25th Annual Pasco Bug Jam

Ten years of work paid off for Gary and Donna Crull at this year’s 25th annual Pasco Bug Jam. The Jacksonville, FL, couple’s 1966 21-window ragtop bus took top honors, knocking out nearly 540 other entries for Best of Show on Nov. 10 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City, FL.“It was a difficult decision for the judges,” said Carol Jeffares Hedman, Bug Jam coordinator. “There were so many very fine entries this year, many Type IIs, including another entered by the Crulls as their “Pair of Sixes.” A full-custom, 1966 Type II double-cab pick-up, was also in contention.”

Others judged the best were Raul Arrese, of Miami, FL, who won Best Paint and Body, as well as Best Interior, with his 1959 ragtop Bug; Mark Pinkstaff, of Belleview, FL, Best Interior; and Lashaun Daniels, of Jacksonville, Best Display. Daniels’ display included a traveling casino in her 1974 Type II, complimenting this year’s Bug Jam theme: “Bug Vegas.”

In keeping with the theme an “Elvis” tribute show was featured, along with “Elvis” presiding over a ceremony where a couple dozen couples renewed their wedding vows at the Little White Chapel at Bug Vegas. A record-breaking crowd of more than 11,500 came from throughout the country and even some foreign countries to show their love for “the people’s car.” Stephen and Wendi Robbins, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, drove more than 1,400 miles in their 1972 VW camper bus to attend and won a special award for driving the furthest to participate in the show.

Other special awards went to the Volks Family Car Club for most club members participating in the show and to Jason Stratton of Orlando, FL, for the Judges’ Pick. Stratton’s 1966 bus was selected because he had taken a derelict heap, the judges said, and turned it into a beautifully restored, better than new, rare classic.
Trophies were also awarded to class winners in the 58 classes of competition for air- and water-cooled VWs.
The Bug Jam is organized by the non-profit Pasco County Fair Association Inc., a 501 (c) 3 organization and all proceeds go to non-profit organizations, including All Children’s Hospital that has received about $164,000 since the Bug Jam was conceived 25 years ago. More than 45 tons of food has also been collected for what is now Feeding America Tampa Bay, Suncoast Branch. This year alone 2½ tons was collected.

Next year’s 26th annual Pasco Bug Jam will be held Sunday, Nov. 9, at the fairgrounds. For more information, visit the Web site: www.pascobugjam.com; e-mail bugjam@pascocountyfair.com; or call the Pasco County Fair Office, (352) 567-6678.

The Pasco County Fair Association Inc. does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, race, color, sex, disability, religion or national origin.

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