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utes from the track. When we learned

that they would also be hosting a

major Corvette convention that week-

end, we saw the makings of an

unimaginable fiasco. Not only would

rooms be at a premium but the park-

ing would be a nightmare.

Before anyone was able to get too

lathered up about it, the landscape

shifted. The SVRA informed us that

they were given the opportunity to

move the date up one week and hold

their event in conjunction with

Pocono’s annual IndyCar weekend,

August 21-22. They would make the

change only if we agreed. We kicked it

around and decided that having the

convention a week later made sense. It

wouldn’t be the same date as Mon-

terey, we wouldn’t have to deal with

wall-to-wall Corvettes, and what car

freak wouldn’t like to see the current

crop of IndyCars on Pocono’s “Tricky


We had already sent an eBlast ad-

vising everyone of the SAAC-40 dates

but we were able to send out another

one quickly to update everyone, so

there wasn’t too much damage done.

Pardee’s hotel investigation turned up

the Kalahari Resort and Convention

Center, which was only about twenty

minutes away from Pocono. It was

nearing completion and was expected

to be up and running by July 1st. They

had over 400 rooms, a huge water park

and a giant convention center. The

possibility of holding the concours in-

doors made us look very closely at this

facility. The company behind it already

had two other Kalahari Resorts in op-

eration, one in the Wisconsin Dells

and the other near Sandusky, Ohio. A

fourth was being built in the Dallas-

Fort Worth area. So it was not some

fly-by-night operation.

At first The Kalahari appeared to

be on the pricey side, with rooms going

for $200 a night on Wednesday and

Thursday and $300 on Friday. But dig-

ging a little deeper into the details,

each room consisted of two queen-

sized beds and a fold-out sofa that was

also queen-size. Creative convention-

eers who could put up with roommates

could bring that price down to a little

less than $50 bucks a night per per-

son.With so many members comment-

ing about the lack of activities for kids

at conventions, the water park and the

huge arcade appeared to address that.

There were a number of other hotels

in the immediate area, so those who

wanted less expensive accommoda-

tions didn’t have to look too far.

We scheduled a reconaissance of

the hotel for late June. To our un-

trained eye, it appeared they would

meet their grand opening on July 4th

target.We were awed by the huge ball-

room where we pictured the concours

being held. Air conditioning and wall-

to-wall carpeting certainly beat hold-

ing it under a tent out at the track.

Splitting the concours judging off from

the track activities and holding it back

at the hotel was a downside, but for

most concours people, it’s an either-or

proposition anyway. They tend to see

the goings-on at the track as some-

thing of a mild irritation.

We also had a tour of the track,

scouting locations and generally get-

ting the lay of the land. Sharing a fa-

cility like this with another group, by

definition, just about guarantees that

you won’t get everything you want.

Adding a third group means slicing

the pie into even smaller pieces. One

thing we had not counted on (and

maybe we should have, but you can’t

know everything) was that the Indy-

Cars were the eight-hundred pound

gorilla in the room. Things were not

divided up into thirds. Because of their

contract with the track, IndyCar got

pretty much what they wanted and

the leftovers were split between SVRA

and SAAC – and not necessarily

evenly. At this point there wasn’t

much use in complaining.

The major downside, as we saw it,

was that SAAC activities would be

spread around the track’s infield. Cer-

tain areas were off limits, reserved for

IndyCar and their cars wouldn’t begin

arriving until Friday. We recalled that

it would be much different from

SAAC-37 at Watkins Glen. At that

convention, SAAC was given it’s own

area inside the track and everything

was accessible to everyone. Pocono’s

infield was separated into different

areas by 10-foot high chain-link fences

with access gates at either end. It

make getting around like a rat’s maze.

It wasn’t the end of the world, but it

was unnerving at times.

Ticketing for the IndyCar event

was also another sore spot. Initially

we were led to believe that SAAC con-

vention attendees would receive tick-

ets to the IndyCar event as part of

their registration. SAAC had to pay

$10 each for these, which came out of

the $30 registration fee we were

charging. However, by the weekend of

the IndyCar event, things had

changed. We were informed that our

tickets were good for Friday and Sat-

urday only. If anyone wanted to stick

around for Sunday’s race they would

have to pay the regular spectator rate

of $40 per ticket. That would allow

them into the lower levels of the

grandstands on the front straight. If

someone wanted to get higher up in

the grandstands to get a better view,

they had to pay more. A paddock pass

was also additional. Also, they would

have to use the general parking and

general admission gate. The tunnel

entrance accessible to SAAC previ-

ously was now closed to us. All of this

would not prove to be much of a prob-

lem because not many conventioneers

decided to stick around for the race.


272 Fall 2015