Local Charities Benefit from Road King Car Shows

Burbank Police Officer John Embleton, from left, with his police dog, Stevo, receives a donation from Road Kings members President Eddie Salvatore and car show chairman Don Baldaseroni. (photo courtesy Ben Curtis)

The Burbank Road Kings recently presented local philanthropies with funds they raised during their two annual car shows.

One show is held in June at Johnny Carson and the other in October at Santa Anita Park, said Don Baldaseroni, car show chairman.

Members are are planning the 25th annual Picnic in the Park and Charity Car Show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at Johnny Carson Park. Admission is free for spectators and participants with parking in the lots across the street from the park.

“The club is presenting the Nitrofest or as they say ‘Nitro Madness’ — the thunder from nostalgic top fuel dragsters,” Baldaseroni said. “More than 500 hot rods, classics, muscle cars, vintage boats and motorcycles will be displayed throughout the park.”

Other attractions include a 40-vendor midway with car-related items and more, a silent auction and live music by the Mark Sellers Band.

This is the last show at Johnny Carson Park until the city completes refurbishing it. The Road Kings are working with the city to find another Burbank location for the car show, Baldaseroni said.

The car club’s success in raising funds, Balaseroni said, is through the support of The Giamela family, Cusumano Real Estate Group, Gary Bric’s Ramp and many other businesses in town.

Charities that received donations at the May 13 meeting were the Burbank Police and Fire Museum, Burbank Fire Muster Club, Burbank Equestrian and K-9 Unit, Burbank Historical Society, Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Boy Scouts of America – Verdugo Hills Council, Dog Tags for Soldiers for Kids project, Burbank High School auto shop program and Relay for Life.

The Road Kings car club was established in 1952 in Burbank. Initially it was formed as a racing club with a few hot rods mixed in, Baldaseroni said. In 1999, at the National Hot Rod Assn. Hot Rod Reunion, the Road Kings were recognized as the Justice Brothers Spotlight Club.

Other recognition has come from the U.S. Congress, Eagle 1, City of Burbank and others. While the club now is more hot rod than racer-oriented, there are still a number of members who race in the NHRA and in Nostalgia Drags. Don “The Snake” Prudhomme remains a member and in 2000 he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.