Autoblog’s Car Club USA takes a look at a different car club or event from across the United States in each episode.
The latest episode lets us follow three Corvette owners as they take part in the annual Corvette Homecoming in Bowling Green, Ky.
“Some people say it’s a lifestyle,” says Betsy Reese of Corvettes of Clarksville. “I say it’s a passion.”
Adds Tony Feckter of Corvettes Limited: “It’s a feeling. It’s the way the wind whips around and blows at you if you’re riding with the top down.”
Dennis Smith, also of Corvettes Limited, sums it up by saying, “The power, the sound, the feel, the handling, the Corvette, it’s just always been a thrill to me.”
For Betsy, owner of a modified 2002 Corvette Z06, the 33rd homecoming represents an emotional time for her. She credits members of her club with helping her get through the loss of a son, Jarrod, two years earlier, and she’s thrilled to become what she thinks is the first mother/son team to compete in the Corvette Homecoming with her 16-year-old son, Hunter.
Guys think it’s cool that she drives a Corvette but some are just rude enough to ask if she can drive it. “I tell ‘em get in the front seat and try not to pee in the seat when I’m done with you,” she quips.
Calling herself an overachiever, Betsy has brought home 26 trophies in 22 shows with her Corvette, which she lovingly has named “Blue.”
“I always want to win,” she says. “If I lose, you better have a good reason why I lost.”
Meanwhile, Dennis, who has a maroon 1966 convertible, says he was bitten by the Corvette bug in the late 1980s.
“I was invited to one of the local Corvette Club meetings,” he recalls. “Shortly after that, we bought a 1966 Corvette and began plans to restore it. Our goal was to try to reproduce a car as close to what it was when it left the Corvette Assembly Plant in St. Louis on the third day of June, 1966.”
His 10-year quest “to try to get it back as authentic as possible” was rewarded with a top award last year.
Tony, meanwhile, is at the Homecoming for a different reason this year. One of his club members, Bobby Joe West, passed away last year, leaving behind many Corvette parts that his widow doesn’t know what to do with. Tony has volunteered to help sell them at the Homecoming.
A car nut since he was a kid, Tony worked almost 30 years building Corvettes at the factory. He bought his first Corvette, thanks to the rave reviews of a fellow serviceman.
“After high school, I went into the Navy, served on the carrier USS Hancock,” Tony says. “One guy came in from California, and his parents bought him a 1958 Corvette. All he did was rave about how much he had with that car, how great it was. So when I got out of the service, I started looking for a Corvette and lo and behold I saw an ad one day in the morning paper that listed a 1959 Corvette – 290 horse, fuel injected motor. The carpets were faded, windshield was cracked, but I thought this is the car I want so I went ahead and bought it. Cost me all of $2395.”
It was money well spent as he still has the car today.
In the video, Betsy and Dennis are shown competing in the “Show and Shine” contest at the Homecoming.
“We try to get the car spotless,” Dennis says. “They’ll probably still find a spot that we’ve missed, but our goal is to get all the smudges off. (The judges) are looking at the chassis, they’re looking at the spare tire, they’re looking at the wheels, just every component. It’s nerve wracking, but yet there’s something there that draws me to it. I’m just competitive enough that I want to be a part of it.”
Adds Betsy: “We are doing fine detail work, all the little bitty things a lot of people don’t normally bother with, we’re doing.”
Take a look at this video to see how the story turns out for these dedicated Corvette enthusiasts. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to enter your Corvette in an upcoming show, or maybe you’ll be inspired to buy your first Corvette.
As one woman attending the Homecoming, Tina Thompson of Guthrie, Ky., put it: “It’s nice because it’s just Corvette people loving Corvettes. You just come here and you talk to everybody. It’s just having a good time with Corvette people.”
Corvette Homecoming returns in 2015 to Bowling Green. The show will be held the weekend of July 16-18, 2015. For more information and to register, visit CorvetteHomecoming.com
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