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Corvette Homecoming

A 2012 Success

Story provided - October 18, 2012 10:00 AM

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1 The skies were threatening at the start of the Corvette Homecoming, but things got better.

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2 & 3 Winds and heavy rains left their mark on the Friday activity, but the next day dawned perfect for show activities.

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4, 5 & 6 There was a great variety of Corvettes on hand to enjoy the 2012 Corvette Homecoming.

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7 The meal ticket didn’t bring the standard concession fare. These thick marinated grill-cooked steaks showed that the organizers know how important a happy clientele can be.

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8 Some great awards are going to be headed home with new owners when the Saturday celebration ends. Check out the QFT carburetor that goes to the Best of Show.

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9 Blue Light Special provided the entertainment and got the party started with music that made you get up and dance.

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10 This is one of the centerpieces that ended up as a prize for the night. It came from Hendrick Motorsports and included a piece of metal from a Dale Earnhardt Jr. car.

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11 If you can’t find a dance partner (or your regular partner would rather talk Corvettes than dance), grab a hotel employee who will fill in nicely until he has to go back to work.

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12 Vera and Joe Pruitt put one heck of a show for the Corvette folks.

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It has been described as similar to expecting a child.

It begins as a fun idea. It develops over time and then, finally, there’s lots of pain and activity and it’s finally here. That’s when you realize the pain and sacrifice was well worth it.

The Corvette Homecoming in Bowling Green, Kentucky, had all of the makings of the experience. If people come to an event for amusement or entertainment, this was a good choice.

The 2012 event began when a group of hot rodders went to the downtown ballpark. The Corvettes circled the track to the delight of the fans on hand. The group had a chance to interact with the mascots and received free hats. They were even selected to throw out the first pitch for the night’s game.

The experience was grand until about the second inning. The gentle breeze turned into a wind and the wind grew ugly. Infield dust was taking flight while still dry, which wasn’t long because a downpour of Kentucky rain made its appearance.

Fortunately, the homecoming crowd could look down upon the scene from the private skybox that was opened for their use. In addition to the hospitable food and drink, it gave them a bird’s eye view of the lightning show. As one Homecomer put it, “Shoot, this is better than baseball.”

Back at the host hotel, the staff that didn’t make the trip was busy securing all that could move and then some. Awnings were lowered, frame structures were secured with buckets of water and the Corvettes in sight were protected. At the end of it all, there was not a single scratch on a Homecoming Corvette.

With better weather, another item on the agenda was the first “Road Tour” to take in the beautiful scenery in and around Bowling Green. Homecomers were greeted with a highly organized tour launch that included a police escort. A 40-mile journey produced a mosaic of green, corn, churches and centuries-old towns. As the tour returned to the finish at Bowling Green’s Fountain Square, someone had removed the reserved parking signs and filled in the once-reserved spaces, leading the crew with nowhere to go.

The Bowling Green police department was apologetic. In true Corvette tradition, everyone shrugged it off and just filled in the available parking spots. The organizers felt a little put-off about the problem, but those feelings were quickly soothed when everyone regaled the crowd with the fun they had with the road trip.

Saturday brought a reward for all of Mother Nature’s Friday wrath. With temperatures at about 90 degrees and a 10-mile per hour breeze, it was very comfortable. A slight overcast kept the South’s heat index at bay. For the first time since they were shut down, the crew of the famed Corvette Action Center recalled the good old days when owners could call the plant directly and speak to the people who knew all about the current production Corvette.

A challenge revealed itself when organizers found out that ballroom space wasn’t what was expected. Normally, the group has access to four ballrooms for the whole night. This year, another group was going to take half of the space later in the night, so there had to be a different plan of attack. It forced the awards ceremony to start on time and end a bit sooner. It all worked as if it was meant to be done that way.

The party included a quick auction with unique table decorations from the Corvette folks at Hendrick Motorsports. Proceeds from the auction benefitted Corvettes Conquer Cancer. The Judge’s Choice Best of Show award featured a huge carburetor from Quick Fuel Technologies, based right in Bowling Green.

The success of 2012 has organizers thinking of 2013. There are plans to add even more to the schedule to increase the Corvette Homecoming experience. The event will be held July 25-27, a week later than usual. The idea is to open up the possibility of Corvette Plant Tours to see the newest generation of Corvette in the making.

The scheduled grand marshal for 2013 is a very well-known automotive TV personality, but the identification will come at a later date.

A planned change in the vendor policy will encourage more swapping and old parts, along with new product vendors. There will be a change in the layout with more announcements about specifics closer to the show dates.

Many of those who took part in the 2012 event are also making plans to return. A fun time was had by all, as the 2012 Corvette homecoming can be labeled a success of the season.

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