The 4th Annual All-Firebird Lawn Show, held on the grounds of Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York, achieved all goals set for the July 8, 2006, event. Clear blue skies brought out 109 F-Body Pontiacs from nine U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, and all body styles and generations were represented.
It was obvious that show participants came for more than trophies and beautiful surroundings. Firebird enthusiasts grinned like kids in a candy store and mingled freely with Special Olympics athletes, coaches, and other participants in a park setting with 80-degree temperatures.
This '86 Trans Am custom by...
This '86 Trans Am custom by Eddie Barra was the winner of the '06 Special Olympics Athletes' Choice Award.
The Fourth-Gen contingent...
The Fourth-Gen contingent was out in force.
Adding to the festive mood were trophy and sponsor offerings, commemorative t-shirts, raffle prizes, hot dogs from the grill, and beverages served up by volunteers from the Special Olympics coaching staff and members of Firebird Nation of North America.
Show founders Tom and Sandy Smith arrived at 6:30 a.m. to set up, with help from Special Olympics Saratoga coaches Margo and Mike Bagneschi, Susan Banker, Chris Radz, Bill Finnegin, and Sandy Byron. Firebird Nation of North America club members Eddie Barra, Keith Fuerst, Dave and Lisa Lord, and Ron Pratt joined the all-volunteer setup crew.
Special Olympics Saratoga athletes hit the ground running at 8 a.m. and were greeted by a continuous rumble of Firebirds, Formulas, and Trans Ams. There was everything from restored classics to wild modifieds and some rarities on the show field. Several clubs were represented as well, including Charter Oaks Firebirds from Connecticut, Firebirds Forever Car Club from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and Trans Am Country.
Attendees and spectators purchased full-color event T-shirts produced by Northwind Graphics of Malta. Ralph Mangino Jr. from Mangino Pontiac sponsored full-color dash plaques to registered show participants and a Dealers' Choice trophy. Alan Edstrom, director of special events at Saratoga Auto Museum, presented the Saratoga Auto Museum Choice trophy. Coach and cofounder Sandra Smith presented the Coaches' Choice trophy, while athletes Brian Smith, Todd Byron, Eddie O'Hearn, and Rick Dunn chose the Favorite 25 Firebirds for award ribbons, as well as the Athletes' Choice trophy recipient.
Athlete D.J. Nolan picked winning raffle tickets and provided music. Special Olympics coach Don Nolan made all the announcements. Firebird Nation of North America hosted the gathering and conducted a membership drive.
The '06 Best of Show winner,...
The '06 Best of Show winner, this '68 Firebird 400 convertible, Is owned by Joe Carey.
Second-Gen Birds were not...
Second-Gen Birds were not to be outdone and made their appearance in hardtop and T-top models.
One of the more interesting...
One of the more interesting tags present was "ZIPNBYU." The 400 emblem on the rear lid indicates this isn't an idle boast.
In the end, the event was declared a huge success. Attendance increased by 18 percent over 2005 and broke the magic century mark. Special Olympics Saratoga athletes were the big winners. Donations and sales increased by 30 percent, resulting in more than $4,100 raised for their athletic and competition programs.
For 2007, Friday, July 6 will see a 5 p.m. Firebird rendezvous followed by a formal cruise with a police escort to a local barbecue restaurant. The 5th Annual All-Firebird Lawn Show is scheduled for Saturday, July 7, 2007, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., with a rain date scheduled for Sunday, July 8, 2007. The show will be held at the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York. All funds raised will benefit Special Olympics Saratoga.
For more information about the Firebird Nation of North America, search the directory on Web site www.clubs.hemmings.com, e-mail email@example.com, or contact Tom and Sandy Smith at (518) 587-8215. More pictures from the '06 show are available at community.webshots.com/user/ts_in_ss_ny.