Central Florida Roadtrip | Ocala
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Central Florida Roadtrip | Ocala

October 19, 2019


>>THIS PROGRAM IS BROUGHT
TO YOU IN PART BY THE PAUL B. HUNTER & CONSTANCE
D. HUNTER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION INC., A PROUD
PARTNER OF WUCF TV AND THE CENTRAL FLORIDA COMMUNITY. ♪ THEME MUSIC ♪>>WELCOME TO A JOURNEY THROUGH
HISTORY. THIS IS CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP.>>HELLO EVERYONE. WELCOME TO THIS EPISODE OF
CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP. THIS WEEK WE ARE IN
BEAUTIFUL MARION COUNTY IN HORSE COUNTRY IN
THE CITY OF OCALA.>>WE ARE GOING TO MAKE
OUR HOME BASE DURING THIS EPISODE HERE AT THE
OCALA STUD FARM, HOME OF FLORIDA’S OLDEST
THOROUGHBRED HORSE FARM. NOW OF COURSE WE’RE GOING
TO START AS WE ALWAYS DO, WITH A LITTLE BIT OF
HISTORY ABOUT THE CITY OF OCALA STARTING
AT FORT KING. FORT KING WAS ORIGINALLY
BUILT IN 1827 TO SERVE AS A BUFFER BETWEEN THE NEW
SETTLERS TO FLORIDA AND THE SEMINOLE INDIANS. WHEN TENSIONS GREW, THE
SEMINOLES BURNED THE FORT TO THE GROUND ONLY TO SEE
A BIGGER FORT REBUILT, ONE YEAR LATER.>>THIS FORT WAS THE
CENTER OF EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING WAS
COMMANDED OUT OF HERE. IT COMMANDED THE ENTIRE
SOUTHEAST AND ALL THE OTHER FORTS THAT YOU SAW
WERE BUILT AS KIND OF LIKE, PICKET FORTS. THEY WERE MUCH SMALLER. THIS ONE’S 150 BY 150
WITH TWO BLOCK HOUSES. THE WALLS ARE
18 FEET HIGH. THEY’RE MADE OUT OF PINE
THAT’S BEEN SPLIT IN HALF AND THE INSIDE OF THE
WALLS, THERE’S A SHOOTING, A PLATFORM THAT GOES
ALL THE WAY AROUND. THERE ARE NO OTHER
STRUCTURES LIKE IT. IT WAS A MASSIVE
UNDERTAKING AND THEY DID IT ALL FROM SCRATCH
AND BY HAND. IT’S PRETTY INCREDIBLE
BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF HISTORICAL FIGURES THAT
CAME THROUGH THIS SITE DURING THAT WAR PERIOD. YOU HAD FUTURE PRESIDENTS,
YOU HAD ONE GENTLEMAN WHO YOU’RE PROBABLY FAMILIAR
WITH, ICHABOD CRANE, SERVED AT FORT KING. IT WAS A PRETTY
SIGNIFICANT PLACE BECAUSE EVERYBODY THAT WAS IN THE
MILITARY WANTED TO COME THROUGH HERE AT THAT TIME.>>THE FIRST COUNTY SEAT
WAS ACTUALLY AT THE FORT. WITH THE ARMED OCCUPATION
ACT SAID, NO ONE COULD LIVE WITHIN TWO MILES OF A
FORT, SO THEY HAD TO PICK ANOTHER LOCATION IN ORDER
TO HAVE ANYBODY BE ABLE TO LIVE IN THEIR COUNTY SEAT.>>AFTER THE WAR, AND I
THINK IT WAS 1844, THEY DECIDED TO MOVE THE
SETTLEMENTS INTO WHERE OCALA IS TODAY. THEY TORE DOWN THE FORT
AND TOOK THE LUMBER IN THERE TO BUILD SOME OF THE
FIRST BUILDINGS IN OCALA.>>OCALA WAS A MAJOR
TIMUCUAN VILLAGE IN THE 16TH CENTURY. THE MODERN CITY OF OCALA
TAKES ITS NAME FROM THAT HISTORICAL VILLAGE. THE CITY OF OCALA WAS
ESTABLISHED IN 1849 AND STARTED TO PROSPER,
THANKS IN PART TO THE BEAUTY OF NEARBY
SILVER SPRINGS.>>TOURISM AT THE SPRINGS
GOES WAY BACK TO THE EARLIEST DAYS. ULYSSES GRANT VISITED HERE
AND STAYED AT A HOTEL DOWNTOWN. THERE WAS A PERIOD
BEFORE THE COMING OF THE RAILROADS AND EVEN AFTER
