Gallery of Past Club Events
2007 Key West Regional GT
April 21, 2007
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter was represented at the 2007 NAMGAR Regional GT in Key West Florida by Bill & Karen Marshall who attended in their 1957 1500 roadster. The long drive to Key West was tempered by trailering down to friends in the Jupiter, Fla., area who were gracious enough to allow the truck and trailer to park at their home for the four days of the event. This left a short two-hour run from Jupiter to Key Largo and then a delightful two-hour drive through the Florida Keys to the event headquarters at the Blue Marlin Hotel on the Atlantic side of Key West.
The NAMGAR Regional GT in Key West coincides with the annual Conch Republic celebration — a week-long event that celebrates Key West's secession from the United States in April 1982. In protest of a U.S. Border Patrol blockade of the Florida Keys and subsequent treatment of its citizens as "foreigners"¯ by the Border Patrol, the mayor of Key West elected to secede from the union, declare war, quickly surrender and immediately request foreign aid. Thus was born the Conch Republic — which continues to this day to exist as a "Sovereign State of Mind¯".
Sponsored by NAMGAR and hosted by the Key West Chapter of NAMGAR (wholly consisting of Fred & Cindy Skomp — owners of the 100,000th MGA featured in the May/June 2005 issue of MGA!) attendees were greeted with a Wednesday evening Social Hour at the Southernmost House overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 21 MGAs gathered for the GT and were joined by a smattering of other British sports cars for a total of 26 cars making the event. Thursday morning had the group caravanning to Lulu's Kiss Drive-in for breakfast, followed by a Treasure Hunt for proclaimed pirate booty hidden in plain sight on the island. Treasure maps provided names of Key businesses which held clues to the whereabouts of the treasure. Once the pirate bounty was discovered and claimed by Dennis Urick and Dave McCann of Richmond Va., the quickest to gather and decipher the clues, our group gathered for lunch at the Rum Barrel to either celebrate their treasure or to wash down their sorrows with an appropriate beverage of their choosing. After lunch we were turned loose to explore the many charms and uh, sights of Key West.
Thursday evening the group once again gathered in their cars to participate in the Great Conch Republic Celebration Parade on the World's Longest Street. The parade, held on infamous Duval Street, runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. In true Key West fashion, NAMGAR members came loaded with beads to toss to spectators that showed the proper amount of enthusiasm in their collecting of beads. MGA cooling systems were tested as the parade made its way down Duval Street at a walking pace and some of the participants wisely shortened the parade route as temperature gauges pegged 212 degrees. We are pleased to report our Mid-Atlantic Chapter entry was able to complete the entire length of the parade with the greatest concern being a shortage of beads as the parade reached Mallory Square and the most liberated parade spectators. Following day newspaper coverage of the parade reported the "MG Midgets"¯ were the hit of the parade! Well … OK.
Friday was an event-free day to allow for more exploration of Key West until the scheduled 4 p.m. car show at Mallory Square, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. This coincided with the re-enactment of the Naval Battle for Key West. Members of the Conch Republic Navy and Air Force once again defeated the lone U.S. Coast Guard vessel using time-honored stale Cuban bread, tomatoes and peeled hard-boiled eggs as ammunition from the Naval fleet while the Air Force attempted to bomb the Coast Guard with streaming rolls of toilet paper. The Coast Guard valiantly fought back using their water hoses to drive off the attacking vessels, but in the end beat a hasty retreat leaving none of the participants with their dignity intact. Congratulations to Matt Merryweather of Kentucky and Barbara & Jerry Andres of Virginia for their best-of-show MGAs.
Saturday was again a free day to allow participants to explore the sporting, architectural and historical interests and to continue to immerse themselves in the local flavor and liberation that is Key West. The Bed Races were the feature of the day and the 2 p.m. event started "on time.¯" On Key West time, that is, which meant a 3 p.m. start! Billed as the most fun one can have in bed with your clothes on, the races featured teams of creative wheeled beds powered by runners pushing them down Duval Street seeking the fastest overall time. The beds are sponsored by local businesses and organizations and — in typical Key West fashion — the beds and participants are diverse and colorful indeed.
We gathered as a group one final time for an evening luau on the beach, enjoying dinner to the sounds of the steel drum, applauding the hula dancing of NAMGAR Chairman George Merryweather and Vice-Chairman Bruce Woodson, and toasting Fred & Cindy Skomp, both as greats hosts of the Regional GT and as fine ambassadors for the island of Key West. After saying goodbye to new friends and fellow travelers, most retired to the hotel to pack and rest for the early departures home Sunday morning.