Central Florida Roadtrip | Sumter County


>>THIS PROGRAM IS BROUGHT TO YOU
IN PART BY THE PAUL B. HUNTER AND CONSTANCE D. HUNTER
CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, INCORPORATED, A PROUD PARTNER OF
WUCF TV AND THE CENTRAL FLORIDA COMMUNITY. ♪ THEME MUSIC ♪>>WELCOME TO A JOURNEY THROUGH
HISTORY. THIS IS CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP.>>WELCOME TO THIS EPISODE
OF CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP. I’M YOUR HOST,
DR. PHIL HOFFMAN. TODAY WE’RE GOING TO BE IN
SUMTER COUNTY, AND WE’RE GOING TO BE CENTERED FOR
OUR HOME BASE RIGHT HERE AT DADE BATTLEFIELD
HISTORIC STATE PARK, THE SITE OF THE BEGINNING OF
THE SECOND SEMINOLE WAR.>>SUMTER COUNTY WAS
CREATED IN 1853. IT WAS NAMED FOR GENERAL
THOMAS SUMTER, A GENERAL IN THE AMERICAN
REVOLUTIONARY WAR. YEARS AGO THE COUNTY WAS
NICKNAMED HOG COUNTY, MOST LIKELY BECAUSE IT’S HOME
TO A LARGE POPULATION OF WILD HOGS. BACK BEFORE SUMTER COUNTY
WAS EVEN FORMED THE DADE BATTLEFIELD WAS A MAJOR
PART IN WRITING THE AREA’S HISTORY. THE DADE BATTLE OF 1835
WAS THE LONGEST AND MOST COSTLY INDIAN WAR IN
AMERICAN HISTORY.>>WE’RE REALLY EXCITED TO
BE HERE WITH BILL GRUBER WHO IS THE MANAGER HERE
AT THE DADE BATTLEFIELD HISTORIC STATE PARK. THANK YOU SO MUCH, BILL,
FOR MAKING TIME FOR US TODAY.>>IT’S A PLEASURE.>>SO TELL US A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT THIS PARK AND WHAT THE HISTORY IS BEHIND IT.>>THIS IS THE SITE OF THE
BATTLE THAT STARTED THE SECOND SEMINOLE WAR, THE
LONGEST, MOST COSTLY INDIAN WAR IN
AMERICAN HISTORY. YOU TALK ABOUT FLORIDA
SEMINOLES TO MOST PEOPLE, AND THEY THINK
ABOUT FOOTBALL. BUT ACTUALLY THE LONGEST
AND MOST COSTLY INDIAN WAR IN OUR WHOLE COUNTRY’S
HISTORY STARTED RIGHT HERE RIGHT IN FLORIDA RIGHT
WHERE WE’RE STANDING. WE KEEP THOSE MEMORIES
ALIVE, COMMEMORATE THAT EVENT, FROM THE SOLDIERS’
PERSPECTIVE AND FROM THE SEMINOLES’ PERSPECTIVE.>>AND WHEN YOU SPEAK OF
EVENTS YOU ALSO HAVE AN EVENT EVERY WINTER WHERE
YOU HAVE A REENACTMENT OF THIS.>>THAT’S
OUR SIGNATURE EVENT. IT’S THE ANNUAL
REENACTMENT OF DADE’S BATTLE OF 1835. IT’S THE FIRST FULL
WEEKEND IN JANUARY EVERY YEAR. AND WE HAVE SOLDIER
AND SEMINOLE CAMPS. WE HAVE PERIOD VENDORS
THAT PEOPLE CAN VISIT. AND OF COURSE THE
REENACTMENT OF THE BATTLE, WHICH IS A PRETTY
FULL-SCALE BATTLE. IT’S NOT QUITE AS MANY
PEOPLE AS WERE IN THE ACTUAL BATTLE, BUT IT’S
A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF REENACTORS, SEMINOLE
AND SOLDIER REENACTORS. AND THEY REENACT THE
ACTUAL EVENTS THAT OCCURRED HERE IN THE
SEQUENCE THAT THEY HAPPENED. WE HAVE A SOLDIER NARRATOR
AND A SEMINOLE NARRATOR TO KIND OF KEEP PEOPLE
INFORMED OF WHAT’S GOING ON.>>BOTH POINT OF VIEWS.>>YES. IT’S WELL ATTENDED. WE GET SEVERAL THOUSAND
PEOPLE HERE EVER YEAR FOR THAT. THAT’S OUR BIGGEST EVENT,
BUT WE HAVE OTHER EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR,
EVERYTHING FROM A FANCIFUL HALLOWEEN EVENT TO A WORLD
WAR II COMMEMORATIVE WEEKEND IN MARCH BECAUSE
THIS PARK ACTUALLY WAS THE SITE OF A WORLD WAR II
TRAINING BASE FOR A BRIEF PERIOD DURING THE WAR.>>WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT
FOR US TO REALLY PRESERVE AND TALK ABOUT THE
HISTORY HERE AT THE DADE BATTLEFIELD?>>WHAT HAPPENED HERE AND