THE RAILROADS CAME THAT THE EASIEST WAY TO GET
INTO MARION COUNTY IN OCALA WAS BY OF THE
STEAMBOATS THAT CAME UP THE OCKLAWAHA UP TO SILVER
RIVER TO THE HEADWATERS OF THE SPRINGS.>>IT GAVE PEOPLE A REASON
TO COME HERE AND COMING BY BOAT WAS EASIEST. THE STAGE COACH FROM
GAINESVILLE TO OCALA TOOK 12 HOURS AND FROM PALATKA
TO OCALA TOOK 15 HOURS. SO THE BOAT WAS A
LITTLE BIT FASTER.>>WITH THE ARRIVAL OF THE
RAILROAD, OCALA CONTINUED TO GROW. HOWEVER, DISASTER
WOULD SOON HIT.>>THANKSGIVING WEEKEND IN
1883, THERE WAS WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE GREAT
FIRE IN OCALA. IT BURNED MOST OF THE
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT.>>IT BURNED THE NEWLY
COMPLETED OCALA HOUSE HOTEL, WHICH IT HAD ITS
GRAND OPENING THE WEEK BEFORE, AND THEN THE WIND
SHIFTED AND IT WHIPPED AROUND THE OTHER SIDE OF
THE SQUARE AND BURNED ALL THE BUILDINGS THERE. AFTER THE FIRE, ON THE
EXTERIOR OF YOUR BUILDINGS YOU HAD TO HAVE
FIREPROOF MATERIAL. SINCE BRICK WAS CHEAPER,
EVERYBODY BUILT IN BRICK, AND THE NICKNAME
BRICK CITY STARTED.>>THE CITY WOULD REBUILD
AND BECOME AN IMPORTANT CENTER FOR CITRUS
PRODUCTION. BUT ONCE AGAIN, DISASTER
HIT WITH THE GREAT FREEZE.>>THERE WAS A TERRIBLE
FREEZE IN THE WINTER OF 1894, 1895 AND IT WIPED
OUT SO MUCH OF THE CITRUS INDUSTRY. FARMERS DIVERSIFIED AND
IT BROUGHT IN MORE TRUCK FARMING AND MORE CATTLE.>>MAMA’S PEOPLE CAME
HERE IN THE 1840S. THEY HAVE ENDURED ALL
SORTS OF HARDSHIPS, HEALTH HARDSHIPS, THE FREEZES
THAT DAMAGED CROPS AND THINGS. I THINK THE RESILIENCY,
THESE FOLKS WERE TOUGH, THEY HAD TO BE.>>IN THE EARLY 1940S,
OCALA’S FUTURE WAS TURNED IN A NEW DIRECTION
AS CARL G. ROSE ESTABLISHED THE VERY
FIRST THOROUGHBRED HORSE FARM CALLED ROSEWOOD.>>OCALA HAS EVOLVED INTO
A MAJOR TRAINING AREA FOR THOROUGHBREDS. IT’S BECOME THE HORSE
CAPITAL OF THE WORLD FOR MANY DISCIPLINES AND FOR
MANY HORSE ENTHUSIASTS.>>WE HAVE THE CLIMATE THAT
ALLOWS US TO TRAIN HORSES EVERY DAY. IF YOU LOVE HORSES, YOU’RE
ABLE TO RIDE HORSES EVERY DAY.>>WE HAVE THE SAME LIME
ROCK UNDERNEATH OUR GROUND HERE AS THEY
HAVE IN KENTUCKY.>>LIMESTONE IS VERY
GOOD FOR HORSES’ BONES. IT’S VERY CONDUCIVE TO
RAISE A VERY GOOD HORSE.>>THE KEY TO US
ALSO IS THE WEATHER. OUR BABIES ARE OUT THE
FIRST DAY THEY’RE BORN AND THEY’RE OUT ALMOST
ALL THE TIME. AND WE HAVE A LITTLE
GROWTH EDGE ON OUR NEIGHBORS IN KENTUCKY.>>OCALA AND MARION COUNTY
IS GREAT HORSE COUNTRY AND THE THOROUGHBRED COMMUNITY
FOUND THAT OUT IN 1956 WHEN BONNIE HEATH FARM
AND A HORSE NAMED NEEDLES HELPED PUT OCALA AND
MARION COUNTY ON THE MAP.>>BONNIE HEATH FARM REALLY
WAS ONE OF THE ORIGINALS, NO QUESTION THAT THE FARM
DID PUT OCALA AND MARION COUNTY ON THE MAP BECAUSE
NEEDLES WAS THE FIRST CHAMPION THOROUGHBRED AND
THEN HE CAME BACK TO BE CHAMPION AGAIN AS
A THREE-YEAR-OLD. I ASKED MY DAD, “WAS
NEEDLES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BOOM IN THE
THOROUGHBRED BUSINESS?” HE SAID, NO. HE SAID, “WE STARTED IT.”
