A New World Record!

By Mitch Traphagen (mitch@observernews.net)

SUN CITY CENTER - Dark, ominous clouds threatened but did not damper the mood at the Sun City Center Holiday Kick Off Golf Cart Parade. It was a new world record with 306 carts - far exceeding last year’s record of 191, which was listed as a Guiness World Record.

The parade of golf carts was often doubled up on the route yet carts were still streaming in as the entertainment portion of the event began. The agenda was quickly rearranged to ensure that all carts were in before the awards were announced.

WFLA news anchor Bob Hite was the master of ceremonies and he was joined by members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, including Sheriff Cal Henderson and Chief Deputy David Gee, as well as elected officials from throughout the area. Parade organizers and the Community Foundation of Greater Sun City Center provided funding for elementary students from Ruskin, Cypress Creek and Wimauma to attend the event. Ruskin Elementary Students even rode in the parade promoting their words of the month.

At the end of the parade, the students were provided with a free lunch from the McDonald’s of Ruskin and Sun City Center.

In all, prizes for the best decorated carts totalled $5,250. More than $3,000 was donated to local charities and organizations.

In just its fifth year, the parade has quickly become the main event of the year in Sun City Center. The bar, however, was clearly raised this year. There could be little doubt that many businesses, organizations and individuals spent an incredible number of hours preparing for the parade. An airplane (with a real, working propeller), Noah’s Ark, a whole squadron of Ohio State Alums and the ten carts from the Red Hat Society among many others were something that simply had to be seen first hand. And hundreds of people lined the parade route to do just that.

Just days after last year’s parade, organizer Jim Cooper had predicted that the 2003 parade would have more then 300 carts. His prediction proved to be incredibly accurate. The question now is, of course, what will they do to top this one?



Mitch Traphagen Photos

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