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Sarge in charge

September 30, 2010

William Stidham, better known as Sarge, cleans
vehicles Thursday at the Ensure Classic at Rock
Barn presented by Kia Motors.

Sarge is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy -  or at least that's what he says.
But the product of Sarge's work during the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn presented by Kia Motors is anything but behind the scenes.
The shiny, brand new vehicles line Rock Barn parking lots and golf greens, and if you've ever been blinded at the tournament by the sun's glint off a sparkling windshield, you've got Sarge, 48, of Catfish, to thank.
Sarge, whose real name is William Stidham, washes, cleans and shines more than 100 Kia vehicles included in tournament operations.
"Some of them I've washed countless times, because they go out and they get dirty again," Sarge said.
Sarge details cars for Paramount Kia and several other area car dealerships. This is his fourth year cleaning vehicles for the Classic.
"Everyone has been so nice," Sarge said. "(Players) come by; they smile; they say 'Hi.' I'm just really happy to be part of this."
Ensure Classic vehicles are used to shuttle tournament players and officials from place to place during the tournament's duration.
Many of the cars Sarge washed this week were brand new - zero miles on the odometer and plastic covers on the seats.
But that doesn't mean the vehicles are up to Sarge's standard of clean.
"They're straight off the truck, so there's some grime from the road," he said.
When the Ensure Classic isn't in town, Sarge cleans about 1,000 cars weekly, and it's a task he always enjoyed.
"I've had a passion for detailing cars from when I was a teenager," Sarge said. "Four hours with me, and (the owner) won't recognize it."
Sarge also polishes the tournment's display vehicles every hour, removing fingerprints and hand marks from curious spectators.
"People are looking for a clean, shiny vehicle," he said.
Sarge's job was complicated this week by large amounts of rain in Catawba County.
"There was a lot of mud," he said.
Of course, Sarge enjoys some time off, too.
When he isn't detailing a big, red SUV, he's wearing a big, red crawdad suit.
That's right - Sarge volunteers as Conrad the Crawdad during baseball season.
"It's the joy of working with the kids," he said.
Sarge was working at Skateland USA in Newton three years ago when he saw Conrad the Crawdad interacting with a group of young children.
"I said, 'If you ever need any help, let me know,'" Sarge said.
Two weeks later, he got a call from the Crawdads. "They said, 'What are you doing the rest of the season?'"
Whether he's running around the field at L.P. Frans Stadium or buffing a Kia at the Ensure Classic, Sarge takes pride in what he's doing.
"I've been all over the world - Iraq, Korea, Japan - and I'm comfortable (here) now, he said."
 

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