38th Annual Spring Meet
Eagle River, WI - May 28 - 31,2008
Barb and Carlton Schroeder - Meet Hosts
It was early in 2007 and after reading a Ray Jones email I thought why don't we have a Club meet in the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin. After some discussion and info exchange with Ray he thought it would work and said OK. Barb and I brought Eagle River literature to the Spring 2007 meet and then made a presentation at the Fall 2007 meet and then the fun began in earnest.
Lakes and rivers are big part of the Northwoods, so that helped determine the hotel location and at least one activity. Also, we have a lot of visitor and tourist attractions so we had a good choice of museums and activities. Snowmobiling is big here so we included that in the schedule although it wasn't quite cold enough for actual snowmobiling. Barb and I discussed having Thursday dinner at our house and I won. Liz the banquet lady at the Eagle River Inn gave me good advice so I knew that part of the meet was in good hands.
The Eagle River Chamber and merchants were all helpful and supportive. To promote the meet and get more participation I put notice in other publications and called former Wisconsin Club members (there were about 70). Also, Merle Wolfer of the 300 Club, Inc. took the lead to get info out about our meet to his Club. Also, newly rejoined member Mike Meier gave me at least 30 Mopar/300 enthusiasts to contact so I made good use of my unlimited calling plan.
There were a few snafus (I was very tardy working with Mick Kreszock on the meet shirts) but with great help from Ray, Gloria, and the rest of the Club officers everything came together pretty well.
On Wednesday, the first day of the meet, the Eagle River weekly newspaper had a nice article about Brian Frank and his G and our meet got top billing on the downtown Eagle River marquee . The meet started with very nice weather Wednesday and Thursday and on Thursday we enjoyed touring the World snowmobile headquarters and World Championship Snowmobile Derby Track in Eagle River. After that most of the group worked up an appetite with some enthusiastic go-cart racing. Thanks to Mark Knutsen for that suggestion and for overseeing that event when I left to start grilling.
After about six months of keeping our fingers crossed the weather cooperated and we got through the Thursday night cookout without any rain. Thanks to our neighbors and many 300 Club helpers the burgers and brats got grilled and served and the leftovers and house were cleaned up in record time
Friday morning we started to have some light rain but that was OK for the business meeting. There was much interest in the drawing for the Black Fly houses awarded by Doug Mayer to promote the Maine September 2008 meet. Doug and Rob Kern (our Fall 2009 meet host) provided interesting description of proposed meet activities. Although Tony Rinaldi could not attend the meet, his Spring 2009 PA meet was also discussed. Thanks to Tony for his great artwork for the Eagle River meet dash plaques and meet shirts.
About noon we took off on the 25 mile road trip to Rhinelander for our pizza lunch/river cruise. Luckily the Riverboat had a covered lower deck where most folks took refuge from the mist/light rain. We were the first pizza cruise of the season and the cooking crew managed to get one of the pizzas stuck in the oven and that slowed pizza production and the all-we-could-eat promotion. We enjoyed seeing a stretch of the Wisconsin River downstream from Rhinelander and former Mayor Jerry Shidell did a good job as our Captain. It was pretty noisy below where the crowd and bar was but the upper deck folks learned about the Rhinelander Hodag, Northwood's gangster hideaways, the Heisman Trophy, and other Rhinelander tidbits.
After our sea legs steadied, we enjoyed the Rhinelander Logging Museum, seeing exhibits built around the early days in Rhinelander. Friday night was dinner on your own where I think most people enjoyed one of the many area fish fries.
Saturday morning was drier but it did turn a bit cooler and windier so the last of the meet sweatshirts sold out.
The Petroleum Museum was very interesting and impressive, especially considering it was put together by one individual. Our main group was there mid-morning but others visited later as word spread. The owner Ed Jacobson enjoyed getting photos of our cars lined up by his museum. Ed later told me he really enjoyed hosting the group and was surprised and thankful for the very generous donations left by our members.
Most of us continued on to the Three Lakes Winery for a nice tour and wine sampling (six flavors were allowed). Quite a boost to the Winery's revenues occurred as many Club members made sizable purchases. Although cool it was dry for the Saturday afternoon Peoples Choice Judging and we had a good collection of cars to judge and compare. I invited most of my neighbors to improve my chances of getting a trophy but they let me down… and of course there were great cars in all Classes. Our Eagle River Mayor visited and we had some local Mopar enthusiasts and Eagle River folks attend.
The Saturday Night Banquet went very well with a good dinner and Chef Liz carving the prime-rib. I think a couple of members managed to get through the line twice without official detection. George did a great job with the after dinner People's Choice awards and we had 300 Club Mugs (courtesy of Dave Schwandt) to give as door prizes. To cap off the night Virginia Thorne organized us (about 95 folks) for a group photo.
We said our goodbyes Saturday night and Sunday morning and began thinking about the Fall Maine meet.
Some of the meet highlights for me were the following:
§ Norway member Oddvin and Trine Skramesto and Trine's brother Geir Hjertholm attending. Just as Oddvin had warned me 'Geir is a Fxxd Man but he is OK'.
§ Having former member Mike Meier rejoin the Club, make videos for the meet, and helping Bob Nitz with some transmission repairs.
§ Also, having Bob and Janet Nitz get home without a road breakdown (although I understand further trans work is required).
§ Having former member Mike and Doris Martin attend in his B and to share some Kiekhaefer memories from his days as a race team truck driver.
§ Quite a few members attending their first meet.
§ Having a number of members tell me they had success scouting out salvage yards and finding some old-car parts
§ Our youngest guests (Katelyn and Andrew Phillips) having good success fishing off the docks at the Eagle River Inn
I would have liked to have more time for visiting and looking over all the great cars but I'll be able to do that in Maine in September and future meets.
Thanks to all for making my meet a great success.
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