WOW! Another great Camaro Nationals. Maybe the best one yet held in Maryland. The weather could not have been much better….it was raining all around, but not in Frederick. That may have hurt the Day of Show entries, as some were hesitant to leave their home town in the rain, but we all had a good time. The cars were the stars – from Concept to everyday drivers. It was awesome.
Starting with the Birthday Cruise and BBQ on Thursday evening, the Nationals were off and running. April did a great job with the route to the park and the cruise itself. The BBQ was great, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. 80 cars participated in the rolling cruise, and 221 people enjoyed the pork and chicken BBQ with all the fixings. Cathy Newman assisted by George Warner took pictures of most every car as it exited the one covered bridge, and posted them on the MCC facebook page.
Friday started off with cars rolling in to register and pick up their goody bags; and to get thier info for the weekend. Building 9 was full with many outstanding cars. Building 14A was full of vendors, and the outside vendor area was filling up as well. We even had cars in the Auto Corral on Friday. The Dinner and Charity Auction was well attended with a record 226 people. The food was very good, especially after a long day on the show field. After dinner, Tom Henry gave us an update on our friend Scott Settlemire’s situation. We have all be reading bits on facebook; so it was really nice to hear things in more detail from cousin Tom. Next, the Live Charity Auction raised just over $10,000 – bringing the total the Nationals has donated, to well over $100,000…the lion’s share of which as gone to “The Silence of Mary Home” for disenfranchised children.
The auction itself had a new twist……in addition to the live portion, 50/50 tickets were sold, and about 75 numbers were pulled to pick an item of choice from our “Second Chance” tables. Mayor McClemment and his wife couldn’t keep up counting and tearing the tickets, as Bunny Fox did a wonderful job of selling the tickets. After the live auction, Garry Dammons was the lucky winner of the $1,030.00 prize. During all the frenzy of the auction, Bobby Banana was adopted by April Alderson. April promised him a great year traveling between Maine and Maryland – with lots of car shows, outings, and general trouble making. He as already been posting some great (and not so great) photos. I am not sure what he learned living with Rick Hoffmeister in NY; but that night next to the cooler with Alf and the Hulk?? It looks like Bobby is going to have a busy summer ahead of him; I hope he doesn’t run out of air.
Saturday was very busy and moved by very quickly. The 50th Anniversary Display was very impressive. Several cars we needed showed up at registration, and filled in the voids very nicely. Judging got started at 11:00, and before you know it, it was time for Awards. Everyone at Awards was offered a 50th Anniversary Cup Cake – they didn’t last very long! The club members cleaned up the show field, and it was time to wrap up the 19th Annual Camaro Nationals. Gary Sommers, April, Karl and myself are working on getting everything buttoned up for the year.
Once again, I have to thank the workers, club members, other Camaro Clubs, etc. The set-up and tear-down crew did another fantastic job. They are another year older and a half step slower, but I would not trade them for the world. The crew that set up the buildings and vendor areas – again a job well done! The gals and guys under the Registration Tent are like energizer bunnies – they just keep on going and going.
A big thank you to the Lehigh Valley Camaro Club members who helped out with the Auction. they noticed that we were short on help and/or exhausted; and they jumped in as runners and flaggers to keep the auction moving quickly. Thanks to Upstate New York 5 members and Long Island Camaro Club members, who jumped in and helped wherever they were needed….and thanks to all the other Camaro Clubs who came to help and support the show.
The official car count for this year’s show was 325…a very solid number considering it was raining in almost every other location in Pennsylvania and Maryland. We have heard from many who were planning on attending, but backed down due the storms they would have been passing through. Even the Ice Cream truck missed a huge sales day on Friday, because it was raining in PA, and he assumed we were wet, too.
This year, the Nationals gave away several items to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Camaro… starting with the free BBQ on Thursday, and including a few suitcases and coolers with the show logo. Everyone who pre-registered received a commemorative blanket and a hat/lapel pin to mark the occasion. As mentioned earlier, cupcakes were given out at the BBQ and prior to the awards ceremony. People asked me why we did all this extra stuff, and not just keep the profits for next year. One of the National’s sponsors, who is now retired, told me every year when I contacted him, “you have to give back.” He has a very good life and he always tried to give back to the hobby….so that is what we did; we gave back to the hobbyists who have been so good to us.
We have been coming up with some unique ideas for the shirts and awards art for the last few years…so I wanted to expand on the background of this year’s art. First, the group of seagulls is Gilbert and the Gulls, from Ocean City Maryland. (I think they are friends of Bobby Banana,) On the front of the shirt, they are from left to right; Gigi, Gilbert, Gaston, and Gale. Yes, that is a Mustang banner being pulled from under the front tire of the 1967 Camaro by Gilbert. The artist did a fantastic job with the license plate on the front fo the ‘67. The sign in front of the Kite Loft is hard to read, but it says “Happy Fiftieth Birthday Chevy-Camaro 1967-2017”.
The Nationals have been known as a great place to meet new Camaro people and enjoy long friendships. Back in 2000, when I attended my first one, and met Karl, I left having met a nice handful of Camaroists. Now, these many years later; I can count scores of truly great friends. 2018 will mark the 20th Camaro Nationals. Let’s see what happens for next year’s show. Mark your calendars for June 22nd & 23rd, 2018, have a great year, and we will see you next June.
From April, Cathy, Karl, and myself; god Bless and good health.