Road Kings' Car Show

Anna Octane, with the Stormy Byrd Race Team, sits in the ruby red Revelation, a modified fuel roadster that roared during the Road Kings' Car Show last year at Johnny Carson Park. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Mark Sellers describes the music his band Wildhorse plays as southern country rock with a soulful rhythm-and-blues feel.

“I always add southern to it because I grew up in the South and that is really where country rock came from — you have the Eagles and the Allman Brothers and Creedence Clearwater Revival — so we play ’70s classic rock,” Sellers said.

But they shake things up with Motown hits like “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and R&B tunes such as “Soul Man” — music that inspires people to dance.

“I'm a southern soul shaker,” he said.

The band also plays original songs such as “Ables’ Road.” Sellers wrote the music and lyrics. It's about Cline Ables, a minister he knew while growing up in northern Alabama. Ables used to take Sellers along with him to church, to a Shetland pony stable or to deliver fruit or hens to the local seniors home.

“I would ask him, ‘Why do you do that?’ And he'd say, ‘Because a lot of those people don't have anyone — their children don't even come see them,’” Sellers said. “When you are a kid, you don't understand a habit for humanity.”

Watching the preacher tend to people in the last days of their lives impressed Sellers and that stayed with him, so he felt compelled to write the song after Ables passed away.

“It was a way that I could say ‘thank you’ for what he did for me when he was here,” Sellers said. “He was a unique man.”

Those who are intrigued can hear the band play during the Road Kings’ 24th annual Picnic in the Park and Charity Car Show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at Johnny Carson Park.

“The music we play goes well with hot rods,” said Sellers, who lives in Toluca Lake.

A pancake breakfast cooked by members from Kiwanis for Fun will begin at 8 a.m. The breakfast will be followed by the opening ceremony at 9 a.m. featuring the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Gino Gaudio.

At 10 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, hot rod owners will turn their ignition keys and let their 2,500-plus horsepower engines roar for the Nitro Fest, said Road Kings spokesman Don Baldaseroni.

More than 300 classics, hot rods and muscle cars will be displayed, along with vintage boats and motorcycles. The Burbank Fire Department, celebrating its 100th year, will be showing its 1913 Moreland Fire Truck and its 1915 Christie truck pulling a 1905 Steam Pumper.

Admission is free for spectators and participants. Lunch will be barbecued by Kiwanis members and vendors will be displaying car-related items. There will be drawings for gift baskets and Road Kings memorabilia, honoring the car club's 61 years of racing and rodding.

Charities benefiting from the show are the auto shop classes at the local high schools, Verdugo Hills chapter of Boy Scouts, and the Burbank Police Foundation, which supports the Burbank Police Department's K9 and mounted units.

“People don't know how much money it takes to care for the horses and police dogs,” Baldaseroni said.

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