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Ofest Suggestions (was: The New Look ...)

Discussion in 'Oktoberfest 2013' started by MGarrison, Jan 26, 2013.

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    MGarrison

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    I've been wondering that ever since the previous website and forums re-make was announced.

    Seems like some stuff we get response or answers to, some not. My suggestion a couple of O'Fests in a row to make the memorial O'Fest awards somewhat more meaningful than they already are, particularly the former 'Charley Sutey Longest Distance Driven to O'Fest' award, by somewhere, either in the O'Fest printed program, or at least on the O'Fest website, including some brief blurb about who Charley Sutey was , with a photo, and why the award was named after him, appears not to have been ignored - it appears the solution has been to simply drop Charley Sutey's name off the award.

    Times and things change, sure, but there's little point in having memorial awards at all, ever, if the memorial part is just someday destined to be wholly ignored. Parker Spooner Most Original What?? Who? Yale who? Charley who? Phil Who? Satch who? I just drove from Fairbanks to the Florida Keys for my O'Fest Trophy! YEEE-HAW!

    The point of a memorial award is to honor the memory of the person in whose name the award is given! No context = no meaning.

    However, that's just one relatively minor point about one small thing in one event; I doubt anybody's losing any sleep over that!
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Brother Garrison is correct: any memorial award should include enough information about the originator that we understand the context. We have done a good job of this, I believe, with the Parker Spooner award, which goes to he best E9 coupe---but not before Joseph Chamberlain (or some other Beezer) explains who Spooner was, and how he used to carry in his wallet the specs for the coupe that he hoped to buy one day. Of course, Joseph always tells us about somebody apparently named Pocka Spoona.

    I am afraid that I may be the one who banished Charlie (Charly?) Sutey's name from the long-distance award because I could never find anybody who could tell me who the hell he was, or how the award was connected with him. It makes sense to hand out a long-distance award at O'Fest, however... but I am not in favor of reattaching Brother Sutey without a satisfactory explanation of why that would be appropriate.

    We also have the Harmon Fischer award for the most original round-taillight 2002 in the concours---again, with n explanation of who Harmon---or Hawmun---was, and why he endowed this particular honor.
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    steven s

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    As long as it doesn't make the final awards dinner any longer than it needs to be.
    But when there is only one vehicle eligible for an award, I think it's time to give it a rest.
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    MGarrison

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    Well, if Joseph Chamberlain or Michael Izor or Scott & Fran Hughes or the Lonsdales, among other long-time attendees typically found at an O'Fest can't tell us anything about Charlie Sutey, or any founding members can, then I'd have to say either research would have been needed to know whether it's time to retire his (or anybody's, for that matter) name from a memorial award, and agree that if there is no personal context left, then dropping the name is appropriate. But, not without noting the change, at least in some fashion, particularly for O'Festers.

    I always like the idea of honoring long-standing traditions. It gives a sense of continuity, history, and significance. Sure, fireworks are fun on the 4th of July, but it adds a lot of meaning knowing generations of Americans have been celebrating the occasion in much the same way as the country's founders did a couple hundred years ago, and why.

    The larger and more important issue is something that hasn't been addressed specifically, as far as I know - maybe so, but then again, I'm not a BMWCCA by-laws hound. With the club's 40-year+ history, we have had a tradition of a few memorial O'Fest Awards - eventually, anybody and everybody who ever knew, or even knew of the people after whom these memorial awards were named, will someday be long gone. So far, it appears the solution has been a board decision which is then not publicized beyond board minutes, and woomph, a long-standing O'Fest tradition is changed one year to the next without so much as a by-your-leave.

    Perhaps not such a big deal in the case of the apparently, now-lesser-known Charlie Sutey, but don't you think there'd be a bit of an uproar if the board just decided to drop Parker Spooner & Harmon Fischer's names off their memorial awards, and members only became aware of it when the awards were presented at O'Fest?

    www.bmwcca.org/sites/default/files/m200609.pdf (see the 2nd point under 5.5.4, P.4 of the .pdf - I notice we still have the Parker Spooner award also)

    So, I suggest this -

    First, we don't have that many, right? Steven, fwiw, aren't all the memorial awards for only one vehicle or person?