HE SAID, “WHAT HAPPENED WAS GOING TO HAPPEN
ANYWAY,” AND LETTING ME KNOW MY DAD
WAS A LAND MAN. HE WAS A LAND MAN
FROM THE OIL FIELD. HE KNEW GOOD PROPERTY WHEN
HE SAW IT AND HE KNEW WHAT IT TOOK TO RAISE GOOD
ANIMALS AND THIS IS WHAT IT IS. THAT’S WHAT OCALA IS.>>BONNIE HEATH AND JACK
DUDLEY WERE CONVINCED BY THEIR TRAINER TO BUY THE
HORSE THAT TURNED OUT TO BE NEEDLES. ALTHOUGH IT’S A MIRACLE
THAT NEEDLES EVER EVEN MADE IT TO THE TRACK.>>THEY CAME UP WITH
$20,000 IN EARLY ’55, VERY EARLY ’55 TO BUY NEEDLES
AND OF COURSE, THE REST IS HISTORY AS THEY SAY. IT’S A MIRACLE THAT
NEEDLES IS EVEN HERE. THE WHOLE STORY IS,
IT’S PRETTY SPECIAL.>>NEEDLES ALMOST DIDN’T
MAKE IT AS A BABY. HE WAS A LATE
FOAL FIRST OF ALL. BUT HE HAD PNEUMONIA AND
HE DARN NEAR DIED AND DR. BRONNER, DR. RUBEN
BRONNER, WAS A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL MAN WAS THE
ONLY VET AROUND HERE. DR.BRONNER WOULD COME GIVE
HIM SHOTS AND THEN BILL AND DICKEY LEACH, HIS WIFE
WAS DICKEY LEACH, SHE WAS A NURSE AND SHE WAS ABLE
TO GIVE THE SHOTS HERSELF. SO, NEEDLES HAD MANY, MANY
INJECTIONS AND THAT’S WHERE HIS NAME CAME
FROM WAS FROM ALL THE INJECTIONS THAT HE HAD. HE WON THE DERBY
ON GUTS AND CLASS. HE REALLY DID. IT’S PRETTY NEAT STUFF.>>AND HERE THEY GO. NINE THREE YEAR OLDS OFF
AND RUNNING IN THE MILE AND THREE SIXTEENTHS RACE. SHORTER…>>NEEDLES ALMOST WON THE
TRIPLE CROWN IN 1956. AFTER WINNING THE DERBY,
HE FINISHED SECOND IN THE PREAKNESS AND WENT ON TO
WIN THE BELMONT AS WELL.>>OCALA WITHOUT THE HORSE
INDUSTRY WOULD BE A VERY LONELY PLACE TO ME. IT’S A TREMENDOUS
ECONOMIC INFLUENCE. A THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY
CONTRIBUTES, I BELIEVE, IT’S 2.6 OR 2.8 BILLION,
WITH A “B” NOW, DOLLARS TO THE STATE ECONOMY
EVERY YEAR. WE ARE A MAJOR PLAYER
TO THE WHOLE STATE, BUT PARTICULARLY IN
MARION COUNTY.>>NEEDLES WAS BORN IN
1953 AT THE FAMED DICKEY STABLES AND JUST THREE
YEARS LATER THAT BECAME WHAT IS NOW
OCALA STUD FARM.>>MY FAMILY CAME HERE IN
1956 FROM WESTMINSTER, MARYLAND ON THE NOTION
THAT OCALA COULD BE A VERY GOOD PLACE TO BREED, RAISE
AND TRAIN THOROUGHBREDS.>>WE HAVE GREAT GRASS, WE
HAVE GOOD ROLLING HILLS, BIG BEAUTIFUL OAK TREES. IT’S VERY CONDUCIVE
FOR YOUNG HORSES, DEVELOPMENT-WISE, BEING
ABLE TO RAISE A VERY GOOD HORSE. WE HAVE THE OLDEST ACTIVE
THOROUGHBRED TRAINING BARN IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. IT’S JUST A UNIQUE,
BEAUTIFUL SETTING, GOOD ENERGY, AND JUST A REALLY
NICE OLD SCHOOL BARN THAT HORSES DO REALLY WELL
IN AND IT HAS JUST A WONDERFUL ATMOSPHERE. THAT BARN WAS BUILT
IN THE LATE 40’S. WE’RE JUST FORTUNATE TO
BE ABLE TO OPERATE OUT OF THESE OLD BARNS. THEY’RE NOT MODERNIZED,
BUT THEY GET THE JOB DONE AND SOMETIMES
OLD SCHOOL WORKS.>>OCALA STUD WAS ALSO ONE OF THE
FIRST TO HAVE A THERAPY POOL FOR HORSES.>>THAT POOL WAS
INSTALLED IN 1958. IT WAS INSTALLED FOR OUR
STALWARTS STALLION ROUGH AND TUMBLE. HE WAS THE LEADING
SIRE IN THE STATE. HE HAD LAMINITIS,
SORE FEET. THE POOL ALLOW HIM TO BE
ABLE TO GET SOME EXERCISE AND BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY. IT’S THE FIRST OF ITS KIND
AND WE STILL USE THE POOL TODAY. [BELL RINGING] THE U.S.S. KENTUCKY BELL IS A UNIQUE
TRADITION TO OCALA STUD. MY GRANDFATHER WAS VERY
