show is still hosted by the Rods & Rides of Polk County car club, and all of the money raised from this event goes to the Senior Orphans of Polk County.

The show was open to all 2007 and older cars, trucks and motorcycles, and upon entering the airport Illusion Photo took a picture of all the show vehicles that entered, and the picture could later be turned into a portrait of your vehicle with one of several unique background scenes, turning your ride into a work of art. Upon registration, each participant received a “You Are A Class Winner For Supporting Senior Orphans” participation plaque and goody bag.

The vehicles were separated into two districts, with motorcycles in one area, and cars and trucks in the other. The swap meet area covered a lot of ground, and the vendors’ tents had any and everything car, truck and motorcycle related, plus services as well as parts and memorabilia for sale. A car corral was also filled with vehicles for sale, and several vehicles changed owners over the weekend. Portable ATM’s and a huge food court were also located throughout the event area, in case anyone got hungry or found that bargain they were hunting for. 50/50 drawings were held, and over $10,000 worth of door prizes were given out throughout both days.

On Saturday, The Dukes gave three performances at 10:00am, 12:00 noon and 2:00pm, and DJ “Mustang Mike” provided the rest of the entertainment throughout the weekend. Helicopter and bi-plane rides were made available for a fee as well, and for an additional cost many toured the museum located on the grounds of Lakeland Linder Airport.

Despite the cool temperatures, high humidity, and overcast skies filled with threatening clouds, Saturday’s turnout was the largest of the three days, as around 250 vehicles entered the car and truck show area. The motorcycle side was also filled with quality show bikes as well. Around three in the afternoon the awards were announced, and included The Founder’s Award and several Sponsors’ Picks. Sunday was breezy and cooler, but with mostly sunny skies and about half as many cars in attendance, which is normal for a two or three day show. Around two on Sunday afternoon the activities of the weekend wrapped up with the awards being given out.

The Senior Orphans of Polk County would like to thank the Rods & Rides Car Club of Polk County, the many show sponsors, as well as everyone who attended the 21st Annual Lakeland Auto & Bike Show with Swap Meet. For those unfamiliar with the senior orphans, they are senior citizens who usually live alone, are forgotten by family and friends, and survive on as little as $500 per month, and because they have no help from family/friends, have to do without food, medicine, clothing and other items so they can pay for their housing and utilities costs. The Senior Orphans of Polk County help more than 3,000 seniors each year throughout Polk County, and no deductions for expenses or salaries are taken out of the money generated from this show, so it all goes to the seniors. For more information on the Senior Orphans of Polk County visit their web site at For more info on next year’s event, visit the or web sites, or check for the listing in the Coming Attractions section of Mike Kelly’s Cruise News as the event draws closer. CN