    Parker Spooner Memorial Award
    Awarded for the best overall performance by a 2800CS or 3.0CS coupe.

    Harmon W. Fischer
    Most Original Round-Taillight 2002 Award.

    Ok, so - Charlie Sutey seems to have been lost to history, although I have to guess some 70's-era Roundels might clarify how that all came about, but, moot point now -

    Anyway - is it not appropriate for the club to formalize the retirement of an individual's name off a O'Fest memorial award, or the award itself, and how that retirement process should be conducted, so as to appropriately honor the person, and/or the reward? Seems to me they deserve more than just a decision by the board that's then just buried in the board-meeting minutes. Perhaps when it is deemed time to retire someone's name off the award, then specifically mention that at the awarding, and if it's at the awards banquet or some other O'Fest event, have whoever's emceeing make a toast in their honor. Once someone's name is off an award, then leave it to the board's discretion for retiring any particular award, but, again, at whichever event would be the final awarding, it should be said that's the final year, so that next year, it's not just a surprise for O'Fest attendees who were aware of the award. To that end, it should be announced in the Roundel, in advance of the O'Fest at which a memorial award is to be changed, retired, or have the memorial person's name retired. Then it's not just left to be discovered as a surprise at the next O'Fest. Perhaps it should be specified that the memorial awards may continue indefinitely, but for a minimum of some number of years, perhaps 15 or 20, unless the board finds substantial reason to modify or retire an award prematurely. Things along these lines would provide for honoring people, their memorial awards, and the O'Fest tradition of those awards, by and for those to whom any memorial award has significance.

    I have yet to hear why it's a bad idea or unfeasible to have a page on the O'Fest website and/or here somewhere for the memorial awards, with the appropriate info of the history of the award, who it's about and why. Somebody like Joe Chamberlain who knew Parker Spooner & Harmon Fischer might be somebody who could write up some info, or dig up where it's already been written up, if he's willing - I could raise my hand, but I never knew Parker (Harmon, yes, but only from some brief O'Fest conversations) so it seems a more personal telling might come from someone who knew him.

    With cost of printing, I can understand the incentive to keep a printed O'Fest program something shy of a tome, so there is rationale for not adding expense or pages by annually including such extra info - but making it available on the O'Fest website seems appropo, and nominally expensive, presumably.

    The awards banquet never needs to be any longer - however, I found it totally appropriate that Michael Izor made his presentation of the Parker Spooner memorial award, couldn't have been any more fitting. I tried suggesting to last year's auto-x chair the idea of doing the auto-cross awards at the end of each day's auto-x, so as to un-burden the banquet from the time that typically takes. It could be argued either way, I'm not sure if auto-crossers might be disappointed to not have the banquet format for awards receipt, but if it's done at the auto-x, it's certainly with the peerage to whom the day's results are most meaningful - and, that's what's typically done at auto-crosses, the trophies are awarded at the end of the day.

    With this format of having driving schools and/or club racing extend into the weekend, for those who have to be at wherever the track is at O-dark-thirty, whichever of weekend driving event participants opt for the banquet, getting it wrapped up on some sort of timely basis is rather essential, so they stand a chance of not being too dangerously sleep deprived. It's rather unfortunate if things run so long people have to bail early due to the next day's early-morning track meeting, or just skip the banquet altogether due to the time frames involved.

    Some of these thoughts have come up before! ;)

    http://www.bmwcca.org/forum/index.php?threads/harman-whoever-most-original-award.6185/#post-41084
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Jesus, Garrison. It's time to think about adjusting the dosage!
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    MGarrison

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    Well,

    .... oh look! A squirrel! :D

    Yeah, I know I'm apparently the only one out of 70k members beating this particular drum - presumably there are others out there besides me who value O'Fest traditions and club history; at least, I hope so.

    I know it's a small point in the overall scheme of everything related to O'Fest; I think it's important because it's a reflection of the club's attitude about it's history, and those who made it.