PROUD OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA AND HE FELT
STRONGLY THAT WE COULD COMPETE WITH KENTUCKY AND
HOW WE RAISED HORSES. HE FELT VERY STRONGLY THAT
HE COULD RAISE JUST AS GOOD, IF NOT A BETTER
HORSE THAN KENTUCKY. ANYTIME A FLORIDA-BRED WON
A STAKES RACE, HE RANG THE BELL FOR EVERYBODY
ON THE FARM TO HEAR. OCALA HAS EVOLVED INTO A
MAJOR TRAINING AREA FOR THOROUGHBREDS. I THINK FLORIDA-BREDS OUTRUN THEIR PEDIGREE. WE RAISE A TOUGH HORSE
HERE IN FLORIDA. POUND FOR POUND, I THINK
OUR PRODUCT STACKS UP WITH THE BEST IN THE WORLD.>>WELL, WE’RE HERE WITH
LONNY POWELL, WHO’S THE CEO OF THE FLORIDA
THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS & OWNERS ASSOCIATION. THANKS FOR HAVING
US OUT, LONNY.>>HEY, IT’S GREAT TO
HAVE YOU HERE IN OCALA. WELCOME TO MARION COUNTY.>>WELL, TELL US
A LITTLE BIT… I BEEN TOLD MARION COUNTY
IS ONE OF THOSE SPECIAL PLACES AS IT RELATES TO
RAISING THOROUGHBREDS. WHY IS THAT?>>IT REALLY IS, I MEAN,
NOT JUST THOROUGHBREDS, BUT HORSES SPECIFICALLY
AND, OR IN GENERAL. WE’RE THE LARGEST
COUNTY IN THE U.S. IN TERMS OF ACTUAL HORSE
AND PONY POPULATION, HORSES OF ALL BREEDS. FIRST OF ALL, WE’RE
VERY MUCH AN EQUICENTRIC COMMUNITY. FOR MANY YEARS
THERE’S JUST BEEN A STELLAR TRADITION OF NOT
ONLY GREAT EQUINES THAT HAVE COME OUT OF THIS
AREA, BUT FANTASTIC PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE NAMES FOR
THEMSELVES IN ALL ASPECTS OF THE HORSE BUSINESS. SOME SAY IT’S OUR
SPECIAL AQUIFERS. IT’S OUR MINERALS
IN OUR SOIL. IT’S THE GRASS, VERY
SIMILAR TO THE BLUE GRASS IN KENTUCKY. I LIKE TO LOOK AT IT AS
A, IT’S LIKE KENTUCKY BUT WITH PALM TREES, A LOT
MORE SUNSHINE AND THAT A LITTLE BIT OF THAT SPECIAL
FLORIDA LAID BACK THAT TRANSCENDS FROM THE PEOPLE
TO THE HORSES THAT MAKES US SO SPECIAL.>>NOW WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
US BEING A SPECIAL PLACE, THIS IS ALSO A
GLOBAL THING.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>THE HORSES ARE A
GLOBAL PHENOMENON. WHERE DO WE KIND OF
RANK IN THAT WORLD?>>WELL, WE’RE ONE OF THE
TOP MARKETS IN TERMS OF HORSES IN GENERAL
AND SPECIFICALLY, THOROUGHBREDS,
IN THE WORLD.>>FIRST OF ALL, IN TERMS
OF GENERAL HORSES, WE’RE THE THIRD MOST POPULOUS
HORSE STATE IN THE COUNTRY. IT’S CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS,
WHICH ARE MUCH MORE GEOGRAPHICALLY LARGER
THAN OURSELVES. THEN WHEN IT COMES TO
THOROUGHBREDS, WE’RE ONE OF THE TOP BREEDING AND
ONE OF THE TOP RACING JURISDICTIONS
IN THE WORLD. PURE BRED HORSES ARE ONE
OF THE LEADING EXPORTS FROM AN AGRICULTURAL
BUSINESS STANDPOINT FOR FLORIDA. AND WE’RE TRULY AN
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS. WE SPEND A GREAT DEAL OF
OUR TIME GOING TO PLACES LIKE CHINA AND KOREA,
SOUTH AMERICA, AND ALL OVER WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO
INVEST IN FLORIDA-BREDS OR INVEST IN FARMS HERE
IN MARION COUNTY. IT TRULY IS A GLOBAL
BUSINESS AND REALLY IMPORTANT TO THE
STATE’S ECONOMY.>>NOW WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT
BUSINESS, WHICH YOU SAID SEVERAL TIMES THERE,
OBVIOUSLY THERE’S GOING TO BE AN EVENT. LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT THE SALES EVENTS WHEN YOU HAVE
THOSE FOR FTBOA.>>YEAH. THE OCALA BREEDER STUDS
SALES ARE RENOWNED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. THEY TAKE PLACE HERE IN