WHAT FOLLOWED IT, SEVEN YEARS OF WARFARE, HAD A
SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON FLORIDA HISTORY AND A
SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON AMERICAN HISTORY. AND IT WAS ONE OF THE
FIRST CONFLICTS RELATED TO SLAVERY. BEFORE THERE WAS EVER AN
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GOING NORTH THERE WAS ONE
GOING SOUTH TO FLORIDA. A LOT OF THE SLAVES CAME
HERE, AND A LOT OF THEM JOINED WITH THE SEMINOLES. AND OF COURSE THAT WAS
A SOURCE OF CONFLICT.>>I SUPPOSE YOU’VE BEEN
HERE FOR A WHILE, AND YOU’VE HAD A CHANCE TO
GIVE PEOPLE TOURS AND TALK WITH PEOPLE. WHAT’S THE OBSERVATION YOU
HEAR MOST FREQUENTLY FROM PEOPLE? WHAT ARE THEY SURPRISED
ABOUT OR SOMETHING THEY DIDN’T KNOW ONCE
THEY VISIT HERE?>>AT THE TIME OF THIS
BATTLE EVERYONE IN AMERICA KNEW ABOUT IT. IT WAS AN
EARTH-SHAKING EVENT. IT WAS BIG NATIONAL NEWS. MOST PEOPLE THAT COME
HERE NEVER HEARD OF THIS BATTLE, NEVER HEARD OF
THE SECOND SEMINOLE WAR. SO WHENEVER THEY COME HERE
IT’S A REAL VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. THEY COME HERE AND LEARN
ABOUT A PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY THAT THEY NEVER
EVEN KNEW EXISTED. WHEN PEOPLE PICTURE THE
INDIAN WARS THEY PICTURE THE WESTERN INDIAN WARS
BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE SEE IN THE MOVIES THAT MAKE
INDIANS GALLOPING ACROSS THE PLAINS WITH FLOWING
HEADDRESSES IS MORE CINEMATIC THAN CREEPING
THROUGH THE PALMETTOS DOWN HERE. WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT
THIS BATTLE IS THAT THE SOLDIERS DIDN’T
WANT TO BE HERE. IT WASN’T THE CHOICE POST. WHEN YOU GO TO WESTPOINT
YOU DIDN’T ASK TO GO TO FLORIDA. AND THE SEMINOLES JUST
WANTED TO BE LEFT ALONE. THEY WERE JUST FIGHTING
FOR THEIR HOMES. SO THERE WAS A LOT OF
DRAMA, AND THERE WAS A LOT OF PASSION ON BOTH SIDES. LIKE I SAID, IT’S A
JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE JUST
DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS HISTORY. THERE’S BEEN SO MUCH MORE
AMERICAN HISTORY, SO MUCH MORE HISTORICAL WATER
UNDER THE BRIDGE SINCE 1835 THAT PEOPLE JUST HAVE
KIND OF FORGOTTEN THE STORY.>>TWO MONTHS AFTER THIS
BATTLE WAS THE SIEGE OF THE ALAMO, A MUCH BETTER
STORY TO MYTHOLOGIZE AND TURN INTO A HERO STORY
THAN THIS ONE WAS. SO IT’S LARGELY BEEN
FORGOTTEN, BUT IT WAS VERY SIGNIFICANT IN THE
DEVELOPMENT OF FLORIDA AND THE UNITED STATES.>>WELL BILL, THANK YOU
FOR YOUR TIME TODAY. WE APPRECIATE YOU
WELCOME US OUT HERE. AND WE’RE GLAD TO
LEARN MORE ABOUT DADE BATTLEFIELD.>>DADE AND HIS MEN
ACTUALLY WERE TRAVELING THIS PATH RIGHT BEHIND ME
AS THEY MADE THEIR WAY FROM HERE TO FORT KING,
AND THAT’S WHY THIS IS DADE BATTLEFIELD. THIS DEFINES SUMTER
COUNTY’S PAST, BUT IT’S REALLY THE VILLAGES THAT
DEFINE SUMTER COUNTY’S PRESENT AND FUTURE.>>IN THE 1970S THE
VILLAGES STARTED OUT AS A MOBILE HOME COMMUNITY,
ORANGE BLOSSOM GARDENS. BUT WITH THE SUCCESS
OF OTHER RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES THE FOCUS
SHIFTED A LITTLE BIT IN THE MID ’80S, AND AS THEY
SAY THE REST IS HISTORY. FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS
THE VILLAGES HAS BEEN THE TOP-SELLING MASTER-PLANNED
COMMUNITY IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES ADDING MORE
