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Roadsters Rock The Island • November 6-7, 2009
photos by Dennis Sammon, photos by Dennis Sammon and Shannon Simmons

The Roadsters are coming! The Roadsters are coming to rock the island! What once was Roadsters in Roctober, has now changed. First the date, then invariably the name because of rainy weather in October. There are so many events going on no matter what weekend in October, so I decided that November may have a better chance for sunny skies. Thus “Roadsters Rock the Island” was born, and held November 6-7, 2009. All indications are it was a great move. Trust me, after eight years of rocking October with Roadsters, I’ll miss it - But not the rain, right boys?

Scared? You bet. Name change, date change, and a new venue. Part of that new venue included a Friday night kick-off party, next day’s breakfast gathering and a beautiful cruise down Merritt Island’s scenic Tropical Trail, and you’ve got a great recipe for fun. In addition to all that fun this year we were also taking on the task of helping out The Zachary Project (, a foundation for Firefighters’ children.

For those folks who aren’t familiar with Merritt Island, it is stuck in between the mainland of Cocoa and famous Cocoa Beach - You know, home of Ron Jon’s Surf Shop. Merritt Island is a stretch of real estate that runs from Dragon Point, Indian Harbour Beach north all the way into the Kennedy Space Center.

Okay, now that you have your road map in front of you, let’s get going. Friday night, November 6th, was the official kick-off party at the spacious and accommodating Doubles Beachside, IHB. With the Lexington Hotel beside the party/show with plenty of parking, everyone was checking in and checking it all out. Ray Featherhoff, the owner of Doubles Beachside, graciously set up refreshments and subs for us in the Tiki bar courtyard. Between the live entertainment outside, food sources, pool tables and TV’s inside, you were set. Now that’s living! My lovely wife Donna was registering folks and selling T-shirts with the help from “Tsunami” Dave Z., with me being sure not to disturb the flow with my socializing, as I was staying clear. We had a great time seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and generally catching up on our project car’s progress. After everyone’s fill of Friday night excitement, we packed up and got ready for Saturday morning’s bright and early get-together.

Saturday we arrived at Grills Seafood Deck in Port Canaveral for Breakfast at 8:00am, and were able to pack most of the 35 cars in the designated area. After a few Kodak moments, it was time to chow down, and chow down we did (I suggest the breakfast burrito). Thanks again to Chris and the Grills crew for getting us filled to the brim and on the road again. The cruise was as good as advertised. I should know, I travel it partly almost daily, and it’s my favorite.

The weather was perfect, with sun, cool temps and roadsters! I’m diggin’ November already. I was leading the pack in my beautiful “borrowed” deuce roadster, owned by FLA Roadster member Joe Z. While poor Joe had to work that weekend, he was gracious enough to lend me his awesome Viper red, ZZ4 powered roadster. How lucky is that? The pack lined up and rolled south to the show site. We had a beautiful cruise where everyone stayed close enough to make a scene thru Merritt Island. Carlos and Greg in the yella tub brought up the rear in case of any lost sheep. We arrived at Mathers Bridge, where we had to stop for the drawbridge opening. We all enjoyed the scenery while checking out the sailboats passing thru, and hearing fish stories during the wait. It worked out because it got everyone joined up again and I took advantage of the picture opportunity while everyone was sitting still. The gates opened and we were just around the corner from Doubles, where about a dozen cars were already waiting. Thanks to Todd H. and Don F. for helping direct all of us thru traffic safely to roadster heaven.

What a great crowd! Roadsters, convertibles, a few touring tubs, a few rouge coupes, a killer open Auburn boat tail, and T-buckets. We actually had several more T-Buckets this year than previous shows. It was good to see everyone bringing them out. One of my favorites was Randy Nelson from Umatilla in his ’23 track T powered by a jazzed up Slant Six Mopar, dressed in a polished Offy valve cover, Clifford Research header and 3 side-drafts made this “T” scoot. Congrats also to Randy for winning the first to pre-register door prize. Numero uno.

Gary Moore rumbled in with his ’32 roadster “Double Nickel” gasser drag car, full of small block Chevy, bright orange paint and white open pipes blowing out the 112 octane. Sporting polished 12-spokes up front, with Radir wheels and slicks sticking the solid axle to the ground out back. The trick orange plexi-glass grill and white cockpit cover makes it for me. A couple of rat rod touring tubs showed up looking like twins parked next to each other. Gary and Cindy Sears by way of Orlando in their ’28, and Satellite Beach local Troy Taynton was just passing by in his ‘23, just in time for the show! Sunshine State Rodding News’ own Rich Martin drove up from south Florida to cover the roadster event, take part in the festivities, and drop off some River Ranch door prizes.

There were a few coupes that attended, as they were last minute hot rods to drive; Richard Gilliam didn’t quite finish his Hemi powered ’32 roadster in time, and long time roadster gathering attendee Mike Uzzo’s purple deuce roadster is still in construction in Delaware. Talk about a long distance relationship. Also Chuck Burns of “Rods & Restorations” is now finishing up his nostalgic flathead ’32 roadster just in time for the Grand National Roadster show in LA. I can’t wait for the unveiling of these three roadsters, as well as my tub!

Doubles Beachside were such great hosts, and manager Katie and crew were on top of any need that arouse. Between the TV’s, pool tables and great variety of food, we all had plenty of choices, along with drooling over each of the 50+ roadsters in attendance. No one was lost and wondering what to do, that’s for sure.

Door prizes galore were being handed out at 45 minute intervals by my good buddy DJ Jeff, which helped a lot to ease my stress level. I’m more of a socializer than a DJ (like you couldn’t tell). But I did have to do some speaking by recognizing (thanking) my awesome door prize sponsors for the event; High-Tech Hi-Fi (the Grand Prize Stereo), Advance Auto, Hot Rod Stuff, AutoZone, Sandpiper Sportswear, Car Quest, but mostly Doubles and the Lexington Hotel for their support.

Congratulations to Bill Burns for winning the Grand Prize JVC CD Stereo. Congratulations also to Dave Hartshorn, registration number 32, for making it to the show (finally) in his super nice, all steel, flathead powered deuce roadster. After the past few years of bad luck trying to make the show, he did it! The ol’ flattie didn’t let him down this year, and luckily we provided great weather for him too.

After all was said and done, it was time for the “Double Nickel” to blast the parking lot by way of a few holeshots for the crowd. Good show, great participants and an awesome clear day….finally. It has me excited for next year’s show already. Everyone had their fill of socializing, bench racing, BSing or whatever you call it, so it was now time to cruise again. Yes, it’s the bonus part of the show to cap off a great day by heading to Gary and Elisa Moore’s open house/dream garage at Hot Rod Stuff for refreshments and ice cream.

Hot Rod Stuff (321-698-2643) is your local So-Cal Speed Shop dealer, as well as Speedway Motors, DynaMat, Pete & Jakes, and several more. And if you time it right, you possibly could get an ice cream sundae free with every $100 order. Truly the treat is to check out the awesome collection of automobilia that grace the walls, floor, office, project cars, etc. Again the support from Gary and Elisa has been awesome throughout the years. Thanks guys!

Speaking of support, thanks to those who made the trek from all over the state, participated and donated towards The Zachary Project. We couldn’t have had such a great show without those crazy roadster owners, and help out such a great foundation as The Zachary Project. Until next time, be safe, be good and be road ready!  -Dennis Sammon