    If everyone sez "Eh, ferget all that horse-puckey history cr@p, we need gallons 'n gallons of Spaten! Wo ist das bier?! Wir brauchen jetzt Bier!", well, there ain't much I can do about that. But, there's no harm in seeing who else cares, if anyone. I'm pretty sure we don't have too many others much cheezed about it here on the forums!

    Look! A Birdie! ;)
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    CRKrieger

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    I agree with Marshall. I personally don't remember Charlie, but I do remember a little about Parker and I know a number of his old friends. I did know Yale and Harmon. I knew firsthand about some certain notes posted by Yale and 'someone else who shall remain nameless'. I remember the 2002f and I still have Harmon's card around here somewhere ...

    I'm a big fan of history in general and I'd like to think that we can remember the characters (and I do not use the term lightly) who founded and grew this club. Some are still around to remind us; and some of us are becoming them. If SCCA can remember their forebears from the late '40s (they do), then we should be able to look back less than 50 years to remember ours.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    You'd think so, wouldn't you? The reason that I insist on repeating the biographical details of these hombres year after year after year is precisely so they WON'T be forgotten---I hate that our only nod toward the truly forgotten becomes their name on an award. I could not find out anything about Sutey from any of the Alleged Keepers of the Golden Flame, and I think that's a Goddamned shame.

    I scanned a photograph of the Roundel staff taken nearly 40 years ago. Most of the people in the photo could tell me the names of most of the others, but there is at least one that nobody seemed to know! And there's one who apparently disappeared, but at least the others knew who he was.

    Since I led the charge to strike Sutey's name from the Long-Distance Award, I would be happy to lead the charge to restore it, Krieger, once you fill me in on the biographical details. Or are you only concerned that we don't forget Hawmun?
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    executive director

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    As the guy who asked Joseph Chamberlain and Michael Izor to put together a historical retrospective for our 40th Anniversary and the get together of our first 308 members at the Road Atlanta O'fest, I think this is a fine conversation to have. Garrison you are correct that it is imperative that we remember and honor our past. However it needs to be done with balance and an unvarnished view of what it was.

    Not all "long standing" Ofest traditions are that longstanding. The "Harmon Fischer Award" has existed for less time than I have been Executive Director. Rather than being created as an honorific it exists because Harmon bequeathed $1,000 to the club to fund the award, along with the understanding that when the funds came to an end, so would the award. (A decent example of why we do not and should not have long bureaucratic procedures for awards.) The Parker Spooner Award is a "best of" but there are years when only one coupe is present at O'Fest... and it is not necessarily one Parker would consider worthy. ;-) Luckily I do not think that will be the case in Monterey!

    Awards and honorifics are created for a variety of reasons and they sometimes end for a variety of reasons. Like Harmon's award sometimes the funding just runs out. In other cases they may need to end quickly and quietly for a reason no one suspected...ala Joe Paterno. ;-)

    I don't think anyone would be opposed to renaming the longest distance award for Charley Sutey if two things occurred. 1. We figure out why it was named for him in the first place and 2. We can get a bio of Charley to include with the award, thus making it more meaningful. Marshall, you led the charge so far. Are you ready to go one step further? Will you gather the information and submit it for the board to consider? If you do, I promise that Satch and I will both push to restore the name.

    Frank
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Yeah, especially since I won the damn thing one year!

    The year we had some of "The 308" at O'Fest was interesting partly because we had a picture of the group... but nobody knew the names of everybody in the picture! Through dint of a pile of e-mails and some late-night phone calls, we finally managed to track down the son of one guy we knew was in the picture somewhere, and sure enough, he said, "Yeah, that's Dad!"

    I think if we had run a picture of, say, twenty people, and left one or two unidentified, it would have been an insult. But what do I know?
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    MGarrison

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    I appreciate everyone's participation, plus the additional insight. Wouldn't know otherwise about Harmon funding the 2002 award to establish it, or Satch suggesting it's time to move on when it appears all the original context for a person-named honorific has been lost to history.

    I've also been a bit curious about Mr. Sutey, somebody must know!