THAN 3,000 HOMES OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS. PORTIONS OF THE VILLAGES
ARE ALSO STRETCHING INTO LAKE AND MARION COUNTIES.>>AS A RETIREMENT
COMMUNITY THE VILLAGES IS HOME TO A LARGE NUMBER OF
VETERANS, AND IT WAS THAT GROUP, THEIR FAMILY AND
FRIENDS WHO ALL CAME TOGETHER AROUND A PROJECT
DEAR TO THEIR HEARTS.>>THEY’RE PLANNING TO
BUILD AN EDUCATION CENTER UP IN WASHINGTON, DC
BETWEEN THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL AND THE VIETNAM
MEMORIAL WALL, AND THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE AN
INTERACTIVE SCREEN WITH ALL THESE PICTURES ON SO
THAT THEY’RE GOING TO BE MEMORIALIZED FOR A
LONG TIME TO COME. AND FUTURE GENERATIONS
WILL SEE THE SACRIFICES THAT THEY MADE. I GOT WITH OUR PRESIDENT,
PETE WAGNER AND SAID, “WHY DON’T WE SPEARHEAD THE
EFFORT TO FIND THESE PICTURES OF THE
FLORIDA VETERANS?” THERE’S 30 VIETNAM
VETERANS CHAPTERS IN FLORIDA, AND WE HAVE
WHAT’S CALLED A FLORIDA STATE COUNCIL, WHICH IS
THE FOCAL GROUP FOR ALL THESE CHAPTERS. SO I SAID, “LET’S GO TO
THE FLORIDA STATE COUNCIL AND ASK THEM TO GET ALL
OUR OTHER CHAPTERS TO HELP FIND THESE PHOTOS.” AND
THAT’S SORT OF HOW THE EFFORT STARTED.>>I LOVE DOING GENEALOGY,
AND I KNEW FROM THE ARTICLES IN THE PAPER
THAT IT WAS SOME VIETNAM VETERANS THAT WERE WORKING
ON IT, AND I CALLED THEM AND I SAID, “DO YOU HAVE
ANY GENEALOGISTS WORKING ON IT BECAUSE WE THINK
DIFFERENTLY WHEN WE’RE TRYING TO FIND LOST
FAMILY MEMBERS?” THEY SAID, “NO, WELCOME
ABOARD.”>>YOU KEEP REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE
AT LIBRARIES AND GENEALOGISTS, FAMILIES TO
TRY TO KEEP WORKING ON IT, AND IT’LL BREAK LOOSE. AND THEN YOU’LL
GET SEVERAL MORE.>>FILLING IN THAT MISSING
PIECE WHEN YOU SEE THEIR FACES THAT WAS MY
GENERATION AND I FORGOT HOW YOUNG THEY ALL WERE
UNTIL YOU SEE THEM. I PRESUME THEY’RE LIKE ME,
THEY’RE THE SAME AGE AS ME, BUT THEY’RE NOT. AND IT’S VERY EMOTIONAL. EVERY TIME I DO FIND A
PHOTO I’M ALWAYS VERY EMOTIONAL ABOUT IT.>>THIS IS BETH. HELLO. I THINK SO. I GOT A BEEP, AND I HADN’T
GRABBED IT, SO THAT’S A PICTURE COMING OVER. ♪ MUSIC ♪ AND THERE HE IS, MICHAEL
GARY DINKINS, JUST CAME OVER.>>IT’S JUST UNFINISHED
UNTIL ALL OF THEM ARE DONE. I FEEL GOOD THAT WE FOUND
THE OTHER PERSON, BUT THAT JUST TELLS ME THAT WE’VE
GOT MORE WORK TO DO THOUGH. IT HAS TO BE. WE’VE GOT TO GET IT DONE.>>THIS VETERAN GROUP’S
MISSION IS NOT ONLY TO HONOR THE FALLEN BUT TO
ENSURE THEY’RE NEVER FORGOTTEN.>>THAT MILITARY CONNECTION
IS ALSO HONORED A LITTLE FURTHER SOUTH IN SUMTER
COUNTY IN BUSHNELL AT THE FLORIDA NATIONAL CEMETERY.>>FLORIDA NATIONAL
CEMETERY IS THE SECOND BUSIEST NATIONAL CEMETERY
IN THE UNITED STATES. WE DO ROUGHLY 7,000
INTERNMENTS ANNUALLY. WE’RE OVER 600 ACRES. WE OPENED UP IN 1988, AND
WE CURRENTLY HAVE 166,000 VETERANS AND THEIR
DEPENDENTS INTERRED HERE IN THE CEMETERY. AND A LOT OF FAMILIES
DON’T EVEN REALIZE WHAT MAY BE THEIR LOVED ONE’S
SERVICE MEANT UNTIL THEY COME TO THE CEMETERY, THEY
GO TO A SERVICE WHERE THEY RECEIVE FULL MILITARY
HONORS, THEY SEE THE HEADSTONES, THEY SEE THE
CARE THAT IS TAKEN BY THE STAFF. AND THEN THAT REALLY
DRIVES HOME THE SACRIFICE AND THE HONORABLE SERVICE
THAT THEIR LOVED ONE PERFORMED.>>NOW LET’S SEE WHAT OUR