MARION COUNTY, RIGHT HERE IN OCALA. THERE’S ABOUT SIX OF THOSE
SALES A YEAR AND THE SALES THAT THEY’RE BEST KNOWN
FOR ARE THEIR TWO-YEAR-OLD SALES THOUGH. THE HORSES THAT ARE JUST
GETTING READY FOR TRAINING AND RACING AGE, IT’S THE
TOP SALE IN THE WORLD. WHEN YOU COME HERE DURING
THIS, AND PARTICULARLY YOU LOOK AT THE APRIL OR THE
JUNE SALES, YOU’LL HAVE PEOPLE FROM NOT ONLY ALL
OVER NORTH AMERICA, BUT FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. AND IT MAKES SENSE TOO
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE POOL OF THOROUGHBREDS WE
HAVE TO DRAW FROM HERE IS, WE’RE THE THIRD LARGEST
BREEDING JURISDICTION OF THOROUGHBREDS IN NORTH
AMERICA OVER ALL THESE OTHER PROVINCES, OVER ALL
THESE OTHER STATES, AND PROBABLY A TOP SEVEN WORLD
INDUSTRY IN TERMS OF WHAT FLORIDA MEANS ON THE WORLD
ECONOMY WITH HORSES. IT’S A BIG, BIG DEAL. THERE’S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.>>IN ADDITION TO THE
BUSINESS ASPECT, THERE’S ALSO A BIG CHARITABLE
ASPECT FOR FTBOA, RIGHT?>>THAT’S CORRECT. WE REPRESENT THE BREEDERS
AND OWNERS INTERESTS THROUGHOUT THE STATE AND
PARTICULARLY HERE IN MARION COUNTY AND WE’RE
THE TYPE OF CULTURE THAT NOT ONLY DO WE RECEIVE,
WE LOVE TO GIVE BACK. A BIG PART OF WHAT WE DO
IS THROUGH OUR FLORIDA THOROUGHBREDS CHARITIES
THAT MY ORGANIZATION OVERSEES. WE OVERSEE A NUMBER OF
SUBSIDIARIES THAT BEING ONE OF THEM IS THE PRIMARY
RECIPIENT, IT’S OF OUR CHARITY THERE, ARE THE
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANTS AT THE VARIOUS COLLEGES
THROUGHOUT THE STATE. AND WE HAVE A HORSE FARM
UP AT LOWELL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTE FOR WOMEN THAT
HELPS RETIRED HORSES AND WOMEN WORKING THEMSELVES
OUT OF THEIR SENTENCES TO BE MAINSTREAM
BACK IN SOCIETY. IT ALLOWS BOTH A VERY GOOD
CHANCE TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER, TO REHAB THEMSELVES
IF YOU WILL, AND MAKE A GOOD LIFE FOR EACH OTHER. THOSE ARE SOME OF THE
THINGS THAT WE GET INVOLVED IN. AND YOU KNOW, ONE OTHER
THING I THINK IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO EMPHASIZE IS
THE FACT WHEN IT COMES TO JUST PURE JOBS AND
ECONOMIC IMPACT, THOROUGHBREDS ARE A THREE
BILLION DOLLAR ECONOMIC IMPACT ON AN ANNUAL
BASIS HERE IN FLORIDA. WE ARE 25,000 JOBS
AND THAT EXCEEDS THE PROFESSIONALS BASEBALL
SPRING TRAINING. THAT’S TO SHOW YOU HOW
MAGNIFICENT OF AN INDUSTRY THIS IS AND HOW RICH IT’S
ECONOMIC IMPACT AND JOBS ARE TO NOT ONLY MARION
COUNTY BUT TO THE STATE AS A WHOLE.>>WELL LONNY, THANK YOU
FOR YOUR TIME TODAY, WE CERTAINLY APPRECIATE IT. IT WAS GREAT TO MEET YOU
OUT HERE IN THE BEAUTIFUL OCALA STUD FARM.>>WELL THANKS FOR COMING. WE ENJOYED HAVING YOU AND
EVERYBODY COME OUT AND VISIT US AND THE HORSES AT
MARION COUNTY AND OCALA.>>HERE’S A CENTRAL FLORIDA
ROADTRIP FAST FACT FOR YOU ABOUT OCALA. DID YOU KNOW THAT IN 1995, OCALA
EARNED THE ALL-AMERICAN CITY AWARD? IT’S AN HONOR THAT IS
HANDED OUT TO TEN COMMUNITIES IN THE UNITED STATES EVERY YEAR
BY THE NATIONAL CIVIC LEAGUE.>>NOW LET’S SEE
WHAT OUR FAVORITE HISTORY DEVOTEE, DON PRICE, HAS
UNCOVERED FOR THIS WEEK’S ARTIFACT.>>THANKS PHIL. I’M HERE WITH CHIEF
CURATOR FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY
CENTER, PAMELA SCHWARTZ.>>HI THERE.>>AND WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS
SOME CENTRAL FLORIDA HIGHLIGHTS FROM OCALA. CAN YOU EXPLAIN A
LITTLE BIT ABOUT IT?>>ABSOLUTELY. WE ACTUALLY COLLECT
SEVERAL COUNTY’S WORTH OF ITEMS HERE AT THE
HISTORY CENTER. THIS IS FROM THE MCGEE
FAMILY AND THE MCGEES WERE A COUPLE, LOIS AND
BRIAN, WHO BOTH WORKED IN THE FILM INDUSTRY. BRIAN WAS ON THE FILM CREW
FOR MGM AND LOIS WAS IN COSTUME. WHAT WE HAVE HERE ARE A
SCRAPBOOK AND A LOT OF DIFFERENT PHOTOGRAPHS
AND DIFFERENT ITEMS SPECIFICALLY ABOUT
“THE YEARLING”. THE YEARLING, IF PEOPLE
AREN’T FAMILIAR, THEY HOPEFULLY ARE, IT WAS
WRITTEN IN 1938 BY MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINGS
AND LATER ADAPTED INTO A FILM BY 1946. THIS IS A REALLY
INTERESTING INTIMATE VIEW OF THE BEHIND THE
SCENES IN THE YEARLING. YOU SEE PHOTOS HERE OF THE
DEER IN THEIR PENS, OF THE TOWER THAT THEY BUILT TO
SHOOT THE FIRST OPENING SCENE OF THE YEARLING.>>WOW.>>IT’S NOT THE TYPE OF
THING YOU CAN JUST SEE IF YOU LOOK UP THE YEARLING
ON THE INTERNET, IT’S THINGS THAT A PERSON
WHO WORKED ON THE FILM ACTUALLY PUT TOGETHER
AND CREATED A SCRAPBOOK.>>AND WHAT MAKES THESE
SO IMPORTANT TO CENTRAL FLORIDA’S HISTORY?>>WELL, IT’S
THE BIG THING. WE ALL KNOW THERE’S BEEN
A LOT OF FILMS THAT HAVE BEEN FILMED HERE. AND THE THING ABOUT THE
YEARLING THAT I FIND REALLY INTERESTING IS THAT
OCALA IS STILL PRESERVED AS A BIT OF A WILD PLACE. BUT LOOKING BACK AT THAT
FILM, YOU CAN GET A REALLY GOOD FEEL FOR WHAT CRACKER
PIONEER LIFE WAS REALLY LIKE. IT’S REALLY A GLIMPSE INTO
THE PAST BECAUSE THOUGH IT WAS FILMED IN THE 1940S IT
INDICATES A MUCH EARLIER TIME EVEN. AND SO IT’S SPECIAL
THINGS AND IT’S ALSO PERSONALIZED. HERE WE HAVE THIS PHOTO OF
GREGORY PECK, AND THERE’S A LOT OF AUTOGRAPHED
IMAGES OF GREGORY PECK FLOATING AROUND OUT THERE,
I’M SURE, BUT THIS ONE’S ACTUALLY INSCRIBED TO LOIS
MCGEE WHO IS FROM HERE AND WORKED ON THAT COSTUME AND
IT SAYS, “TO LOIS MCGEE, WITH ALL GOOD WISHES FROM
A FELLOW CRACKER.” AND SO THAT MAKES IT VERY SPECIAL
TO US BECAUSE HE WOULD NOT HAVE WRITTEN THAT ON
SOMEBODY’S THING MAYBE IN MINNESOTA’S WHERE SOME OF
IT WAS FILMED, ET CETERA. AND HE WAS SORT OF A
HANDSOME FELLOW SO WE’RE LUCKY TO HAVE THAT
IN THE COLLECTION. BUT IT’S ALL UNIQUE PIECES
OF A PUZZLE THAT WE PUT TOGETHER TO TELL
US A LARGER… A STORY ABOUT CENTRAL
FLORIDA HISTORY.>>THERE’S SO MANY
TREASURES HERE AT THE HISTORY CENTER. THANKS AGAIN PAM FOR
SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH US.>>TIME FOR US TO SHIFT
GEARS A LITTLE BIT NOW AND TALK ABOUT A DIFFERENT
KIND OF HORSEPOWER. JUST A LITTLE BIT SOUTH
OF OCALA LIVES A SPORTING LEGEND AND THERE IS NO
NAME BIGGER IN THE WORLD OF DRAG RACING THAN BIG
DADDY, DON GARLITS.>>HE’S THE NUMBER ONE.>>HE’S JUST THE
MAN TO BEAT.>>HE’S A SUPERIOR.>>HE’S A GENIUS WHEN
IT COMES TO A TOP FUEL ENGINE.>>HE’S IT. HE’S BIG DADDY.>>LEGEND IN HIS OWN TIME,
WINNER OF MORE TOP FUEL… COMING OUT OF THE TIRE. SMOKE IS DOWN,
GARLITS’ THE WINNER.>>I LOVE DRAG RACING
AND I LOVE AUTOMOBILES. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A PERSON
THAT LIKES TO THINK OUT OF THE BOX, AND TRY THINGS. YOU CAN SEE ALL OF MY
EXPERIMENTS WEREN’T SUCCESSFUL, BUT EVEN
THE FAILURES GAVE YOU INFORMATION
THAT YOU NEEDED.>>FROM THE INCEPTION OF
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER IN THE 1960S, ALL SUCCESSFUL RACE
