Panhandle British Car Association: August 2016 Newsletter

PBCA masthead from British Marque




August 2016

President: Taber Tompkins,
Contributing Editor: Richard Lewis, email: bettyrichardlewis (at)

Awards, awards, awards

by Richard Lewis

One of the staples of British car shows, and car shows in general, is the awarding of trophies and recognition of all kinds - not low-cost but absolutely necessary items that most attendees look forward to with anticipation. Heartbreak for some and jubilation for others.

Perhaps for all clubs, but certainly for PBCA, the decisions about what kind of awards, the number, shape and size and cost are hotly debated topics, leading to spirited, always vigorous, sometimes loud discussions. Thus far, we have avoided fisticuffs.

Awards in most clubs are centered around entrants' quality of vehicle, rarity, condition, and so fourth. Even issues such as distances traveled, disasters on the road, oldest vehicle, and on and on, earn recognition.

Likewise with ours.

Our upcoming 25th Anniversary "Brits on the Bay" warrants exceptional efforts in all aspects of the show and awards are no exception. We will rise to the occasion. Even last year, we made gains in the quality of awards, with Tom Schmitz's clever use of building tiles coupled with appropiate plaques, making these awards highly attractive and truly singular. This year we intend of exceed all past efforts in celebration of this quarter-century gala.

One example is next year's design and rendering of the primary awards. Master craftsman and out-of-the-box thinker Marc Cherry has agreed to create unique trophies, each one cast in a fascinating design. Although Marc has shared some of his ideas with us, Your Loyal Correspondent (YLC) will not let the cat out of the bag and spoil the surprise. Suffice it to say you will be dazzled. There may even be falling to the ground in wonder and hosannas sung. Just you wait.

Member and retired University of West Florida art professor Bill Silhan each year designs, contributes, and delivers, the "Rolling Sculpture Award," granted to what Bill alone decides is the most aesthetically pleasing vehicle in the Brits on the Bay show. His trophy is an art treasure in itself. We look forward to Bill even exceeding past efforts.

An award created about three seasons ago deserves special mention. Let inventor and developer Bob Manske share the story of this exceptional award in his own words: "In a recent driving event, the 'Short, Sweet, and Then we Eat' Rally, awards were given for skillful driving, the usual 1st, 2nd, and 3rds," Bob says.

"These was even an award for the poorest performance. In a score too deplorable to publish, our esteemed friends Fred Veenschuten, driver, with Bill Moseley as navigator, have most certainly made the best qualified list for the dreaded Mickey McNair Memorial Broken Compass Award for this year.

"Still, the year is only half over and it is too early to make any strong predictions. The award, which is given at our Christmas party each year, is currently in the possession of our Vice President Marc Cherry, honoring his poor performance in 2015.

"For newcomers," Bob continues, "the Broken Compass Award was created in 2013 by a club sponsor (Manske Marine Construction, Inc.) to humorously recognize those who do really terribly at our car driving events. During this time, Richad Lewis and his faithful navigator MIckey McNair were famous for getting lost and scoring at the bottom of most events. Only a deep lifelong friendship kept them from killing each other".

Contrib. Ed. Note: This criticism comes from a man, Bob Manske, who along with his charming wife Risa, started out in a rally firmly limited to Florida and ended up in Alabama, thoroughly confused and out of gas. - RL]

"Sadly, Mickey passed away in April of 2014, leaving his best friend and an entire car club in mourning. To honor Mickey, the name of the award was changed to the Mickey McNair Memorial Broken Compass Award and has been awarded for the years 2013 (Tom and Jeanne Schmitz), 2014 (Mark and Judy Huber) and 2015 (Marc Cherry, who will be happy to be rid of this this coming December)."

As you can see from the above accounting, awards have an important, rich, and checkered history. Just you wait to see what shows up at the 2017 Brits on the Bay.

We end this epistle on a sad note, Richard Cunningham, our good friend and member of both PBCA and the South Alabama British Car Club (SABCC), recently passed away. He will be remembered for his kindly nature, ready wit, and great technical knowledge that he was always ready to share. We hope, Dick, that you are going to where all the cars are beautiful, none are rusty, and all start with just a turn of the key. You are missed.