FAVORITE HISTORY DEVOTEE, DON PRICE, HAS UNCOVERED
FOR THIS WEEK’S ARTIFACT.>>THANKS PHIL. I’M HERE AT THE ORANGE
COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER WITH CHIEF
CURATOR, PAMELA SCHWARTZ. I KNOW THAT WE’RE IN
ORANGE COUNTY, AND THIS PHOTO HERE IS FROM SUMTER,
BUT TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT IT. I KNOW IT’S OUT OF YOUR
RANGE, BUT TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
THIS PHOTO.>>THIS PHOTO WE BELIEVE IS
ACTUALLY TAKEN IN ORLANDO, BUT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
HOW IT RELATES TO SUMTER COUNTY. AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE
FRONT OF THIS PHOTO IT ACTUALLY SAYS ORLANDO
MOUNT DORA, EUSTIS, AND WILDWOOD. SO IT TAKES US
UP THAT FAR. AND WHAT THE PHOTO IS IS
CIRCA AROUND PROBABLY 1927. IT CAN’T BE BEFORE THAT. BUT THIS IS A PICTURE OF
WHAT THEY REFER TO AS A PARLOR BUS. AROUND THIS TIME PERIOD
THEY THOUGHT WILDWOOD WAS GOING TO REALLY BECOME A
BOOMING AREA IN FLORIDA. I DON’T KNOW THAT WE’VE
EVER GOTTEN THERE, BUT THE SEABOARD AIRLINE RAILWAY
WAS COMING THROUGH IN GOING IN A BUNCH OF
DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS. IT WAS CREATING JOBS. IT HAD THE ABILITY TO
NOT ONLY BRING PEOPLE TO WILDWOOD BUT TO
TAKE THEM OUT. SO IN THE CASE OF THIS
PHOTO PEOPLE COULD BOARD ONE OF THESE BUSES AND
GO TO THE ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL AND ACTUALLY BE
TAKEN AS FAR AS NEW YORK OR MONTREAL. BUT IN THIS CASE IT ALSO
CAME BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN ORLANDO AND
THESE OTHER COMMUNITIES.>>SO IT’S REALLY
INTERESTING THAT PEOPLE COULD, JUST LIKE YOU WOULD
AN UBER TODAY, RIDE. THIS IS AN UBER
BLACK OF 1927. IT’S HUGE. LIKE I SAID THEY CALLED
THEM A PARLOR BUS. BUT AN INTERESTING FACT
ABOUT THIS TOO IS THE NEXT YEAR, IN 1928, WE FOUND A
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ABOUT HOW THEY EXTENDED THE
HOURS TO 9:30 P.M. THAT WAS A BIG DEAL
BECAUSE PEOPLE COULD COME FROM ALL OF THESE OTHER
COMMUNITIES AND STAY IN ORLANDO AND SHOP LONGER
AND EVEN CATCH A FLICK AT THE THEATER BEFORE THEY
GOT BACK ON TO GO HOME. SO IT’S ONE OF THOSE FUNNY
THINGS WHERE WE KIND OF LAUGH AT SOME OF THE
THINGS YOU READ IN NEWSPAPERS TODAY. BUT IT WAS A BIG DEAL TO
BE ABLE TO NOT HAVE TO DRIVE DOWN THIS FAR,
FIGURE OUT PARKING AND ALL OF THAT.>>AND ANOTHER INTERESTING
THING ABOUT THIS ARTIFACT IS THAT WE ACTUALLY
HAVE A LETTER. WE RECEIVED THIS FROM
A WOMAN IN TEXAS. SHE SENT IT TO US, AND
IT TURNS OUT THAT THE INDIVIDUALS GETTING IN THE
PARLOR BUS ARE HER GREAT GRANDPARENTS AND
HER GRANDMOTHER. AND THEY DIDN’T LIVE HERE
IS MY UNDERSTANDING. SHE DID GROW UP IN THE
MIAMI AREA, BUT IT’S AN INTERESTING STORY ABOUT
HOW THESE ARTIFACTS COME TO FIND US. IT WAS MAILED TO US FROM
TEXAS AND PROBABLY JUST BECAUSE IT SAID ORLANDO
ACROSS THE FRONT OF THAT BUS. IF IT DIDN’T THEY WOULD’VE
PROBABLY NEVER KNOWN IT WAS HERE.>>CORRECT. WELL, THANK YOU. THANKS PAM.>>YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.>>ANOTHER GEM FROM THE
REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER. THANKS FOR SHARING.>>HERE’S A CENTRAL FLORIDA
ROADTRIP FAST FACT FOR YOU STATISTIC JUNKIES. SUMTER COUNTY
HAS THE OLDEST MEDIAN AGE OF ANY U.S. COUNTY AT 62.7 YEARS.