    I bought a Bentley "Roundel on CD" a few years ago off Ebay, but never installed it, last comment I heard about that it works for Win98 but problematic for XP or later... maybe I can get it installed on my old Win98 pc, although I know it's pretty short on hard-drive space - in any case, if I can get that fired up, AND it's searchable, maybe I can dig something up for us.

    Satch, any recollections who you may have asked over the years? Seems to me like the longest-distance-driven award had Charlie's moniker attached to it for years, I would have thought Joe Chamberlain or some other of the longest-standing members would know the story. All I can guess is he was either a genuine O'Fest road-warrior, or suffered any variety of tribulations en-route to O'Fests. I suppose the first 5 years or so of O'Fests probably didn't involve cross-country drives for most, although, there also had to be some members in far-flung corners of the country even if they had no local chapter. The west-coast BMW ACA hadn't merged with the club yet, when I joined, which no doubt had members who were also BMWCCA members.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Well, since you ask:

    YEAR CITY STATE
    1970 Concord MA
    1971 Washington DC (New Carrollton MD)
    1972 Virginia Beach VA
    1973 Atlantic CityNJ
    1974 Waterbury CT
    1975 Alpine Valley WI
    1976 Washington DC (Silver Spring MD)
    1977 San Mateo CA
    1978 Oconomowoc WI
    1979 Danvers MA
    1980 San Diego CA
    1981 Milwaukee WI
    1982 Albany NY
    1983 Colorado Springs CO
    1984 Sturbridge MA
    1985 Monterey CA
    1986 Orlando FL
    1987 Tulsa OK
    1988 Rochester NY
    1989 Keystone CO
    1990 Columbus OH
    1991 Waterbury CT
    1992 West Palm Beach FL
    1993 Sonoma Valley CA
    1994 Andover MA
    1995 BreckinridgeCO
    1996 Tysons Corner VA
    1997 Waterville Valley NH
    1998 Orlando FL
    1999 Indianapolis IN
    2000 Spartanburg SC
    2001 Waterville Valley NH
    2002 Keystone CO
    2003 Austin TX
    2004 Pasadena CA
    2005 Greensboro NC
    2006 Grand Rapids MI
    2007 Forth Worth TX
    2008 Watkins Glen NY
    2009 Lake LanierGA
    2010 Elkhart LakeWI
    2011 Birmingham AL
    2012 Columbus OH
    2013 Monterey CA

    So in 1975 they ventured all the way over to Wisconsin, and two years after that, they made it all the way to the Left Coast. I'd say that Charlie Sutey may have established a precedent on one of these early treks.
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    steven s

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    Now that I see that list again, I need to correct 1976.
    It's Silver Spring.

    Edit: Oh wait. That's not my list.
    Forth Worth?
    2000 was Greenville.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    My bad! I added an S because I couldn't believe anybody would call a place Silver Spring. And yes, 2000 was indeed Sphincter, South Carolina, but since the good parts were at the BMW facility, I'm sticking with Spartanburg. Sticklers might insist that it's Greer.
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    steven s

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    Well those who live in Silver Spring MD would disagree I suppose.
    I also go with where the host hotel is as being the location.
    You can go next and have the last word.
    I'm pretty much done here.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Hey, I fixed it. Stop pouting.
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    BMWCCA1

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    The host hotels and all of our activities were in Greenville, SC. Spartanburg County is the home of BMW Manufacturing but it is adjacent to the city of Greenville. Spartanburg, the city, is the less interesting town just up the highway off on a bypass. I doubt you've ever been there.

    Maybe if you ask Mike Miller and Kelly-not-yet-your wife—who were compensated for organizing the coverage for Roundel at the event—they can remind you of where you were during that week.

    That's just ignorant! Harmon had the trophies manufactured and directed the award for many years before Frank Patek knew what a 2002 was. Yes, Harmon put up the bucks to continue the award in the event of his death, but Rob Mitchell, Joe Chamberlain, and I judged the contestants for Harmon and his award for years before the Club took over supplying the trophy. It is this typical lack of understanding of the Club's history and traditions that alienates long-standing members as well as diluting the character of BMWCCA that makes the Club something more than just another marque-based Internet group.

    No wonder we have to re-invent the damn event every year—including all the mistakes!

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