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2013 BCA National Meet, South Bend, Indiana


1951 Buick
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I have to agree that something "something weird happened" can't begin to cover all the problems. I agree the fence issue couldn't be avoided under the circumstances and isn't anybodies fault. However not having a section reserved for the display cars was somewhat unbelievable and in my opinion poor management.

In this day and age in my opinion individual serving packages of snacks should be provided instead of dumping bags of chips in bowls for everyone to grab from. Different times I went into the suite only to find it was out of soda and the only thing provided was ice cubes, water and cups. I personally think a $35 dollar fee should have provided a much better supplied hospitality suite.

A vendor I know of showed up at his spot only to find a car parked in the middle of his space because they hadn't roped off the space in advance.

I talked to a friend that had gone on a tour to Notre Dame who told me she got no tour, but only a short bus ride for her money.

I was impressed with the meet in Charlotte and the way the organizers stepped up to the plate when the temperature soared and dispensed free water to everyone. This meet however left the opposite impression. I paid $60 to register and display a car and in return I received a bag provided by Cars,a pen from the BCA, meet booklet, a piece of paper to put on my windshield, a parking space with the spectators and 4 cans of soda. I may well go to more Nationals as it was great to see cars and meet up with friends, but my cars aren't restored and aren't judged consequently I have doubts I will register a car again unless I hear things have improved considerably over how things were managed in South Bend. I'm sorry but $60 for four cans of soda is just to much for me to justify.

Carl BCA #5538

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Is it just me, or do others feel the way I do? For some reason this bugs me.

Having the National Club present an award for a 1999 Buick seems a bit odd to me. When you compare how much work a person who has a 30s, 40s, or 50s Buick had to do to restore it (searching for parts, restoring parts, painting, body work, etc.), versus a person who has a late 90s Buick (where parts are most likely still available at the dealer), the award level shouldn’t be the same level (gold, silver, etc.). The restoration efforts are miles apart.

The other vintage car clubs I am in require the car to be at least 25 years or older before it is eligible to compete for awards.

But what do I know? Can someone explain the rationale so I can better understand? Thanks.

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Look back at my rant on post #79. We all knew it was going to be FUBAR before we got there. Everybody I know that was involved with the show worked 18 hours a day tuesday thru saturday. I drove 1300 miles and helped where I could. Sure some things were screwed up, but nobody got paid to screw it up. I had a great time and just rolled with the flow. You should not go to a national meet if you just show up and expect to be lead around by the hand.

Willie

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This was my first BCA meet, so I'm definitely not an expert on the National meets by any measure. That being said, as I walked around Saturday I felt that the whole thing was a little disorganized and chaotic. Swap meet was tiny and thinly spread out. Some vendors were MIA half the day with their stuff covered up with tarps. I heard a rumor that vendors were being turned away at one point and I can't help but wonder why? Cars were separated by big distances and fences. The smaller lots were not being monitored and quickly filled up with spectator vehicles. Buicks kept moving around the different fields which quickly became confusing from a spectator point of view. Also, I was wondering if it is a normal thing for food and drink vendors to be missing from a National Meet? There were NO vendors there selling refreshments. Halfway through the day, the hotel figured out they could make some money and set up a small tent selling a few things at higher prices than you could buy them for INSIDE the hotel. It can't be easy to deal with a large event like this and I understand that. I had a great time anyway and wouldn't have missed it. These are just some first timer impressions of this particular meet.

Most hotels will not let in an outside food vendor on their property, they want the money and they would also be held liable if someone else sold a bad hotdog and people were to become ill.

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thanks for that explanation Redrob, but again I ask "It was KNOWN how many Display spots were needed, the least that could have been done was to block off that many" Being in another lot separated by a "new" iron fence is one thing but having to park ones classic Buick intermingled with "new iron" not even Buick, is the part I still don't understand.

In case some may not be able to see the pics I posted above, here they are in another format

[ATTACH=CONFIG]204445[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]204446[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]204447[/ATTACH]

There was enough space, however the volunteers who were supposed to help with parking were MIA. The lot was for display only and was right next to the Driven class lot which also was not supposed to have modern iron in it. I am sure that many notes were taken to help prevent problems in the future.

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Most hotels will not let in an outside food vendor on their property, they want the money and they would also be held liable if someone else sold a bad hotdog and people were to become ill.

Thanks for clearing that up Kevin. I was just curious as I've never been to one of the meets at a hotel or otherwise.

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These are all probably bugs that will need to be ironed out and worked on since chapters no longer host the meets. there is not a "presence" keeping an eye on how things are going like there was when a chapters reputation was on the line to put on a great meet. It was still overall a very enjoyable meet.