FORTUNATELY, YOU’RE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL, SUMTER COUNTY!>>AMONG THE MORE FAMOUS
FACES HERE IN SUMTER COUNTY IS WALTER RAY
WILLIAMS, A TWO-SPORT PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE. AND THOSE TWO SPORTS, WELL
I GUESS YOU COULD SAY THEY GO HAND-IN-HAND.>>WALTER RAY WILLIAMS,
JR IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN PROFESSIONAL
BOWLING. HE CURRENTLY HOLDS THE
RECORD WITH 47 ALL-TIME PBA TOUR TITLES AND IS
ALSO THE PBA RECORD-HOLDER FOR CAREER EARNINGS. HE’S A SEVEN-TIME PBA
PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND HAS WON AT LEAST ONE PBA TOUR
TITLE IN 17 CONSECUTIVE SEASONS. BOTH OF THESE FEATS
ARE PBA RECORDS. BUT BEFORE BOWLING HE WAS
A CHAMPION OF ANOTHER SPORT, YES,
HORSESHOE PITCHING.>>I FIRST STARTED PLAYING
HORSESHOES WHEN I WAS ABOUT NINE. I REALLY CAN’T EVEN
EXPLAIN WHY, BUT BEFORE MY DAD TAUGHT ME HOW THAT’S
WHAT I WANTED TO DO WAS PLAY HORSESHOES. WHEN HE FINALLY TAUGHT
ME HOW I WENT OUT AND PRACTICED AND PRACTICED
AND PRACTICED AND PRACTICED AND PRACTICED
AND PRACTICED AND PRACTICED, AND WITHIN A
YEAR I FINISHED SECOND AT THE JUNIOR WORLD
CHAMPIONSHIPS. THAT’S WHERE I GOT MY
NICKNAME, “DEAD EYE.” IN THE QUALIFYING ROUNDS I
HAD 45 RINGERS OUT OF 50 SHOES. SO I USED TO BE PRETTY
GOOD WAY BACK THEN. I ENDED UP WINNING THE
JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS THREE TIMES. I WON WHEN I WAS 11. I WAS ALSO THE YOUNGEST
AT THE TIME TO WIN IT AND ALSO BROKE THE RECORD FOR
HIGH AVERAGE AVERAGING 86% RINGERS THAT YEAR. THE NEXT YEAR I BROKE THE
RECORD AGAIN AVERAGING 89%. I ENDED UP WINNING THE
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP SIX TIMES TOTAL. WHEN I WAS YOUNG THAT’S
WHAT I WANTED TO DO. I WANTED TO BE A
PROFESSIONAL HORSESHOE PLAYER. BUT I ALSO KNEW THAT THERE
WASN’T MUCH MONEY IN IT, BUT I ENJOYED THE GAME
AND LOVED TO COMPETE.>>I DO ACTUALLY KIND OF
LIKE HORSESHOES A LITTLE OVER BOWLING, BUT
BOWLING’S HOW I MAKE MY LIVING, AND I REALLY
ENJOY BOWLING. BUT MY FIRST LOVE
WAS HORSESHOES. I GOT INTRODUCED TO
BOWLING WHEN I WAS ABOUT 11. I DIDN’T BOWL A LOT
UNTIL I WAS ABOUT 19. THAT’S WHEN I REALLY GOT
INTO BOWLING, BOWLING ABOUT 15, 20 GAMES A WEEK,
AND THE MORE I BOWLED THE BETTER I GOT, THE BETTER
I GOT THE MORE I BOWLED. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN I’M
AVERAGING 200, AND I’M STILL GOING TO
COLLEGE AT THAT TIME. ENDED UP GETTING A DEGREE
IN PHYSICS, MINOR IN MATHEMATICS, AND WENT ON
TOUR WHEN I WAS 23 FULL TIME. AND FORTUNATELY IT
WORKED OUT VERY WELL. DEFINITELY BEING A
HORSESHOE PLAYER HELPED ME BECOME A BETTER BOWLER
BECAUSE I DIDN’T GROW UP IN A BOWLING CENTER. A LOT OF THESE GUYS THAT
BOWL ON TOUR BOWLED 50, 100 GAMES A WEEK, AND I
PROBABLY BOWLED 10, 15, 20 GAMES A WEEK WHEN I
FIRST STARTED OUT. THE HORSESHOE SWING
BEING ACCURATE CARRIED OVER TO BOWLING WHERE I
WAS ABLE TO IMPROVE A LITTLE BIT FASTER
WITHOUT AS MUCH BOWLING. ONCE I STARTED GETTING
REALLY GOOD I STARTED BOWLING TOURNAMENTS, AND
THAT KIND OF GOT ME EVEN BETTER FASTER.>>PERFECT BALL.>>I’VE BEEN FOOLING AROUND
WITH A TWO-HANDED METHOD, WHICH BASICALLY IT’S A
LOT OF POWER, AND I THINK THAT’S A BIG ATTRACTION. IT’S AN EASIER WAY FOR ME
TO LEARN TO GET THE HOOK ON THE BALL. THE DIFFERENCE IS IT
TAKES A LOT OF CONTROL. IT’S NOT THE BEST WAY FOR
ME TO THROW THE BALL, BUT SOMETIMES IT’S
