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Despite cold, Silver Magic Car and Bike Show draws crowd

By Staff | Feb 15, 2010

Automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts bundled up against the cold weather and wind Saturday for the annual Silver Magic Car and Bike Show.
The event, held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Mariner High School, featured a wide mix of cars, trucks and motorcycles ranging from classics to newer models, choppers and custom jobs. A major fund-raiser for the school’s Silver Magic Band Program, the event cost $5 to attend. According to organizers,
typically 2,000 attend the event, with 250 to 300 registered for the show.
Carolyn Gates of Cape Coral stopped by the show for the first time Saturday with family and friends. A resident for nearly five years, she called her son a car enthusiast and said the event gave them a chance to get out of the house.
“My son has a 1995 Ford Mustang that he worked all summer for,” Gates said. “He saved all his money and bought that.”
The vehicles on display Saturday reminded Gates of her youth and high school, she said. A 1973 VW Camper brought back “a lot of memories” for her, and some of her favorites at the show included the old Model T’s, a 1957 Chevy and the Thunderbirds.
“What’s the best thing is that when you look at them, it takes you back to good times,” Gates said.
She added that the event benefits the school band, which is always a plus.
“And it’s nice it goes for a good cause and is local,” Gates said. “It goes to the Cape.”
Robert “Sandy” Clark, a seasonal resident who splits his time between North Fort Myers and Rhode Island, also attended the show for the first time Saturday. A self-proclaimed car enthusiast, he said he attends about a dozen shows each year.
“The show’s done well and I go to a lot of shows around the country,” Clark said. “From the East Coast to the West Coast and in between.”
His favorite vehicles of the day were a black and yellow, 1932 Ford Flathead and a copper-colored, 1955 Ford truck converted from a Ranger. Clark said the $5 admission was “well worth it” because of the wide range of entries, and he liked how the vehicles were lined up so visitors could easily look
them over.
“The organization is good,” he said. “Though I’d like to see the same class of cars in the same area.”
Seasonal residents Kevin and Sharon Cairns also praised how the event was organized Saturday.
“I like the set up,” Sharon Cairns said. “You’re not walking all over the place.”
Splitting their time between the Cape and Boston, the couple has been to other car shows, but the Mariner show was a first for them. Kevin Cairns, the owner of a 1955 Chevy, said he was impressed with the entries on display. A car enthusiast, he attends approximately six shows per year.
“I’m just looking around,” Cairns said of why he attended.
Registration for the show cost $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event. Luis Ramirez, a senior at Island Coast High School, called the price a deal. Ramirez entered his 1989 Lincoln Town Car in the show, something he has never done before despite attending various car shows with his friends.
“It’s not really a show car, per say, but it¹s a really nice car,” he said.
Ramirez, who received the Lincoln from his grandfather in July, said he decided to enter the car because people have commented on it at other shows. When Ramirez heard about the Mariner car show, he signed up in advance and prepared the Lincoln with a thorough wash and wax.
Now having entered a show, Ramirez said he is interested in entering others in the future.
“They’re great people. Everybody here is into cars,” he said. “And they appreciate these works of art, because that¹s what they are.”
Another work of art on display Saturday was a vehicle entered by Pine Island resident Ron Koontz. Built similar to a 1927 Ford Roadster, the car is made of Honduras mahogany. The vehicle took three years to build at about 20 hours per week and has been on the road since 2001 — the car runs like any other.
“I’ve always been into hotrods and I’ve built other ones,” Koontz said, adding that at one point in his life, he became interested in wooden boat building, which led to the creation of the wood car. ³I just kind of combined the two hobbies.”
He has entered the car in the Mariner show about five times, he said. Last year, the car won best paint job ­ a play on the fact that so many people think it is painted to look like wood and not really made of wood. Though he usually does not enter it in competitions because the vehicle does not
really fit into a category, Koontz still likes putting it out on display for the public.
“It’s just fun to share with people,” he said.
Near the end of the event, 116 trophies were awarded to the winning vehicles and motorcycles.
A silent auction featured gifts donated by the community, including jewelry, theme park passes and gift certificates, and vendors at the show offered information about their products and services. One perk of the show is the appearance of Tampa Bay running back Earnest Graham, a graduate of Mariner High School. One set of the show trophies are based on Graham’s favorite picks of the day.
Mariner High School is located at 701 Chiquita Blvd. N. For more information on the Silver Magic Band Program, visit: www.silvermagicband.org.