Good point Keith. And I don't mean to sound disrespectful of those that put this meet on but I do think in the future there will need to be more "presence" of those getting paid to run the show in making sure the same things don't happen again.

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I agree 10000% with Mr Earl. This is a learning experience and looking forward plan that all lots require an attendant to ensure the parking plan as conceived is executed properly. If an attendant is MIA, ask for volunteers to help or if you see people struggling offer to help. Acknowledge this is tough to run. Be a solutionist - adjust and help.

Edited by KAD36 (see edit history)
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There was enough space, however the volunteers who were supposed to help with parking were MIA. The lot was for display only and was right next to the Driven class lot which also was not supposed to have modern iron in it. I am sure that many notes were taken to help prevent problems in the future.

Thanks for that information Kevin. I understand that even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. But it seems that given the fact that the question of where Display and Driven classes would be parked was brought up numerous times in this thread weeks before the event, those responsible would have been on their toes to ensure all went as well as it possibly could. I am sure the members who paid $35 for parking in display and ended up parking between two SUV's would like to know whatever became of the MIA's you mention and may even would like to have a refund. They could have probably gotten just as much attention and lookers in the Walmart parking lot down the street.

Perhaps some explanation of how these shows are ran now that the chapters no longer host the meets and what those who get paid to run them are actually paid to do might help. I mean, these MIA volunteers, were they a local Girl Scout Troop, BCA members or ???? I'm not even sure who I expect to provide this information but I think it would be interesting to hear. [h=3][/h]

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I am always excited to attend a national Buick meet and this one was no exception. You never know what will show up. I own a '39 and would like to see a big turn-out but I believe there were only 3 (judged) but I was still very happy to be there.

Like others I am disappointed with some of the things that happened (or did not happen at this meet)

Someone said putting on one of these is a "learning" experience, however, this year was supposed to eliminate the "learning" because the national office was taking care of everything....using their experience from many years of Buick meets plus Cadillac and Packard. This should have been the ultimate experience, without many or all of the problems posted by others.

The Buick Club of America (members, board, and business office) have been working for several years to get to this point. When I was on the board, there was a huge problem developing surrounding National meets. We could not get Chapters to bid on hosting the national meet. The Ames IA (2010) meet only happened because Bill Stoneberg and Rick Young stepped up to the problem. Colorado Springs the previous year turned out to be a very good meet as viewed by the membership but there were many "skeletons in the closet" that were quietly handled. These events lead establishing the National Meet Committee. This group studied the problem, proposed and selected site locations, negotiated with hotels, etc.....to eliminate "reinventing the wheel" every year. You will notice there are now National events established thru 2016. This allows members to do long range planning for future meets they want to attend. The BCA is in a much better planning mode than there were a year before Ames.

Lets hope that Portland is the experience that we expected at South Bend.

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I see Barney' point, and would want to give the National Committee a big thumbs up for this event. I am certain many of the " problems" were unforseeable . No matter how many meets one organizes you can bet something new will come up. This was a enjoyable event and i saw organizers doing what they could address problems.

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)
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Guest my3buicks

I do not believe there is ever an event of any kind that does not have it's problems or as Barney called them skeletons. As long as problems are resolved and do not continue to be issues in upcoming years then it can be said "lessons learned" and move forward to the next. I would urge the national committee to do just that though, to listen, learn, and give us even better in the future.

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I would like to add my too cents.I say this with tongue in cheek.I for the life of me can not figure out why the board can't put the DRIVERS car with the other cars.I myself forgot to find them .The members who drive them hundreds of miles deserve to be seen and heard.I listen to many reasons the big one being (not enough room).Well when the site is selected be sure we are considered. What are we orphans.Do we not pay dues.I don't know what the count for the driven class was but i am sure it was considerable enough to take notice. Again just my opinion.i hope that this is taken by those in charge as constructive criticism,

Frank A Batty

Have a great Buick day

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A Wonderful meet, the Driven cars - mine included were kind of "behind the fence" and a walk to the rest of the meet. I found out that the fence went in only a few weeks ago, long after the layout was set. This stuff happens, and the driven and display cars were invited over to the general field after judging. Hats off to the BCA staff!

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There was a 2-tone, maybe 3-tone 55 4-door car there from Fairbury, IL.

I had a nice talk with the owners. It had just been finished from complete restore the night before.

Seems the owners first met when he was the owner of a like car, so to honor them, their son found a 55 like the one they met in, and restored it for them.

I believe it was the son's first car restore, I believe he has restored farm tractors in the past.

Nice family, GREAT STORY,

Dale in Indy

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Guest my3buicks

reproduction - but beautiful. Not sure what happened to Buick's presence at the National Meet - in the past they have sent cars, etc.

