6TH ANNUAL NATIONAL WOODIE CLUB MEET
THE COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL WOODIE CLUB ANNUAL MEET
Pre-Historic Times ….
According to legend and to the author’s vague and potentially inaccurate recollection of conversations with treasurer, Will O’Neil award winner and certified fossil, Bob Stevens, many of the eastern members of the National Woodie Club, sometimes accompanied by founder Will O’Neil gathered for a cruise and good times in Stowe, Vermont. For many years an unofficial gathering has also taken place at the annual Macungie show. For decades many chapters, especially those in California, have held their own annual shows, sometimes attracting up to three hundred woodies and their stewards.
First stirrings …2017….
The inaugural National Woodie Club Meet was held in Dearborn, Michigan on September 30, 2017, after a number of fits and starts expected with any first effort. At your scribe’s first board meeting as national president, the meet was not discussed although it was agreed that the next board meeting would be in Dearborn. The board “met” by email and telephone (remember those days before Zoom?) and by unanimous vote decided to put on a national meet the same weekend as the board meeting. Due to a variety of difficulties the president (yes, it’s my fault) announced to the club that the meet would not go forward. Then, thanks to Dearborn local Cheryl Bassett, who with her husband owns the 1949 Ford Woodie formerly owned by United Auto Workers chief Walter Reuther, we announced the meet would proceed. We then leaned on local Michigan members Vince Muniga and Ralph Hancox as well as many others for additional boots on the ground.
Central Directors Jeff Krickhahn, Jack Boyle and Jeff Hobgood worked tirelessly to make the first meet a success. and it was with about fifty woodies attending. Better yet the club finances ended in the black. On all accounts, a successful maiden voyage.
Sophomore Jinx Struggles…..2018
For 2018 your president and your board put on a joint meet with the granddaddy of all Woodie shows, San Diego Woodies’ Wavecrest in Encinitas. Again, the meet was held the same weekend as the board meeting, September 22, 2018. It was difficult, at best, to put on a combined meet, but, with special thanks to SDW members Jim Esposito and Rocky Brown as well as the Western Directors, Wayne Yada, Dan Close and Ron Dugger, your club succeeded. The most important thing with woodies is to have fun.
Third time is the charm…..2019
On August 10, 2019, your club, thanks to the Herculean efforts of Eastern Director Sonny Perkins ably assisted in particular by his fellow Eastern Directors Bill Quick and Bob Stevens held “The Maine Event” in Ogunquit, Maine. This time we truly got it right with a full weekend of events in spectacular weather on the beautiful Maine coast. There were even four California woodies present as well as a very full showground. It was your scribe’s last day as president of this great club, and I have seldom been prouder of the NWC than with the very successful third show.
What pandemic? 2020
Under the direction of the board and President Wayne Yada your club held its very successful fourth annual meet in 2020 at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in conjunction with the wooden boat show at that lake - NOT. Due to the cancellation of the joint boat show and our host site arrangements, we bailed out with the boats.
Literally everything had to be re-booted so that the fourth annual meet could take place in year five, that being 2021. Despite the misadventures of the entire planet, your club, and in particular Central Director Jeff Krickhahn at the helm and first mates Scott Gilday and Jeff Hobgood, held the fourth annual meet on September 24-26, 2021, at Lake Delavan, near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. A full weekend of activities worthy of another successful annual 3-day meet was enjoyed by all in attendance.
At the evening banquet, we toasted and roasted our long time out-going editor John Lee. Unfortunately our new editor, Roddy Sergiades could not attend from Canada due to Covid restrictions. At the conclusion of the meal, mother nature offered a spectacular sunset - the perfect end to a successful meet.
As a club we think we are getting pretty good at this.
Finally in June of 2022, after a two year hiatus due to Covid 19 restrictions, the Santa Cruz Woodies in conjunction with the National Woodie Club hosted the 26th edition of "Woodies on the Wharf" (WOW) + the NWC 5th National Meet. WOW was already one of the largest Woodie car gatherings in the country. Each year WOW draws tens of thousands of people from all over the US, plus parts of Canada and overseas to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf overlooking Steamer Lane, one of California's premier surfing spots.
Uncounted people contributed to the successful return to the wharf including the Santa Cruz woodie Chapter, the NWC western directors and many, many others.
3+ fun days of events, food, tours, reunions and of course, coating the wharf with wooden bodied cars - what an experience!
The NWC leadership honored Bill Sampson with the coveted Will O'Neil Award for his years of service on behalf of the NWC and all lovers of woodies.
A photo of you and your woodie goes right here...if you attend the 2023 Meet in Mystic, Seaport, Connecticut