In the spirit of the holiday season, many people send out letters in their Christmas Cards to family and friends to update them and recap their year passed. Consider this our holiday letter to our SAAC-MCR family – YOU!
The chapter has been completed on the 40th year of SAAC-MCR. 40 years! How many clubs can lay claim to a successful and sustained club for that long of time? We also have the longest running club event to be allowed to be held on the hallowed grounds of Ford WHQ – 24 years and counting! Additionally, we are one of the few clubs featured on the Ford Performance website in the club section, and one of the first regional clubs to do so (originally restricted to just national clubs), as well as having our major events featured in their Fast News weekly newsletter!!
To kick off our 40th year, Dean Ricci designed another awesome logo to denote our anniversary. The logo was used on all club publications and merchandise for the year. Many T-shirts were purchased with the logo, and it was used on goodies provided to entrants at Show & Go 40, as well as awards and dash plaques for our show and track events.
Our 40th year events started with our traditional Holiday Party, in appreciation of all members who have helped in our events from the prior year. As a unique venue, Mark Kulwik arranged for it to be at GR Auto Gallery’s new Wixom location. Here one corner of their display room was set up for tables for dinner, catered by another Mark find in Caya’s BBQ, and members and guests could wander amongst the cars to reminisce of similar cars they had or someone they knew that had one, or one they always wanted but never owned, and just visit and socialize with each other. Dale Rabe arranged for his friend Dwight to provide live musical entertainment while we ate, and was so well received that he was invited to supplement our normal radio PA entertainment at our Show 40! A showing of the classic Elvis Presley movie “Spin Out” served as our post dinner entertainment. Also, the GR Auto Gallery “grid girls” and one of the owners attended our Show and helped in our trophy presentation of the Show and greatly enhanced the experience, as well as helping select the winner for the Best Of Show (Engine) award they sponsored. This was an example of building and cultivating relationship that contributes to other events.
The first seasonal event of the year was the annual Winter Swap Meet at Gorno Ford, organized and overseen by John Yarema, that gets everyone’s juices starting to flow & warm up the blood from the winter blahs & start getting prepared for the upcoming car enthusiast season.
The annual Spring Cruise, also organized by John Yarmea, started off this year from a restaurant downriver, followed by a visit to Gorno Ford for their Mustang 50th Anniversary car show, and then a cruise over to Grosse Isle to Randy Betki’s personal museum and a private tour of the Isle’s airport hanger, history lesson, and photo ops.
Much excitement was building with all the preparation for Show 40 the last day of May. Unfortunately, mother nature decided to play mean and sent us a monsoon and cold temperatures that caused us to cancel the event for the first time in history – not the way we wanted to celebrate 40 years of Show and Go. We then had to try to find an appropriate time to reschedule the event – no easy task when the seasons car event calendar was already full with all the other clubs and organizations events. Fortunately, the weather was drier and slightly warmer the next day, and we were able to hold our Go portion of the event at Waterford Hills.
In mid-summer, what has become one of the more popular events, our pre-Woodward Dream Cruise event at Pasteiner’s, was greeted with standing room (parking) attendance – good times and socializing had by all, along with many purchases to supplement members auto hobby interests.
Labor Day weekend arrived for our rescheduled Show & Go 40 with completely different weather with very dry conditions and temperatures near 90! We had a good show, with lots of happy people and many new features, although attendance was down from prior years due to the rescheduling and other options for that holiday weekend, but overall we can say it was a success we can build upon. As mentioned, we added 40th logo gear to the goody bag, a 40th logo trivia contest gift, increased door prizes, the melodious sounds of Dwight, the GR Auto Gallery presence at the trophy participation, and also the opportunity to try something different for food services that seemed to be a big hit for all.
Our bright spot this year was our track events. Over the past number of years, we have struggled to break even or eek out a small profit. This year member Ed Frank brought his experience in running Waterford Hills own open track days, volunteered to help organize and promote the events, in conjunction with Darius Rudis overseeing the overall track events, we had very successful Labor Day Classic and Harvest Happening track events – to nearly capacity limits, which helped us significantly financially this year, and offset the normally high returns we get from the Show, to make the year financially successful for the year! Many first time track participants took advantage of the opportunity and our skilled crew of member instructors to help them quickly learn the ins and outs of track time, and we hope to see them return as regular participants! We look forward to this year for all three track events to benefit and grow our track presence even further, and be the premier Ford and Mustang open track organization in the area.
Closing out the event season was our fall color tour. This year was a unique experience that you can read about elsewhere in this issue. After many years of searching for clues, over the winter yours truly was able to break the code on the route that Car & Driver magazine uses to test their cars for their annual 10 Best Cars awards. While the weather was not optimal, almost everyone bought out their Mustang and performance vehicles, proving that they are not show queens and actually get our cars out and use them as intended.
We could not close out the recap of last year without expressing our thanks to Mike Nyberg for his 13 years as newsletter editor, and this his 50th issue published, as he moves on to FINALLY enjoy his retirement! We are fortunate that the newly retired Ed Ludtke has volunteered to use some of his new found time to take over as the new newsletter editor. Coupled with some plans we have for our new website, including potentially moderated self publishing, Ed has some new ideas for the newsletter.
Also, we are forever indebted to Dean Ricci for creating and running the club website since 1997. Dean has decided to focus his ongoing attention to club social media, so the opportunity use new website tools and the aforementioned moderated rather than webmaster guided site, provides exciting new opportunities, while still maintaining our long running web address for continued easy access.
Of course, we couldn’t be successful without all of you, our members, for your continued support!
Building on the successes of the past year, we look forward to this upcoming year, and look forward to another 40 years!