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Hi-

The 3 buick wagons in post # 301 what year are they 1947 or1948 and was there any other woodie wagons? Also the winners list will it be posted on the forum or must we wait for the Oct. Bugle?

Thanks

Al Storrs

Al, they are all 1948s. There was one '50 for sure, maybe others.

I decided to go to the Meet at the last moment. I left home at 4:00 AM Thursday, arriving South Bend 4:PM. I experienced all the good times and all the frustrations that others did. STILL enjoyed myself. Received the third driven award. Met a lot of old friends and a few new ones. Missed others I wanted to meet. For that I am sad.

A wise man, can't remember who, once said ' You can please ALL the people SOME of the time , SOME of the people ALL the time, but never ALL the people ALL the time."

Enjoy your BUICKS.

Ben

Edited by First Born (see edit history)
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A wise man, can't remember who, once said ' You can please ALL the people SOME of the time , SOME of the people ALL the time, but never ALL the people ALL the time."

President Abraham Lincoln.

This and every show are as fun as you make them for yourself.

I made my choice and had a hell of a good time. Great people, wonderful cars and a couple of sticks on the road that I stepped over rather than tripping on.

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It has taken me nearly 48 hours after getting home to get some time on the computer to take a look here.

I did take time after getting home Monday to send a few thank yous out to folks who helped to make the trip a great one for us.

The children and I had a blast. We did some bonding that we hadn't previously and they are pretty excited about future meets and Buick activities here at home. That said, it was a bit of an odd meet for me. It was the first family trip we didn't have my wife along (I think the rest of not having us here at home was probably the best gift), so that made it strange. We stayed about a mile away from the host hotel, so when the heat was getting to us, we found it a bit awkward as there wasn't much space to sit down in the cool and rest. Granted, except for the first day, we forgot about the hospitality room - I presume it was part of the contracting to throw the Inn at St. Mary's a bone, but to have all the registration, meeting rooms, and indoor swap meet at one end of the complex and the hospitality room at the other helped us to forget about it. The tour to Notre Dame was awkward - we spent $80 for a short bus ride to the campus. Had we gone on our own, we may have had time to fit in a visit to the Studebaker Museum. I remember helping out with parking in Rochester in 2006 - we had a squad of people involved...this year, I was nobody involved with parking at all. I had two cars in the driven lot (and we were the first and for a while the only ones parking there) as well as Wednesday getting the '23 into the display lot, so I know well the angst of folks. The biggest issue for me is that one eventually gets sore feet and having to run back to the car (since we weren't staying on site) to get stuff or put stuff back was a bit of a pain.

I think the biggest thing was the hidden nature of the display lot. Frankly, with the big pine trees, you couldn't even see there were cars there. Once I drove the '23 over beside the Chartreuse Lady on Saturday afternoon, I'm certain more people saw it in the first 20 minutes than had seen it in the previous 72 hours.

In hindsight, walking the driven lot, it occurred to me that it would have been a better place for the swap meet. First of all, those big pines provided a bunch of shade. Secondly, everyone expects a swap meet, so goes asking or looking for it. That would have freed up enough space in the main lot to have the driven and display classes there too. Of course, this brings up a philosophical question - who is the meet for? For each individual taking a self-interested perspective, they will say themselves. However, if the swap meet were moved, yes, they would have had a bit farther to go for washrooms, but it would have been offset with shade and closer proximity to registration and indoor swap areas. It seems like a reasonable tradeoff to me, but I haven't been a swap meet vendor.

A disappointment for me was in forgetting to look at the cars. Basically, I think there was probably half the field that I didn't see (like those '48 woodies). After we had put the '23 on a trailer, a fabulous '27 depot hack came by to get put away also - the original conversion was documented as being done back in 1927. We did have a good chat with the owners, but even encountering that beautiful Buick was merely by chance.

For me, I anticipate planning future meets a bit differently personally. So long as I remember how previous meets went for me, I should be able to set myself up appropriately for future registrations. I am now getting to the point where most of the tours aren't all that important to me (although the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum was fabulous). It is about the people and the cars they drive.

Each meet has some issues. Are they the end of the world? Certainly not. Does everyone think they get the full value for their buck? Certainly not. However, in the scheme of things, we drove two cars over 2000 miles round trip, so the cost of fuel makes the fact that registering a car for $25 for display only pretty much irrelevant. If it is that big a deal to you, then perhaps there are other things you ought to be doing.

I do hope we will see improvements in logistics over the years. Hopefully the National Meet Committee will provide the continuity that should make it easier to take the lessons learned an apply them to future meets. If they were documented, their experiences could also be provided to the chapters hosting regional meets.

Now, with about 4 GB of photos, there's some sorting and editing to do to post a few.

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