Contributed by Tara Bush
Where would you find sunny, blue skies and 85-degree temps in the middle of winter…South Florida, of course. On January 19 I headed to Deerfield Beach to the Quiet Waters Park for the 9th annual YATC Cool Wheels Car Show. I’d heard rumors but I wanted to see for myself. It was well worth the 3 ½ hour trip in a 53-year-old classic, but there was much more than just a car show in this beautiful park.
It was well organized from the get-go. Clubs & special interest on one side, individual show cars on the other. Mature shade trees are dotted throughout. The central focal point was the giant red carpet in front of a raised covered stage. Trophies and silent auction items covered table after table. This place was so big they needed 3 DJs and a band to fill with sound. Rockin Rich started things off early with a sound guy by his side and another on remote. Followed by an 8-piece band called Solid Brass. At one point the Broward Sheriffs showed up, no one was in trouble, but they wanted to show off their helicopter and their K9 unit. And a great show wouldn’t be complete without giveaways…even a brand-new Harley Davidson 2020 Street Glide Special from Bruce Rossmeyer’s would be raffled off before the day is out.
Let’s start from the beginning as to why this show exists and how it got so large in just a few short years. The mission of the Youth Automotive Training Center (YATC) is to train and educate at-risk youth in basic automotive repair skills, academic remediation, job readiness, and life management skills. The goal of this program is to prepare young adults who are at a disadvantage in their lives to become self-sufficient, productive, law-abiding citizens. Founded in 1984 by Jim Moran, the business tycoon behind the Southeast Toyota Distributors, this show has amassed a huge number of local supporters.
So how do you feed so many people with so many cars…food trucks. Not two or three, how about 13. Unlike many shows where they are scattered throughout, these were all lined up in a convenient row.
Now about the facilities. Quiet Waters Park is a 431 acre which includes cable water-skiing, marina with boat rentals, bike trails, and a skate and water park. If you wanted to be the first to arrive for the best shady spots; tent rentals, campsites, and even teepees are available. This park offers a great weekend getaway with a bonus car show. Let’s not forget a very important feature, at least for us gals…inside bathrooms.
The judges have an extremely tough job finding the best 100 vehicles, then an even harder job choosing the top 3 for the cash awards. Each year the grand show winner’s car or truck will be used on all the advertising materials, including the event shirts, for the following year. Steven Smith took 3rd place and $250 cash with his 1959 twin-turbo VW Convertible Beetle.
2nd place and $500 cash went to Jose Lugo with an unbelievable custom rat rod truck with a matching motorcycle in the bed. But the grand prize was Gregory Dohring in a Rad Rides by Troy 1957 Ford DelRio custom wagon. He takes home a trophy, $1000, plus his car splashed across the advertising next year. The final result; 1017 show cars, 6000 spectators and a ton of cash for YATC. I’ve never stayed in a teepee before, I’d better book early for next year’s show.