CARS LOOKED LIKE THIS ONE, WITH THE ENGINE IN
FRONT OF THE DRIVER. BUT THAT ALL CHANGED
ON MARCH 8TH, 1970.>>I GOT HURT REAL
BAD AT LONG BEACH. THE TRANSMISSION, MY OWN
THAT I HAD DESIGNED, EXPLODED THE DRUM, SPLIT
IT INTO TWO PIECES, TO LIKE A TWO BLADED BIG SAW,
SAWED THE CAR IN HALF AND CUT MY FOOT OFF.>>GARLITS KNEW THERE
HAD TO BE A SAFER WAY. SO WHILE RECOVERING IN
THE HOSPITAL, HE BEGAN TO DESIGN A NEW CAR WITH THE
ENGINE MOUNTED BEHIND THE DRIVER.>>AFTER OVERCOMING SOME
FRUSTRATING STEERING ISSUES, HE DEBUTED HIS
NEW REAR ENGINE CAR NAMED SWAMP RAT 14 PRIOR
TO THE 1971 SEASON. BIG DADDY TOOK THE CAR TO
CALIFORNIA, WON THE RACE AND CHANGED THE FACE OF
TOP FUEL DRAG RACING, FOREVER.>>PEOPLE ASKED ME, WHAT DO
YOU FEEL IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS? THE NUMBER ONE IS THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE REAR-ENGINE CAR THAT
SAVED SO MANY LIVES. THERE HAVEN’T BEEN SIX
PEOPLE KILLED SINCE 1970 AND LOOK AT THE
DIFFERENCE IN THE SPEEDS. IT PROBABLY WAS THE
GREATEST SAFETY INNOVATION IN MOTOR RACING.>>BIG DADDY EXPERIENCED
ANOTHER E-TICKET WILD RIDE AT ENGLISHTOWN IN 1986
DRIVING SWAMP RAT 30.>>IT LEFT THE LINE WITH
THE WHEELS UP JUST A LITTLE BIT AND AS THE
SPEED INCREASED IT HYDROPLANED UP ON
THIS CUSHION OF AIR. AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELF,
“OH MY GOD, I’M GOING TO HURT THIS WONDERFUL CAR.”
AND THEN A LITTLE VOICE IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD SAID,
“YOU BETTER REMEMBER SOMETHING, YOU’RE IN IT.”
GOING 200 MILES AN HOUR, THEN IT STRAIGHT UP AND
THEN IT PIROUETTED AROUND AND WHEN IT DID THAT,
THANK GOD THE WIND BLEW IT BACK DOWN. IT DIDN’T KNOCK ME OUT OR
ANYTHING, I GOT OUT AND RAISED MY HANDS
TO THE CROWD. BEEN A LOT OF
MIRACLES IN MY LIFE. THAT WAS ONE OF
THE SMALL ONES. THERE’D BEEN A
COUPLE OF BIG ONES. I’VE SEEN THE PRESENCE OF
GOD MANY TIMES AND THAT’S A LOT BIGGER FORCE THAN
WE EVEN UNDERSTAND.>>AT THE AGE OF 87,
BIG DADDY IS NOW THE AMBASSADOR FOR THE SPORT
THAT HE HELPED CREATE. ENCOMPASSING THE SPORT’S
HISTORY AT HIS DRAG RACING MUSEUM JUST
SOUTH OF OCALA.>>WHEN YOU COME TO THE DON
GARLITS MUSEUM OF DRAG RACING, WE COVER THE SPORT
ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING IN THE LATE
40S, AND NOW THIS IS THE LARGEST DRAG RACING MUSEUM
ON THE PLANET AND THE ONLY ONE THAT’S DEVOTED
STRICTLY TO DRAG RACING.>>THE MUSEUM ALSO INCLUDES
A CLASSIC ANTIQUES CAR BUILDING FILLED WITH
OVER 50 CLASSIC RIDES. FOR MANY, THIS IS TRULY
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. FROM ROADSTERS TO MUSCLE
CARS, TO EVEN DWIGHT EISENHOWER’S ’56 CHRYSLER.>>IF YOU LOOK AROUND IN
THIS ROOM AND THESE OTHER ROOMS, YOU SEE THIS
FACILITY HERE AND YOU LOOK AT THE RECORD, THERE’S NO
WAY THAT A PERSON SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS, ALL
OF THIS IN A LIFETIME. I JUST LIKE PEOPLE TO SAY
THAT I LEFT EVERYTHING BETTER THAN I FOUND IT. THAT’S WHAT I WANT
TO BE REMEMBERED FOR. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE
SPEEDS OR ANYTHING. I MEAN, THAT’S GREAT, BUT
TO BE A GOOD HUMAN BEING AND MAKE SOME KIND OF A
CONTRIBUTION, THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO BE
REMEMBERED FOR.>>YOU KNOW, THERE’S AN
