cycling jerseys cheap ‘The Jerseyman’ turns hobby into livelihood

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The numbers on a digital sign near Jim Weber’s pop up tent on State Road 54 said it was 103 degrees.

Wearing a thick black pit shirt with the word Aflac written in bold white letters across the front (just like the ones NASCAR pit crew members wear on racing days), Weber didn’t seem to care. He joked that he has plenty of air conditioning when the wind blows.

“They call these one to one replicas,” Weber said as he flipped his way through a rack of NFL jerseys, including ones similar to those worn by Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Joe Montana when he was with the San Francisco 49ers.

He even had a replica Carl Crawford jersey from Crawford’s rookie year with the club then known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Every Wednesday and Friday, Weber and his array of sports memorabilia can be found on the corner of State Road 54 and Allen Road, in front of Big Lots. 301 in Zephyrhills.

“On Saturdays, I usually go to card shows or flea markets,” he said. “Hell, I get to Daytona when I can.”

At Daytona International Speedway, Weber, a photography enthusiast who also peddles pictures he has taken at NASCAR races, said he would love to get more shots of Zephyrhills native David Reutimann, who is fighting to make a name for himself on the circuit. 54, Weber already is selling pictures he took of Reutimann during a NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

“I was up in the tower, row 48,
cycling jerseys cheap 'The Jerseyman' turns hobby into livelihood
” Weber said. “He was coming right out of the pit.”

Weber has long been a sports fan, although he didn’t try to earn a living selling memorabilia until he essentially was forced to do so.

For years, he was a construction supervisor with Kimmins Contracting Corp. of Tampa, but the building bust recently left him without a job.

“They didn’t have the work to justify my position,” he said. “They had to cut back. Being 62, where am I going to get a job?”

So Weber, who lives in Zephyrhills with Melody, his wife of 19 years, decided to try to transform his longtime hobby into a livelihood.

Besides his roadside venture, he also displays some of his merchandise at the recently opened Big Time Sports Tavern on Gall Boulevard.

“We got some Jimmy Johnson stuff and some Reutimann stuff, a bunch of plaques and a Dale Earnhardt lamp,” Big Time owner Floyd Staley said. “When football season starts, I’ll give him a couple of parking spaces and let him set up.

“It’s good stuff. One of the (items) he has here now even has a piece of a (NASCAR) car in it. It’s pretty neat.”

He looked around at his collectibles: the Jeff Gordon autographed hat; all of the bumper stickers and koozies; the key rings; hats;
cycling jerseys cheap 'The Jerseyman' turns hobby into livelihood
and T shirts.

Weber said he obtains his merchandise via the Internet and various contacts he has made in the world of sports memorabilia. He said he has certificates of authenticity for autographed items.