On April 21, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Canes Takedown Booster Club will host the Lacey “Sarge” Watts Memorial Car Show at Rutland High School in Macon, Georgia.
Participants in the event include the Central Georgia Mustang Club. Food will be available for sale from local food truck vendors Streetz Eatz, owned by Macon’s Donald Crawford, Jr., and Pinky’s Shaved Ice, owned by De’Ron Rogers, of Lizella.
The car show is named in honor of the memory of Lewis Lacey Watts, a Vietnam War veteran who was called “Sarge” by friends and loved ones alike. Sarge was born in Forsyth, Georgia. As a young man, he joined the Army, and he proudly served his country for 23 years, including his time in combat. During his Army career, Sarge served as an Airborne instructor at several bases, and he was part of the first airborne unit with the First Cav in 1966-67 in the Vietnam War.
After Sarge retired from the military, he began a second career at Riverside Ford in Macon, Georgia, where he worked until he retired in 2003. Upon his second retirement, Sarge and his wife, Lynn, decided to live out their retirement dreams by traveling all across the United States in their RV. They sold their home, and everything that they couldn’t take in the RV, and they took to the open road.
Several years after embarking on their cross-country adventures, Sarge’s health began to deteriorate as a result of exposure of Agent Orange during his time in the war. Sarge and Lynn were forced to settle down again, and they came back to Middle Georgia. It was at this time that Sarge discovered his great love: car shows. He and Lynn began to compete in car shows together –each of them in their own car!
The Sarge Mobile, as it was affectionately named, was Sarge’s last toy, and he entered it at many shows. He also passed his love of cars on to his grandson, David Watts.
David is the stepson of Canes Takedown Booster Club president Shane Smith. In an effort to raise funds for the Rutland High School Wrestling Team, Shane came up with the idea to host a car show and competition, and they agreed to ask David’s grandmother, Lynn, if the car show could be named in his grandfather’s memory. On the day of the event, members from the Watts family will gather to choose the winner of a special award honoring Sarge’s memory.
Members of the Wrestling Team will be participating in the car show, as well. “In the morning, members of the wrestling team will be helping to sign car’s in during the morning and they will be helping to guide cars into the parking lot,” Shane says. “After the event starts, the wrestlers will actually walk around and pick their favorite for the Wrestlers’ Choice Award as a group.”
Among the awards to be given at the Lacey “Sarge” Watts Memorial Car Show will be recognition for the Best in Show, the Wrestlers’ Choice Award, the Sarge Award, the Best Pre-1970 entry, the Best Post-1970 entry, the Best Motorcycle, the Best Jeep/Truck, and the Best Customization.
The funds raised through participation in the event will allow the members of the Rutland Wrestling Team to participate in more wrestling tournaments next year. “The Bibb County School system only allots so much money for the athletic program,” explains Shane, “and the wrestling program doesn’t get a lot of money. For most of the tournaments that they participate in, the kids have to travel out of town and pay for lodging and food, which would really cut into the school budget and it prevents kids from being able to participate.”
For school systems with more money for athletics, and for students in private schools, the average wrestler participates in 6-8 tournaments. So, where student wrestlers from Rutland may have been able to participate in 30 matches, including local school competitions, other student wrestlers participate in 50-60 matches in a season.
According to Shane, not only does this affect the experience that the wrestlers’ are able to get, but it also can affect their standing with Trackwrestling, a program that the Georgia High School Association uses to track the win-loss statistics of both individual wrestlers and their teams for state-wide ranking.
Shane is passionate about wrestling at Rutland, and his dedication to the sport dates back to his own youth involvement. He began competitive wrestling as a 12-year old seventh grader at Macon’s Miller Middle School; then he wrestled through his years at Central High School, and into two years of college at Georgia Military College. As a college student, he also wrestled with the Army’s wrestling team, until he was sidelined by an injury. It was then that he became a coach.
When Shane’s stepson began to wrestle as a sixth grade student at Rutland Middle School, Shane became involved once again.
One of his driving goals throughout his first year as president of the Canes Takedown Booster Club has been to raise money to provide all of the wrestlers at Rutland with new, matching uniforms. Money from the car show fundraiser will also help to further achieve this goal: “One of the things I’ve always said is that when you look like a team, you act like a team, and when you act like a team, you win like a team,” he says.
The biggest benefit of participation in a wrestling program, to Shane, is the work ethic that competitor’s have to adopt. They must work during the on season and during the off season to maintain healthy body weight, to develop and maintain their strength and flexibility, to succeed and excel in the sport.
The famous wrestling coach Dan Gable said that “once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” For Shane, there is a great truth in this statement. “I really believe that – I believe that wrestling is the hardest sport because it is one on one. Football is 11 on 11, and if someone is not pulling their weight, somebody else can help. In wrestling, you’re the only member of your team out there on the mat giving it your all.”
Shane is excited for the Rutland team to come together on April 21st, and to provide a day of fun for car lovers and auto enthusiasts in Bibb County. Each of the participating auto owners will also receive goodie bags from a multitude of sponsors who have donated items to the event. Sponsors include Rock Auto, Summit Racing, Advance Auto, Meguiar’s, Mothers Polish, O’Reilly Auto Parts, All State Bonding Company, and Silver Dollar Motorsports Park, among others.
It is not too late for groups or individuals to enter their automobile into the event. Please contact Shane Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lacey “Sarge” Watts Memorial Car Show hosted by the Canes Takedown Booster Club will be held April 21, 2018, from 8 am to 2 pm at Rutland High School, located at 6250 Skipper Road, in Macon, Georgia, 31216.