Auto show is ‘smash’ hit!

NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - A Guantanamo Bay resident smashes a headlight at the Navy Ball Committee's auto show July 7. For a small donation, visitors could swing a sledgehammer at an old Chevy Suburban that was donated by the Department of Public Works. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Loren Cook/RELEASED)

By Pvt. Loren Cook

JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs

A line of cars was parked at the Downtown Lyceum—a Datsun 240Z, a Mercedes-Benz E350, an Infiniti G35S, a Toyota Celica, a Mazda RX-8, and several of the ever-present Ford Mustangs—all clean and gleaming in the bright sunlight. Such a scene wouldn’t bear comment in Los Angeles, but here at Guantanamo Bay, it’s a bit more uncommon.

Last Saturday, the Navy Ball Committee’s Car Show Plus made this unusual sight possible, while providing many other attractions for the GTMO community to enjoy. Guantanamo Bay residents could enjoy a good meal, test their might in a Humvee pulling contest, or take out their frustrations by smashing an old junked vehicle with a sledgehammer.

All proceeds generated from the event went toward the Navy’s upcoming 237th birthday ball.

“I’ve been to a number of car shows in other places, but I haven’t seen one in the year and a half I’ve been here, so I thought this would be a good way for us to raise some money and for people to show off their rides,” said Master-at-Arms Chief Petty Officer Eduardo Perez, the operations chief petty officer with Naval Station Security.

The Navy Ball Committee charged registration fees to enter a car into the show and for entry into the Humvee-pull contest. Additionally, they sold barbecue and the chance to take a swing at an old Chevy Suburban with a sledgehammer.

“The Suburban was abandoned here, so the Department of Public Works donated it to us for people to smash it to bits,” Perez said. “It’s cathartic, and how often do you get to smash a vehicle while the police are watching and have them thank you?”

In the auto show itself, the Infiniti G35S was judged to be infinitely better than the other entries and won Best in Show, but another category was also awarded at the show: Island Beater. That prize went to Hospitalman Josh Earhart and his 1974 Ford Mustang.

“I was the only entry in the category, so I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s still a great honor to win,” Earhart said. “I’ve been working on getting this prize for some time now, and it’s nice to finally get some recognition for keeping this old thing running.”