VERY EFFECTIVE. WHEN I FIRST STARTED
BOWLING ON TOUR I DIDN’T HAVE THE EXPECTATIONS OF
BEING ONE OF THE BEST EVER. AND I DON’T REALLY
CONSIDER MYSELF THE BEST EVER. I DO HAVE THE MOST TITLES,
BUT I’VE ALSO HAD A LONG CAREER, 25 YEARS THAT I
WON ALL OF MY 47 TITLES, WHICH IS SIGNIFICANT. AND I THINK THAT’S
THE OTHER PART OF IT. I WAS PLAYER OF THE
YEAR WHEN I WAS 26. I WAS ALSO PLAYER OF
THE YEAR WHEN I WAS 50. SO THAT’S ANOTHER THING,
BEING BOWLER OF THE DECADE BACK-TO-BACK DECADES. I DON’T KNOW THAT ANYBODY
ELSE WILL EVER DO THAT BECAUSE THAT’S A VERY
CHALLENGING THING TO DO TO BE THAT GOOD
FOR THAT LONG. BUT I HAD A LOT OF REALLY
GOOD YEARS, VERY FORTUNATE TO DO SOMETHING I ENJOY,
MAKING A GOOD LIVING AT IT. I DEFINITELY ENJOY
THE COMPETITION. I THINK THAT’S ONE THING
THAT HELPED MOTIVATE ME THAT I ENJOYED
COMPETITION, ENJOY BOWLING, AND LOOK
FORWARD TO COMPETING.>>WHAT DRIVES SOMEBODY TO
BE SUPER GOOD IS ALSO KIND OF WHAT KEEPS
THEM DOING THAT. IT DEFINITELY TURNED
OUT VERY WELL. I CANNOT COMPLAIN ABOUT
WHAT’S HAPPENED WITH ME IN MY LIFE. EVERYBODY SHOULD BE SO
LUCKY TO DO SOMETHING THEY ENJOY DOING.>>AT AGE 59 WALTER
CONTINUES TO COMPETE IN BOTH HORSESHOES
AND BOWLING. AND IN FACT HE MAKES THE
VILLAGES HIS HOME BASE FOR MOST OF HIS PRACTICE. AND IF YOU LIVE IN THE
VILLAGES, LET’S FACE IT, ONE THING YOU REALLY HAVE
TO HAVE IS A COOL GOLF CART. ♪ MUSIC ♪>>HERE IN THE VILLAGES
THERE’S ABOUT 55,000 GOLF CARTS, OVER 100 MILES OF
GOLF CART PATHS, SO IT’S A WAY OF TRANSPORTATION
AND JUST FUN. LIKE US, WE HAD TWO CARS
WHEN WE MOVED HERE. WE GOT RID OF ONE CAR AND
BOUGHT TWO GOLF CARTS. AND THAT’S ALL WE DRIVE. OUR CAR SITS IN THE GARAGE
FOR WEEKS AT A TIME, AND THE GOLF CARTS ARE THE
FIRST THING TO COME OUT OF THE GARAGE. EACH CART IS UNIQUE IN ITS
OWN WAY, BUT SOME OF THEM ARE AN EXPRESSION OF
THEIR OWN PERSONALITIES.>>ALEX HERE. HEY, SHOOT IT MAN. HEY MAN, HOW ARE YOU? GOOD TO SEE YOU IN
THE VILLAGES, BABY.>>I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN
NEW YORK, WENT TO EVERY GAME I COULD
AT THE STADIUM. AND THE ONLY REASON WHY,
ONE OF THE REASONS WHY I MOVED TO THE VILLAGES IS
NOW I CAN GO TO SPRING TRAINING, SO I DIDN’T
GET RID OF MY YANKEES. THE CART SAYS THAT YOU CAN
TAKE A GIRL OUT OF NEW YORK, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE
NEW YORK OUT OF THE GIRL.>>I SEEN IT, AND I SAID,
“I’VE GOT TO HAVE IT. IT’S A ’35 CHEVY BECAUSE I
WAS BORN IN ’35,” AND THEN THAT LAUREL AND HARDY ON
THE BACK I GOT THAT FROM A FRIEND OF MINE WHO WAS
GOING THROUGH A BAD DIVORCE, AND SHE WAS
BUSTING EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE. AND SAYS, “TAKE
THAT,” AND I DID. THAT WAS ABOUT
50 YEARS GO.>>I’M A RETIRED
FIREFIGHTER. I DID 31 YEARS IN A COUNTY
DEPARTMENT IN EAST SAN FRANCISCO, AND LIKE IT
SAYS ON THE FRONT MY RETIRED ENGINE
WAS ENGINE 87.>>I WAS SITTING IN THE
GARAGE DRINKING BACK WHEN I USED TO DRINK, AND I’VE
HAD IT SINCE ’04, AND IT’S GOT ABOUT 34,000
MILES ON IT. I’VE BEEN PUTTING THE
MILES … THIS IS ALL I DRIVE. IT’S GOT A LOT OF POWER
BECAUSE IT’S GOT A SMALL V8 UNDER THE HOOD.>>THE STREET RODS ARE
UNIQUE IN THEIR OWN WAY. THEY ARE ALL CUSTOM, AND
THEY’RE THE MOST UNIQUE CARTS IN THE WORLD. WE HAVE OVER 420 OF THESE
RUNNING AROUND, DO NOT HAVE TWO IDENTICAL. EVERYBODY KIND OF MAKES
THEM THEIR OWN, AND IT’S JUST A BLAST.>>NOW THOSE ARE
SOME FINE RIDES. BUT YOU KNOW A LOT OF
