(The coverage of the 2018 Bloomington Gold Charlotte appeared in the March 2019 issue of Vette Vues Magazine.)
By Bob Cook
The Bloomington Gold – Charlotte 2018 Show was held Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13. Two friends, John Keane and Bill Skinner (who are both Bloomington Gold Directors with responsibility for over-seeing judging classes), and I planned to attend. However, as the time drew near to head south to Charlotte (from Delaware), we kept hearing that Hurricane Michael was moving in from the Gulf over the Florida Peninsula and would probably pass right over Charlotte. We headed out anyway Thursday morning at 6:00 am hoping that by the time that we met the storm, it would be at of manageable intensity. And we did meet it at about 2:00 pm as we entered North Carolina. It rained cats and dogs, as they say, for about an hour and a half, and we saw a number of trees down with one partially blocking Interstate 85. But about 15 minutes before getting to our exit for the show, the rain stopped, and the sun came out – foreshadowing a great weekend!
First, for those of you not familiar with Bloomington Gold, a little history. The Bloomington Gold Corvette show started in Bloomington, Illinois in 1973 as primarily a Corvette swap meet. It was held at the Bloomington, Illinois fairgrounds on the last full weekend of June. It soon became the first major Corvette swap meet and show in the USA, with the Bloomington Gold Certification judging starting in 1978. Since that early start, the meet has grown to be one of the premier shows in the country with a large swap meet, Gold Standard Judging of entered cars, a Gold Collection, and a host of other events during the four-day event. The show still happens the last full weekend in June but is currently being presented at the Indianapolis Speedway, a great venue for all of the events associated with the show.
Three years ago, Rick Hendrick, a Bloomington Gold sponsor, invited Guy Larsen, President of Bloomington Gold, to bring the Gold Collection and Gold Standard Judging to Charlotte, NC to be a part of a Corvette event hosted at Hendrick’s facilities (Hendrick Motorsport Complex) in Charlotte, NC during October of each year. (Gold Standard Judging includes Certification, Survivor, and Benchmark Judging.) The Gold Collection and Gold Standard Judging are now held on Friday and Saturday, and the Queen City Corvette Club, from Charlotte, hosts a large Corvette show adjacent to the Bloomington Gold show on Saturday.
During the first two years at Charlotte, Gold Standard Judging was available only for the C2 and C3 classes. This year, judging was expanded to all of the Bloomington Gold classes. Forty-three Corvettes were judged. Owners could enter their car for Certification (Bloomington Gold, Silver, or Bronze) and/or Survivor judging. Owners entering both certification and survivor judging could qualify for a “Benchmark” award.
My responsibilities at the show on Friday were to get the cars to be judged parked in their proper spaces. We put the C1s and C4s and one C6 on the sidewalk in front of the building housing Hendrick’s car collection, the C3s in the parking area in front of the building and angled (so they looked good in the pictures) and the C2s around the perimeter of the parking area with the vendors in the middle of the parking area. This may sound easy, but when several cars arrive at once, it gets hectic. And, of course, we don’t want two cars of the same color to be side by side.
In addition to the Bloomington Gold judging, 17 cars were presented indoors for display in the 2018 Gold Collection, which featured “The Sharks 1968-1972.” (In the April 2019 issue of Vette Vues Magazine we featured 2018 Gold Collection.)
Rick Hendrick was allowing tours of his car collection at specified times on both Friday and Saturday – an amazing collection not generally open to the public. When you walk in, you immediately see a row of big block 1967 Corvettes of every color available. Our guide said that there were at least 30 427 ’67s. And the building is set up like a small town with businesses that relate to Rick’s past as well as a replica of his first dealership and a drive-in movie theater. Corvettes and Camaros are featured, but there are a number of other makes from old hot rods to modern supercars. Touring the collection is fun, but no pictures are allowed, so we don’t have any to show you.
Meanwhile, Bloomington Gold judging started early Saturday morning. Teams of four judged each car. My task on Saturday was to help tabulate. This was my first-time tabulating, so there was a bit of a learning curve, but soon we three tabulators were all awash in paperwork. After seeing the cars, it was interesting to see the judging sheets – mostly as I expected from viewing the cars, but occasionally there was a surprise. Copies of the judging sheets are given to the owners with their awards. The judges kept busy and were able to finish by 3:00 pm when the awards were presented to the owners.
It was a great show, the weather cooperated, the Hendrick facilities are second to none, and attendance was up from previous years. I would highly recommend a trip to Charlotte next October if you love Corvettes!
Here are some photos from the 2018 Bloomington Gold Charlotte event. Photographer: Bob Cook
The Bloomington Gold Charlotte event will once again take place at Hendrick Motorsports complex October 11 and 12, 2019.
The 2019 Bloomington Gold Charlotte will pay tribute to the late Jim Perkins. Jim Perkins was an executive at General Motors whose career spanned 6 decades throughout the auto industry and is credited to have saved the Corvette brand from an extension. He later becomes CEO of the Hendrick Automotive Group after his retirement from General Motors. He was inducted into the 1999 NCM Corvette Hall of Fame and was inducted into the 2013 Bloomington Gold Great Hall.
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