The Laurel Crown
by Richard Lewis
It is surely a characteristic of the vast majority of humans that they cherish recognition. That feeling of being lifted above the madding crowd, singled out for distinction and having the Laurel Crown pressed onto one's head, is a satisfying emotion. It is that desire that motivates many car folks to continue to show up at car shows, even when they occur in settings like asphalt parking lots in 95° weather.
Your Loyal Correspondent (YLC) recognizes that winning trophies is surely not the only reason for showing up at show after show. Other reasons include the opportunity to see exotic cars, reconnect with old friends, schmooze about cars, purchase memorabilia, and garner loot from generous goodie bags, among others.
Those others are surely the reason YLC continues to show up, since his trophy case, like Mother Hubbard's cupboard, is surprisingly bare. Oh, there are a few "Third Place," "Honorable Mention," and "Participation" trinkets and ribbons there, and the like. He once walked away with a "Third Place" in a field of three. The only "First" he garnered has a spotlight trained on it and votive candles burning day and night, and "She Who Must Be Obeyed" was asked to genuflect before it. (She refused.)
As a runner of some 55 years, he was somewhat luckier, but not dramatically so. However, he did manage to whelp a three-time All-American in track at Emory University.
The most recent event, the September 7th Emerald Coast Classic Car Show, which included a British car class, drew the attention of a number of PBCA members, with John Grossi proudly displaying his recent acquisition, a lovely Aston Martin, and John Malone walking away with the "Best British Car" Award for his MG TF 1500. Both Franz Bachman and Taber Tompkins earned "Top 50" recognition for the TR3 and Caterham, respectively. All added to an already generous display of awards and trophies.
Curiosity always being deadly to both cats and prying writers, YLC decided to ask a few of the PBCA stalwarts about their collections. They graciously shared their triumphs with him, and in turn he does with you.
Long-time member and PBCA stalwart Keith Sanders has been going to car shows for some 20 years, and during that time has owned and shown a variety of cars, accruing fifty-some 1st, 2nd, and 3rd awards. Perhaps the most prized is the 2013 Lifetime Membership Award given by PBCA for his long and dedicated service to the club. (Thanks, Keith, for your dedication.)
John Grossi too has been at it for quite a number of years, going through a whole stable of cars with which he has been awarded an astonishing 100 or more awards. (John, you are a champ.)
Tim and Liz Maynard are relative newcomers to the car competition scene, but they have already assembled a wall full of wins. Maybe their beautiful '62 MGA has something to do with their success.
With military precision, Col. Taber Tompkins (Retired) calculates he has acquired 28 trophies, mainly showing his '07 Caterham Super 7, a racer he vows never to take on a long trip again. His growing-old bones won't hold up for it.
Bob Manske has a beautiful unrestored '55 MG TF 1500 that, to the best knowledge of MG organizations, has the lowest known mileage, plus a great 2012 Jaguar XKR roadster in mint condition. Showing both at various times has earned for him about 30 trophies, he estimates. These folks, and others, have taken pride in their achievements, and rightly so, but when you quiz them, they tell you there's a lot more to it all than some metal and plastic. It's the people and the other cars, too.
August 27 - Arcadia Mill Archaeological Museum and Lunch. A crowd of 19 showed up at Arcadia, Florida's first industrial park and the birthplace of what later became the Bagdad Land & Lumber Company, the largest producer of yellow pine lumber in the world. The guided tour revealed the stone quarry, fabric mill, bucket factory, and water-powered sawmill. Florida's weather is unbearable this month, but the shady boardwalk made it all tolerable and fascinating. The group adjourned to The Cutting Board for a mainly seafood lunch, where they were joined by latecomer member Taber Tompkins. A great day overall.
September 3 - PBCA Breakfast at the Grand, followed by the Show and Executive Board meetings. Fun, food, and plans for the future.
September 13-14 - "Brits on the Bluff" show in Natchez, Miss.
September 16 - PBCA monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at Sonny's on Navy Boulevard. Business, program, prizes, and fun.
September 28 - Dog Days Rally & Lunch at the Pensacola Humane Society. A great rally for the benefit of the Humane Society. PBCA in the past has collected almost 1,000 lbs. of pet food plus cash.
September 27 - Fancy Friday on the Town.
Until next time, don't let Uncle Albert drive your Jaguar. You know he is sloshed.
One of Keith Sanders' trophies, this one for 'Going the Extra Mile' at a show in 1994. Altogether, he was over 50 1sts, 2nds and 3rds.
Details of trophy walls of club members John Grossi (above) and Taber Tompkins (below). John has accrued over a hundred awards of various kinds with a wide array of cars. He is currently nurturing a lovely Aston Martin, a new acquisition. Taber, meanwhile, has racked up quite a scoop of trophies as well.
The crowd that braved the heat to tour Arcadia. It was well worth it.
A hearty lunch at The Cutting Board after our visit.