AWFUL LOT TO SEE AT THE DON GARLITS DRAG RACING
MUSEUM AND YOU KNOW, THERE’S ANOTHER FAMILIAR
NAME FROM OCALA WHO MADE A BIG IMPACT ON
UCF FOOTBALL.>>THIS OCALA NATIVE GOT HIS
ATHLETIC START AT VANGUARD HIGH SCHOOL, AND THEN WENT ON TO
REWRITE VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE QUARTERBACK RECORDS AT UCF, OCALA’S OWN DAUNTE CULPEPPER
CONTINUED HIS CAREER WITH 11 SEASONS IN THE NFL.>>WE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE
DON GARLITS DRAG RACING MUSEUM, BUT DID YOU KNOW
THERE’S ANOTHER MUSEUM HERE IN OCALA THAT MAY BE
A LITTLE BIT LESSER KNOWN, BUT IT’S ACTUALLY IN THE
GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS. ♪ MUSIC ♪>>WHY
FLAMINGOS, YOU ASK? IT’S LIKE, WHY NOT. I JUST LOVE THEM AND
THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT
LOVE THEM ALSO. IN 2008, IS WHEN I BROUGHT
THE COLLECTION IN TO THE SHOP HERE TO HAVE MY
CUSTOMERS ENJOY THEM ALSO. I HAVE EXACTLY 1,197
FLAMINGO ITEMS IN MY COLLECTION NOW
AND GROWING DAILY. A CUSTOMER BROUGHT IN AN
ARTICLE ONE DAY ABOUT THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD. SO I SAID, “WELL, I CAN
DO THAT.” IT WAS QUITE A PRODUCTION, A 14
MONTH PRODUCTION. IN ABOUT SIX MONTHS LATER,
I GET THIS EMAIL SAYING I’VE GOT THE GUINNESS
WORLD RECORD. THAT OPENED UP ANOTHER
BALL OF FLAMINGOS BECAUSE PEOPLE JUST CAME FROM ALL
OVER BECAUSE IT’S A WORLD EVENT. I’M KNOWN WORLD-WIDE NOW. THE REACTION I GET FROM
PEOPLE WHEN THEY COME IN ARE MIXED. 99% OF EVERYBODY THAT
COMES IN, “OH WOW. I LOVE YOUR COLLECTION.”
AND THEN THERE’S SOME PEOPLE, MOSTLY MEN,
THAT DON’T GET IT. MOSTLY PEOPLE MAKE AN
EFFORT TO COME OUT OF THEIR WAY TO COME SEE THE
FLAMINGO MUSEUM AND THAT’S WHAT I ENJOY. I’M PROUD OF IT. I STILL HAVE A HARD TIME
SAYING THAT I AM THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD
HOLDER FOR THE MOST FLAMINGOS IN A
COLLECTION IN THE WORLD. I HAVE MY CUSTOM FRAME
SHOP HERE AND THAT’S WHAT PAYS ALL THE BILLS SO
I CAN HAVE A FLAMINGO MUSEUM. BUT AS LONG AS I’M THE
GUINNESS RECORD HOLDER AND PEOPLE WANT TO COME,
I’LL JUST BE HERE.>>INTERESTINGLY, THE
FLAMINGO, AND NOT THE PLASTIC KIND, IS ACTUALLY
THE NATIONAL BIRD OF THE BAHAMAS. [TRUCK HORN]>>WE’RE ON THE ROAD
ONCE AGAIN NEXT WEEK. THIS TIME STOPPING IN
ORANGE COUNTY’S SECOND LARGEST CITY, APOPKA. ITS HISTORY INCLUDES A
MAYOR THAT SERVED FOR MORE THAN SIX DECADES, AND IT’S
A PLACE WHERE BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER. AND IT’S ALSO A PLACE
WHERE YOU CAN FIND A DOGGONE GOOD TIME. THAT’S NEXT WEEK ON
CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP.>>THINK YOU MIGHT KNOW A BIT
OF OCALA HISTORY THAT WE MISSED? WELL THEN HEAD ON OVER TO
FACEBOOK.COM/WUCFTV AND LET US KNOW. AND FOR MORE ADVENTURES
AROUND OUR AREA, CHECK OUT THE OTHER EPISODES OF
[email protected] F.ORG/ROADTRIP. THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US HERE ON THIS EPISODE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA ROADTRIP. MAKE SURE YOU TUNE IN NEXT
TIME FOR MORE OF THE RICH HISTORY THAT SURROUNDS US
EVERY DAY RIGHT HERE, IN CENTRAL FLORIDA.>>THIS PROGRAM IS BROUGHT
TO YOU IN PART BY THE PAUL B. HUNTER & CONSTANCE D. HUNTER CHARITABLE
FOUNDATION INC., A PROUD PARTNER OF WUCF TV AND THE
CENTRAL FLORIDA COMMUNITY.

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