President: Minette Langston
Who Can Join: All Ford Mustang enthusiasts are welcomed in Gulf Shore Mustang Club of SW Florida. They encourage fans of all ages.
Photos: About.Com Club Photo Gallery
The folks down in Florida really know how to celebrate the Ford Mustang. Take the guys and gals that make up the Gulf Shore Mustang Club. With 70+ members, including honorary member Alan Mulally, Ford's President and CEO, this club is everything you’d expect from a dedicated group of Mustang enthusiasts, and then some.
Located in Southwest Florida, the Gulf Shore Mustang Club is a nonprofit, volunteer-based group of Mustang enthusiasts, chartered by the Mustang Club of America, and dedicated to the heritage, restoration, and preservation of all Ford Mustangs. The club holds monthly meetings held at various locations in Lee and Collier Counties, every third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.
When members aren’t talking about their favorite cars, they get together for chili cook-offs, picnics, and events featuring guest speakers. They also cruise together and take part in local parades where they show off their shiny pony cars. Dean Hillestad, Past President of the club, tells me the club even gets together to celebrate the Mustang’s birthday every April with a car show the closest Saturday to April 17th.
Best of all, the members of the Gulf Shore Mustang Club know how to give back to their community. Each year the club raises money for the Big Brothers of Southwest Florida. They do this through their Hagerty Classic Car Insurance's Model Car Building Contest, as well as a Toy Drive/Car Show to collect toys for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Christmas party. Santa then delivers the gifts to the kids in his Ford Mustang.
The following is a recent interview I conducted with the members of the Gulf Shore Mustang Club. As you can clearly see, these are some of the most dedicated Mustang enthusiasts around.
GULF SHORE MUSTANG CLUB PROFILE Q&AABOUT.Com Mustangs: What is your primary focus as a Mustang club and who can join?
GSMC: Our primary focus is enjoying all things Mustang, having fun, and doing good in the community. All Ford Mustang enthusiasts are welcomed in Gulf shore Mustang Club of SW Florida. We encourage fans of all ages.
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: How many members are in your club?
GSMC: GSMC has 70 member families including Alan Mulally, Ford's President and CEO, who is an honorary member.
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: Do you host any Mustang car shows during the year?
GSMC: We host a Mustang Birthday Show on the closest Saturday to April 17th.
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: Do you have any advice for a club interested in hosting a car show?
GSMC: Start early, have a checklist, and form committees to spread the responsibilities around. As Henry Ford said, "Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: What other events do you offer for your members?
GSMC: We hold an annual chili cook-off contest where members cook chili for firefighters who judge the chili and then share tips for garage and car fire safety. We also put on an annual picnic, cruise-ins, and take part in parades. Many members travel as group to attend other car shows, races, etc. We also hold interesting meetings with guest speakers.
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: I hear your club has supported the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in the past. Can you tell me a little about that?
GSMC: Yes, Big Brothers of Southwest Florida (hereforthekids.org) is the primary charity for Gulf Shore Mustang Club (GSMC). We have raised funds for them in various ways, raffles at our car shows, car washes, etc.
For the last two years our club has hosted the local contest for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance's Model Car Building Contest. We have invited Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) to participate by building models to be judged. In 2008 one of the "littles" won the local and went on to become a finalist in the National contest. He won a trip to Monterrey, California for the finals and came in second place.
At present we are planning a Toy Drive Car Show to collect toys for the BBBS Christmas party. We accompany Santa in our Mustangs to deliver the toys. GSMC is also an affiliate of Stay Alive, Just Drive (SAJD.org), a traffic crash prevention, awareness, and education program aimed at curbing distracted driving and promoting safe driving.
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: Did your club attend the recent 45th Anniversary Celebration?
GSMC: Three members of GSMC attended and had a great time, enjoying Mustangs seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: What’s the best part of being a member in your club?
GSMC: The best part of our club is the camaraderie of fellow Mustang enthusiasts and the sharing of Mustang fun, experiences, and tips.
ABOUT.Com Mustangs: Any big news, or upcoming events, you’d like to share with us?
GSMC: We recently launched a new online newsletter that has been very well received by members. In addition to the above mentioned Toy Drive Car Show, we are planning an "Out of the Garage" Sale/Cruise-In to be held in January. Members may donate items to the club to sell or they can rent table space to sell their own items. We also plan on selling hot dogs, etc.
In Florida most of our activities are in "season," October - April, upside down from our friends in the north.
For more information regarding the Gulf Shore Mustang club, or to find out how you can become a member, visit their official Website.
Would you like to see your Mustang club profiled on About.Com Mustangs? It's a great way to spread the word about your organization. If so, drop us a note today.