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Dudley Lions’ car show roars in its 23rd year

By Rod Lee

It was easy to see, entering the parking lot of Mapfre Insurance on Gore Road in Webster on a warm Sunday morning in late September, why the “Yesteryear Car Show” is the Dudley Lions Club’s major fundraiser.

Vintage automobiles, one hundred ninety of them in all, sitting pretty. Including a whole row of Mustangs clustered side by side as if their owners were trying to make a statement of solidarity or maybe just say “look at us, aren’t we the belle of the ball?”

John Barucci and his wife Imelda of Westwood were there with their 1966 Mustang, right in the heart of the action as spectators started to trickle in. Fifties music blared over a loudspeaker.

“We missed last year, went to Newport,” Mr. Barucci said, after being interrupted from toweling down his car one more time. “I got this car in 2012 as a retirement gift from my kids,” to which his listener responded “sure beats a watch, right?”

“Yes, it came out of the clear blue!”

Nearby, Steve Walls of Leicester was more than happy to receive compliments about his entry in the sweepstakes for trophies for first, second and third for cars and trucks in forty-four different classes. Among these, the Pauline DiDonato Memorial Trophy, Best of Show, Best 1967 Camaro/Firebird and the People’s Choice winner.

“I built this car,” Mr. Walls said. “It’s a replica of a 1966 Cobra. I purchased it from a company out of South Africa. It comes in a kit except for the drive train. Much more affordable than going out and buying one. An original Cobra can cost around a million dollars. I drive it every week during the summer. I cover most of New England, as far away as Carlisle, Pennsylvania and upstate New York. They’re meant to be driven.”

Talking about the show a few days later, Patricia Boutillette, president of the Dudley Lions Club and an active participant in the car show for virtually all of its existence, said a host of financial sponsors make the event possible. Among these are some of the area’s most familiar business names. Carl’s Diner. Gentex Optics. Bank Hometown. Cornerstone Bank. Long Subaru. Universal Tag. Webster First Federal Credit Union. Webster Five Cent Savings Bank.

Mapfre Insurance has hosted the show since its inception. It is a popular one. “Our most-ever cars was two hundred thirty our second year,” Ms. Boutillette said. Monies gained from sponsorships support Lions International “as well as home” projects the Dudley Lions Club tackles—like providing eyeglasses for schoolchildren “and lots of different things in the neighborhood. It’s a job for all of the Lions,” she said. “We’re on-site from 6:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.”

The show is also essential to keeping the Dudley Lions Club’s coffers sound in the face of membership that is “dwindling,” Ms. Boutillette said. “We continue to see this as members get involved in other things. Other clubs are having the same problem.”

The Yesteryear Car Show. A Halloween parade and party. Breakfast with Santa at Shepherd Hill Regional.

Community service with a smile.

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.