Where did March go? Or many of the other preceding months for that matter? The SOC Planning committees have been hitting on all cylinders and we have many results to report for the past month.
In terms of sponsor support, we have received firm commitments from Eisenhauer SAAB, Wernersville, PA (Platinum Level); Sports Car Service, Inc., Wilmington, DE (Silver Level); Roberti Motorcars, Kingston, NY (Bronze Level); Swedish Connection, Bergenfield, NJ (Double Patron Level) and Swedish Motors, Marietta, PA (Patron Level) and Don Fatzinger Automotive (Patron Level). Lehman Motors SAAB in Harrisburg, PA has committed to the hole-in-one giveaway car for the golf outing on September 4th, and we should be able to announce details of their entire package within the next few weeks. These fine sponsors join SAAB Cars USA, Mile Hi Body Shop, The SAAB Network and Lititz Auto Service in support of SOC2003.
We are also working with several other potential sponsors including General Sales SAAB, Santa Fe SAAB, Gold Wing, Brewer SAAB, Hunt Valley SAAB, Viking Automotive, SAAB Savior, George's Imports, Paul Domitsche Motors and Haddle's Eurotech Garage and will continue making contacts with more potential sponsors over the next few weeks.
The 2003 full color convention poster is fresh off the printing presses and on their way to dealers and independent shops. The poster features the striking artwork of John Webber. Reminiscent of racing posters from the 1930's, the 24" X 30" poster depicts Erik Carlsson's 1964 96, in a maneuver that he made famous racing to victory in Monte Carlo in 1963, rounding the railroad station curve on nearly one wheel. The building in the background is The Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, as it stands today. The poster is printed on 80 lb. Corniche cover stock and is expected to be another coveted SAAB collectible. Special thanks to Mike Beare and the team at Acorn Press Inc. in Lancaster, PA for a great job.
The posters will be used to promote the event, and reach far more potential attendees than a mass mailing ever could. Thus far, the sponsorship team has personally distributed over 60 posters and we are working to distribute about as many in the next month. Additionally, we will be mailing posters to the remaining businesses on our list. If your favorite mechanic or dealer doesn't have one yet, pass along the contact information, and we'll get one out to them, provided they agree to display them. Posters will be available for sale, at $10 each, plus postage.
The Hershey Lodge reports that we have sold 13% of the rooms in our group block, but in reality, we are aware of some registrants who didn't get the group price, and we are working to correct that. As we point out on the website, when calling 800-HERSHEY to reserve your room, please indicate that you are calling to reserve your room for the 2003 SAAB Owners Convention. This will ensure that we up our room block per our contract with Hershey, and you get the group rate of $129 per night, plus (9%)tax.
Chris Moberg still toils away adding new material to our website, including several more advertisements for our sponsors. We are finally putting the finishing touches on our on-line registration pages; convention apparel items and many more informational pages, too. By the time you are reading this, I am hopefully that on-line registration is operational. Did I really say mid-February last time? What was I thinking? Thanks again to Chris for putting up with my endless pleading for more..more..more. It seems that we have repaired some of the user incompatibility issues we faced early on, as I have received no complaints in over 30 days, although some users have found that they need to update their Adobe Acrobat reader to Version 5. This is free and downloadable software, and will allow you to view the downloadable documents we have on the website.
We are also working on the technical sessions and speakers for the SOC, and sadly I must report one of our biggest set-backs to date. For several months we had been working with Satch Carlson as our main speaker, after receiving many suggestions from you. Unfortunately, Satch must be in Germany on the Monday morning following the convention, and it just was not logistically possible for him to join us. While he sends his regrets, he will be supplying an interesting story that we will publish in the event program and he promises to join us at another event soon. Dan Orzano, Don Fatzinger and I are working on other possibilities, and will make an announcement once we have further details. Dan is also a busy team member, as he organizes our sessions and speakers. We will be posting a schedule to the website: www.saabconvention.org once we have more times firmed up.
And speaking of the schedule, I do want to answer a question that I have only heard asked once, but published in Nines. Yes, the SCNA board meeting will be held on Thursday morning, from 8:00am until noon. Why? Because in most working organizations, the business functions precede the non-business functions. And contrary to assertions I have read, we have many members who are making a vacation of the trip, by reserving extra nights before the start of the event. The meeting will include such functions as required for eligibility of SCNA's non-profit status; committee reports; financial reports; reports from SCNA's advisory members (accountant and attorney), etc. At the conclusion of business, the meeting will adjourn, and we will kick off the convention activities with the golf outing and other non-golf programs. Hidden agendas and conspiracy theories don't mix well with Chocolate. Remember that this is our hobby and we are focusing on the fun quotient.
Other committees report progress in their areas: The Autocross Committee has finalized our arrangement with The Appalachian Sports Car Club (an SCCA affiliate), and they will supply their truckload of equipment and a timing team for us. We will supply cone setters, scoring team and other staff members. We will also have help from several members of the WASSAAB Club, who have volunteered. The committee is working on the course layout, rules and tech inspection requirements, as well as coordinating the insurance issues between the clubs involved, and Hershey, who is supplying a nearby parking lot. Rules and requirements will be posted to the website once we have everything firmed up.
Tom Nelson and team are assembling for The Club Participation Award. Tom is adding some folks to his team and reviewing changes and simplification to last year's rules. Once he has compiled some of the needed info, he can begin his process. If you have any suggestions for the contest, you can reach Tom, as well as the other committee leaders from the contacts tab on the website. We currently have 12 contacts and will be posting the 21 & Under committee and Autocross Committee contacts soon.
Thus far, we have Bruce Turk and Gary Stottle who have volunteered for our vintage ride-along program I introduce in Nines #262. If anyone else would like to participate, please let me know. Thanks to Gary and Bruce for their support.
Again, I thank everyone for their continued suggestions, cooperative spirit and support over the past months. As I have said before, we have a terrific group of folks across the country working to bring this event together, from Scott Paterson in California, Tom Nelson in Colorado, Chris Moberg in Maine and more than 80 others to date somewhere in that vastness of middle America. Please keep those ideas and suggestions coming.
Until next time...
Marc Fails, Chairman
2003 SAAB Owners Convention