SUMTER COUNTY IS ACTUALLY MORE RURAL, SO MAYBE
A TRACTOR IS MORE APPROPRIATE, RIGHT? WELL OF COURSE SUMTER
COUNTY, THEN, IS HOME TO THE TRACTOR MUSEUM. FARMING AND TRACTORS
HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR GENERATIONS. BOTH HAVE PLAYED A BIG
PART IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY. AND THERE HAVE BEEN MANY
DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS THROUGH THE YEARS, BUT
LEESBURG, STEWART PAQUETTE THINKS ONE STANDS ABOVE
THEM ALL, INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER, SO MUCH SO IN
FACT HE HAD TO START HIS OWN MUSEUM.>>WHO WANTS TO
LOOK AT TRACTORS? I SAID THAT TO MYSELF. I HAD NEVER BEEN
ON A TRACTOR. I’D NEVER BEEN ON A FARM. I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING
ABOUT FARMING. I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING
ABOUT THE TRACTORS, NOTHING, I NEVER HAD ONE. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH
THE FARMERS BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE TRACTORS. THEY LIVE THAT LIFE, AND
I JUST HAVE THE GREATEST RESPECT FOR THE
FARMING COMMUNITY. EVERYBODY ASKS ME, “HOW
MANY TRACTORS DO YOU HAVE?” I’M NOT REALLY SURE,
BUT I THINK 250. IF IT DOESN’T STAMP
INTERNATIONAL ON IT, IT’S NOT HERE. WE DON’T WANT IT HERE. ALL THE SIGNAGE HERE IS
ALL AUTHENTIC, FARMALL. IT’S ALL INTERNATIONAL. WE’VE GOT ALL THE
GOLD TRACTORS. THEY MADE GOLD TRACTORS IN
1970, AND THEY MADE FIVE DIFFERENT MODELS, AND
WE HAVE ALL OF THEM. TWO OF THE FIVE THEY ONLY
MADE ONE OF EACH OF THESE, AND WE’VE GOT
BOTH OF THEM.>>WE TRIED TO GET
SOMETHING OF EVERYTHING THEY MADE. THEY MADE DEHUMIDIFIERS. THEY MADE AIR
CONDITIONERS. THEY MADE REFRIGERATORS. THEY MADE RIFLES. THEY MADE 330 SOME
THOUSAND RIFLES FROM 1942 TO 1954. AND WE’VE CHASED
THIS STUFF DOWN. THIS FLAG BEHIND US HERE
THAT FLAG CAME FROM THE FORT WAYNE PLANT,
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA. AND THAT’S THE LAST DAY
THE PLANT WAS OPEN. SO THAT’S THE LAST FLAG TO
FLY OVER THAT FORT WAYNE PLANT.>>AND OF ALL THE TRACTORS
IN THE WORLD, DOES STEWART HAVE A FAVORITE?>>THE 1206. THAT WAS THE BIGGEST ONE. THAT TRACTOR WAS THE FIRST
OVER 100 HORSEPOWER TO HIT THE FIELD. IT’S A PRETTY UNIQUE
TRACTOR BECAUSE IT HAS WHITE WHEELS, AND IT HAS A
WHITE GRILL, AND IT HAS A WHITE AIR BREATHER
AND ALL THAT. THAT’S THE ONE
I LIKE THE BEST. THAT’S MY FAVORITE. I THINK IT’S JUST LIKE
COLLECTING OLD CARS, SAME THING, SAME AS
COLLECTING ANYTHING. WE GET A VARIETY
OF PEOPLE. IT’S AMAZING. WE GET PEOPLE ALL OVER THE
WORLD, SOUTH AMERICA, WE GET RUSSIA, FRANCE,
GERMANY, SPAIN. AND I’VE HAD PEOPLE TIME
AND TIME AGAIN JUST CRY THAT THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE
ANY OF THIS WAS LEFT. THEY’VE BEEN SCRAPPING
THESE TRACTORS 1,500 A DAY, AND WE’VE BEEN TRYING
TO SAVE OUR LITTLE PIECE OF IT HERE. BUT INTERNATIONAL IS GONE. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO
MAKE ANY MORE OF THESE TRACTORS. AND THE THING IS TO HAVE
EVERYBODY COME AND SEE THIS. IT’S NOT SOMETHING YOU
CAN DO ANYWHERE ELSE. [TRUCK HORN]>>IN THE
SOUTH OF SUMTER COUNTY IS THE GREEN SWAMP WHICH
HOLDS THE HEADWATERS TO FOUR SOUTH FLORIDA RIVERS. THE NORTH EDGE SITS ON THE
EDGE OF THE OCALA NATIONAL FOREST WHERE A 96-YEAR-OLD
MAN IS ON A SPECIAL MISSION. LEE SWALLOWS AND TWO OF HIS
FRIENDS ARE MAKING A MILE-AND-A-HALF TREK
