Contributed by Russ Muller Photography
The 23rd annual Cops & Cars for Kids was held on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at the Oviedo Marketplace Mall, just east of Orlando. This year the event attracted a record number of vendors, but more importantly, it also had 205 registered show cars and 56 different law enforcement agencies participating. The host of the event, the Oviedo Optimist Club, said that the funds received from the event will be invested into the community youth, funding trips to conferences and covering start-up costs for the Junior Clubs at local schools.
This event is a great opportunity for local residents to meet and interact with local law enforcement agencies in a positive way. Several departments were doing recruiting on-site, so people had the opportunity to talk about careers in law enforcement if they were interested. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Department had a helicopter on display and the Maitland PD brought their assault vehicle. Seminole County did K-9 unit demonstrations. The Clermont PD and Orlando PD brought their breast cancer awareness police cars. Several departments, including the city of Sanford and the Seminole County Sheriff, brought vintage police cars that were on display. There was an Orlando PD horseback officer on site too.
The most interesting part of this event to me is, of course, the car show. There were new cars, classics, domestics, and imports. In addition to a strong showing of vintage VWs representing imports, there were several vintage MGs and even a classic right-hand drive Bentley in the show. Here are just a few examples of some of the great American iron that participated: Local racer Jim Cameron had his track-ready Viper on display, and my friend Scott from Horsepower Ranch had one of my “wish list” vehicles on hand, a Dodge Li’l Red Express truck. There was even a ’69 Pontiac Tempest Custom S in the show. That’s a rare car, as the Custom S was a one year only trim package. Speaking of rare, Bill Akers brought his pro-street Ford Fairmont. How many of those have you ever seen? Counting Bill’s, I’ve seen one. Several local car clubs were well represented, including the Hot Wheelz 2.0 Camaro Club, Classic Camaro of Central Florida, and the Mid Florida Mustang Club. This year I had an unexpected surprise, as a 1971 Monte Carlo that was the same Tropical Lime color as my 1971 Grand Prix entered the show and parked next to me. That doesn’t happen, ever…
DJ Don from Cruisin’ Orlando provided killer music throughout the day. There was a “you had to see it to believe it” moment (about 20 minutes, actually) where the Chick–Fil-A cows were dancing with the Texas Roadhouse girls and getting the spectators dancing too. Don’t believe it? Check out the video HERE on the Cruisin’ Orlando Facebook page. Don also brought his Li’l Digger monster truck, and kids were lined up for an hour to get the chance to climb inside.
Like every good judged show, there were trophies and lots of them. They awarded Top 30 choices, as well as best in show and some trophies for law enforcement agencies. But at the end of the day, the real winners were the locals who took advantage of a great opportunity to get to know some of the people who serve and protect them every day. Thanks to the Oviedo Optimist Club, Cruisin’ Orlando, and the 56 law enforcement agencies and 205 registered car show participants who once again made this an event that people look forward to every year. I’ll be there in 2021, hope to see you there.
More photos HERE.