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Roadsters Rock The Island • November 5, 2010
story by Dennis Sammon, photos by Michael B. Kelly

It was that time of year again! Time to invade the Island... Merritt Island that is. But first, we had to kick this Roadsters Rock The Island party off, starting Friday night at the Lexington Hotel in Indian Harbour Beach, FL. That’s where everyone was arriving, checking in and socializing prior to the start of one of the premier “all” roadster shows around.

November 5th, 2010 came quick, but we were ready for the invasion of drop-top or topless roadsters. With the help from my lovely wife Donna, to my friends, participants and sponsors, especially Doubles Beachside and the Lexington Hotel, we couldn’t have put on such a great show without you.

The beauty of this show area is that the hotel and show site are connected, so nobody has to go far, in fact outside Doubles Tiki bar, in the courtyard, was a social area with Friday night refreshments, entertainment and food nearby for the folks. Other folks were cruising around looking at the gleaming metal and smooth fiberglass bodies in the hotel parking lot. After a quick Doubles dinner, Donna and I set up for pre-registration and check-in for the folks that made it over early and took advantage of the kick-off nights hotel deals. After a nice visit with all of our old friends and even some new ones, we were tired and ready for the long day to follow.

Not only was it the start of a great show, believe it or not, it was the debut of my tub! You know, the one I’ve been working on all these years. Trust me, it wasn’t easy making it after an oil pump failure two days before the show. A big thanks to Rick Kouns for his time and efforts to help me get it going, as well as Mike Chambliss for loaning me his spare oil pump in time. Everyone was looking for it Friday night and they immediately thought it was another year of a “no show tub”. After 5 years, I can see why they thought that. Ha! I fooled them, it was cranked up and ready for Saturday morning bright and early.

Waking up to 48 degrees was a hardy start to an awesome day. Clear skies, hot rods, no sweating, just plain beautiful. It gets better, the 41 cars that showed up were hungry for some of Grills famous breakfast. The Orlando T-bucket guys wheeled in last, led by Jim and Nan Hoffman, which were especially ready for a HOT breakfast. The Grills guys helped park us…more like jammed us in outside, as we took over the restaurant inside. Perfect!

After our fill, we were off to Tropical Trail delight. Courtney Thibault was my co-pilot for the morning, 16 year old Courtney is a gearhead chick that happens to be an honor student and the beautiful daughter of my good friend Dan. Courtney kept an eye on everyone behind us, while I kept an eye on my gauges. Everyone was cruising along, with no stragglers and grins you can see a mile away. As we made our way south it seems the roadster Gods were smiling upon us with the perfect weather and traffic patterns staying clear. We arrived at Doubles Beachside where Carlos, Dave and Jimbo helped parked us along with the awaiting 20+ other cars. That’s how you make a statement, cruising down the road with 40 of the coolest roadsters behind you.

The Black Dog Garage guys were waiting for us, Tom Pesula had brought a neat piece of lawn art he made - It was a 3 ft. tall metal stork for us to raffle off. It must have been a sight in the front seat with Tom on the road. It was all to help the Central Brevard Humane Society. Rich Martin (Sunshine State Rodding News) had supplied us with some great River Ranch give-aways to compliment the other great stuff we had, especially Hot Rod Stuff’s aluminum pieces for door prizes. Advanced Auto Parts supplied us with several gift cards, and of course our Grand Prize Stereo was from our super sponsor: Highway Hi-Fi in West Melbourne.

A big thanks to our MAJOR sponsor this year, Chuck Burns from Rods & Restorations out of Sanford, FL. Chuck is building one awesome, period correct, traditional ’32 roadster. I can’t wait till it hits the streets. It was nice for Chuck to support us this year, not an easy task in these tough times. So if you’re looking for a place “Where fine details matter” you have to go see Rods & Restorations (407-330-0748). Johnson Auto Interiors out of Longwood helped us out this year, as well as Precision Powder Coating of West Mebourne. Speaking of give-aways, there were some great additions to the goodie bags this year. Rock Auto sent in some flyers and a gift card, sent some stuff for us, as well as Meguiars Auto polish. This year marked the first year we had window stickers for everyone, so you knew who was driving what and where they came from for the day.

Socializing, music, bench racing, door prizes galore, raffle, you name it, we had it going on, and it all seemed to go so fast. Darlin’ Donna especially, was multi-tasking and keeping track of T-shirt sales and registration. Luckily the majority who pre-registered were taken care of the night before, so she was running smooth, just like I planned it.

Sales for the raffle tickets went well, and with the addition of a bullhorn this year made announcing a bit easier. Al “Wildman” Washburn was the first to pre-register for the show this year and our own “Hammering” Hank Langsenkamp was the winner of the Grand Prize stereo, which he so generously donated back for the cause. So we took bids for it and Jimmy Roland of Bats Hot Rods took it home after bidding $100. Way to go Jimmy. Thanks for your support and of course thanks to Hank for starting the ball rolling.

Everyone was very generous towards our benefit this year, the Central Brevard Humane Society who is always looking for help, and we’re so pleased we can help.

Next stop was of course the finale for the day, a cruise out to Gary and Elisa Moore’s house where the ultimate man cave…er, compound is. Gary’s Hot Rod Stuff’s open house welcomed us in for ice cream, a celebratory 10 year anniversary cake, refreshments and good times.

So there concludes another successful day in Roadsterland. What a great time, great turnout, and certainly for a great cause. The Central Brevard Humane Society, which reminds folks to adopt a pet - You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks to all my sponsors, the participants, my wife Donna and friends for helping out, making this another successful year. Be safe, run true and keep it rolling!   -Dennis Sammon • F L A Roadsters