THROUGH THE OCALA NATIONAL FOREST. THIS MILE-AND-A-HALF
JOURNEY, HOWEVER, IS NOT JUST FOR EXERCISE. BUT RATHER IT’S THE
ONLY WAY TO REACH THEIR DESTINATION.>>I’VE ALWAYS HAD AN
INTEREST IN THE OCALA FOREST, AND I’VE WALKED
THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE FOREST ON THE
SCENIC TRAIL.>>DURING ONE OF THOSE
WALKS LEE ACCIDENTALLY CAME UPON AN UNUSUAL SITE,
THE LONG FAMILY CEMETERY, AN OLD FAMILY PLOT OF
SOME 10 GRAVES THAT IS LITERALLY IN THE
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.>>THE LONG’S CAME IN EARLY
1800S AND SETTLED IN THIS AREA. THE CEMETERY WAS IN NOT
VERY GOOD CONDITION. SOME OF THE PICKETS WERE
OFF, AND THE GATE HAD SAGGED. IT WAS JUST BEDRAGGLED. IT NEEDED SOME ATTENTION.>>SO LEE WAS JUST
THE MAN FOR THE JOB. HE WENT TO THE DIVISION OF
FORESTRY AND SIGNED UP AS A VOLUNTEER TO HELP BRING
SOME LIFE BACK TO THE CEMETERY.>>LEE WALKED INTO THE
OFFICE, THIS AMAZING GUY, LOTS OF ENERGY,
IN HIS 90S. HE WAS SO GUNG HO ABOUT
THE LONG CEMETERY. AND BECAUSE OF BUDGET
CUTS AND WHAT NOT IT’S IN DISARRAY. IT NEEDS SOME LOVE. AND I TOLD HIM, I SAID,
“YOU’RE GOING TO BE THE FRIEND OF THE YEARLING
TRAIL NOW.” SO HE CAME IN HERE TOTALLY
OFF THE GRID ON HIS OWN AND DECIDED THAT HE WANTED
TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND VOLUNTEER.>>YOU GOT IT. THAT’S JUST RIGHT. IT’S KIND OF AN
ONGOING PROCESS. IF YOU REALLY LOVE IT,
THAT’S NOT MUCH OF AN EFFORT BECAUSE YOU’RE
WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. WHEN YOU GET HERE AND LOOK
AROUND AT THE TREES, THE FOREST HERE IT JUST
GETS IN YOUR BLOOD. AND I LOVE IT. SO THAT’S THE
REASON I COME. IT’S QUIET. I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF. I LOVE IT.>>A GUY LIKE LEE, HE GIVES
US HOPE THAT YOU HEAR ALL THE BAD STUFF IN THE NEWS,
AND THERE’S GOOD PEOPLE OUT THERE WILLING TO STILL
DO SOME GOOD STUFF ON THEIR OWN DIME,
THEIR OWN TIME. AND AT HIS AGE
THAT’S AMAZING. I PRAY AND HOPE THAT I’M
IN THAT SAME SITUATION AND ABLE TO GIVE BACK AND
STILL HEALTHY ENOUGH TO DO THE STUFF THAT HE’S
WILLING TO DO FOR US.>>IT CAN’T HELP BUT MAKE
YOU FEEL GOOD, MAKE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR DAY
AND WITH YOUR TIME AND WHAT YOU’VE DONE. MAKES THE WORLD
A LITTLE BETTER.>>DID YOU KNOW THAT LAKE EOLA
FOUNTAIN IN ORLANDO WAS FIRST INSTALLED IN 1912? OR WHY
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FLOCK TO THIS PARTICULAR POST OFFICE AT CHRISTMAS TIME?
THAT AND SO MUCH MORE NEXT WEEK ON CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP.>>THINK YOU MIGHT KNOW A BIT OF
HISTORY THAT WE’VE MISSED? THEN HEAD ON OVER TO
FACEBOOK.COM/WUCF TV AND LET US KNOW. AND FOR MORE ADVENTURES
AROUND OUR AREA, CHECK OUT OTHER EPISODES OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
ROADTRIP AT WUCF.ORG/ROADTRIP.>>THAT’S IT FOR THIS EPISODE
OF CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP. THANKS FOR JOINING US AS
WE TOOK A TOUR AROUND SUMTER COUNTY. AND MAKE SURE YOU TUNE IN
NEXT TIME AS WE CONTINUE TO EXPLORE THE RICH
HISTORY THAT SURROUNDS US ALL EVERY DAY RIGHT HERE
IN CENTRAL FLORIDA.>>THIS PROGRAM IS BROUGHT
TO YOU IN PART BY THE PAUL B. HUNTER AND CONSTANCE
D. HUNTER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, INCORPORATED,
A PROUD PARTNER OF WUCFTV AND THE CENTRAL
FLORIDA COMMUNITY.

Tags:, ,

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *