PCA Southeast Michigan Region

From the Blog

P4-2018-09 – RECAP: 2018 PORSCHE PARADE

By Don Kleist. Photos by Don Kleist and Nancy Richardson.

This was a hard article to write. I started several times, only to get hung up on the same thoughts. I will just get them out of the way so I can continue with good words about the recent Porsche Parade held at Tan-Tar-A Resort near Osage Beach, Missouri, on the bank of Lake of the Ozarks. This was the fifth PCA national event Nancy and I have attended, four Parades and an Escape. The people, places, cars, and events make these gatherings special.

For the venues, it is a marketing director’s dream come true. It is a time to show off their facilities, service and ambience to a demographic that is ideal for a resort, people who travel and tend to have more disposable income than most. Parades are attended by PCA members from all 50 states and most Canadian provinces. Most places rise to the occasion and treat us very well.

Not so at Tan-Tar-A. The staff treated us ok, but it was what we would expect at any hotel or resort, nothing special. It seemed like we were just the guests who happened to stay there that week. Our impressions seem to be common with many other attendees. The resort recently changed owners. Now it belongs to the Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville organization of resort properties. They missed a golden opportunity to show us that they are a resort worth returning to. It was not a very good way to show off the new ownership. But enough of this, on to an article about the good things that happened.

In early July about 900 PCA members, 28 from SEMPCA, and their guests assembled for the 63rd Porsche Parade. The total attendance was about 2,300 people. It was a hot time for all. The daily highs hovered around 100° and the humidity was close to that number. I heard that the pavement used for the autocross measured an incredible 140°! The volunteers who handed out cold bottled water were kept very busy.

Our thanks to the many PCA volunteers who made this Parade another great event. It amazed me that an event with the scope of a Parade can be planned and organized entirely by volunteers. The organization was impeccable and the wide variety of activities meant that everyone could be as busy as desired. To all the volunteers, job well done!

Tan-Tar-A resort is located on Lake of the Ozarks, the largest man-made lake in the U.S. The lake was created when the Union Electric Company of St. Louis constructed the Bagnel Dam on the Osage River in the late 1920s to generate electricity. The lake covers an area of 54,000 acres and has 1,150 miles of shoreline.

The terrain is gently rolling to hilly, and the southern climate means ample precipitation and lush vegetation, and great roads for Porsches!  It is truly a spectacular location. Because of my career in the defense business, I traveled extensively. I have been to 49 states and am always amazed that each area of this country has its own particular beauty. Lake of the Ozarks is no exception.

The Tan-Tar-A Resort consists of a cluster of large hotels with meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, and shops. This is referred to as The Resort. The main building is located on a rather steep hill. From the lobby side the building looks like a series of 1-2 story buildings built on a steep hill. The lobby is actually located on the 6th floor, but it opens to a covered driveway! Later in the week I had the chance to see the other side of this building. That side looks like a huge 8-story hotel.

On the inland side of The Resort are a 9-hole golf course and an 18-hole golf course. The hilly terrain and lushness of the area are perfect for golf and, from what I could see, these courses are beautiful like the courses found in northern Michigan.

Adjacent to The Resort are about 300 individual residences. Most are privately owned and many have one or more suites that can be rented through the resort. These are referred to as The Estates. Nancy and I had stayed in one of these suites.

Getting to Parade was a two-day drive. We spent the night in Springfield, IL and arrived at Tan-Tar-A at about 1:00 P.M., Saturday afternoon. We gained an hour because of the time zone change. Our suite was not ready, so we decided to  have lunch. Nancy and I made a small side bet as to who would be the first person we meet who we knew. I won on the way to the restaurant. It was Patti Door! She told us that JB’s Boathouse Grill was the place to go. We ended up eating most breakfasts and many dinners there.

After lunch we went to the wash rack to get the dirt and grime from a 700+ mile drive off my 911. The combination of hot glass and cold water resulted in a large crack in my windshield. What a way to start! Then, as we dried the car, we discovered that my black 911 was one gigantic water spot! We later learned that the resort uses well water that is extremely hard. At that point we had no real options. The usual way to remove water spots is with distilled water, white vinegar and lots of elbow grease. All of these items were in short supply.

We then checked in, got directions to our suite, and set about finding it. This was a serious challenge. The meandering roads in The Estates are narrow, hilly, and poorly marked. The buildings themselves are also poorly marked. After trying to find our suite, we asked someone for help. It turns out, we were one building away from ours, but did not know it.

Our building housed what seemed to be an owner’s suite and four suites for rentals. It was on a severe slope and there were only two parking places in front, both occupied by Porsches. There was no level strip of pavement anywhere near. Where to park? We saw a maintenance man who made a call and told us we could park up the hill in the driveway of the adjacent building. What a mess. Our start to Parade was memorable, but not in a good way.

The next morning we used the shuttle service that serviced Tan-Tar-A. We were given a number to call and told that the wait could be 5 to 30 minutes, plan accordingly. But our room had no phone. And no one associated with Tan-Tar-A asked if we had a cell phone. I guess they just assumed that we had a cell phone.

Tan-Tar-A has two independent shuttle operations, one with medium-sized vans that serviced The Estates and a number of golf cart-like conveyances that serviced The Resort area. That meant to get from the restaurants to our suite we had to use the carts to get to the shuttle pickup point, then wait for a van to take us to our lodging. This got to be a hassle.

Parade began the next morning with registration. Then we spent the afternoon trying to make my 911 presentable for the concours on Monday. There was not much we could do about the major issues, so we presented the car for the Historic Display with cracked windshield and water spots.

Sunday evening Pirelli sponsored the Welcome Party near the 9-hole golf course. This marked the first real activity for us. The weather was still hot, but bearable. The people at Parade share a common interest and are super friendly. The social events like this are a wonderful opportunity to make new friends from other regions. This was no exception.

Monday was Concours day. I got going early to get my 911 positioned for the Historic Display. After two false starts at parking, I got my car parked properly and made my way to the judges’ meeting. Paul Gilbreath, the head judge, gave us our instructions while we had a quick breakfast and we were off. First, I judged the suspension of a 987 Boxster that had been driven to Parade from Portland, Oregon. Wow, what a clean car. I found nothing! Next came judging the interior in three Boxsters, one of which belonged to Howard Gilson. His car was well prepared and won his class.

SEMPCA fared very well in this concours. Fred and Kathy Young and Michael and Suzanne Gilson each won their class and group. The Gilsons entered a second car that also won its class. Other class winners were Roger and Denise Tayloe and Bruce Gearns and Marsha Leister. Unlike prior Parades, the class winners were announced and given their trophies at the concours itself. Only the group winners were announced at the banquet.

Nancy joined me later in the morning and we spent the rest of the day trying to keep our lawn chairs in shade. It was so hot and muggy we didn’t even walk around to see the cars.

In the afternoon, Lori Schutz, SEMPCA member and Zone 4 Rep, spoke to those who made the Historic Display happen. She explained how she structured the display as a tribute to her recently deceased father, Peter Schutz. He served as CEO of Porsche AG and is credited with returning the corporation to profitability and saving the 911 from being discontinued. She then presented each car owner with a shirt whose design commemorates a significant event in the saving of the 911. The design was created by the group that prepares marketing material for Munk’s Motors. This is fitting, as Chris’ red 911 Cabriolet is the last car that Peter Schutz drove.

Monday evening Lori hosted a reception for Zone 4 members. We each got a ticket when we entered the room. Near the end of the reception Lori drew one ticket. The winner would receive a signed copy of her father’s book, “The Driving Force.” I was lucky enough to be the winner. I feel very lucky and honored to have this book.

Tuesday morning we set off on a drive to Warm Springs Ranch, home of the Budweiser Clydesdales. This was our first chance to experience the rural roads of central Missouri. Hilly and twisty, these roads did not disappoint. They are a Porsche owner’s delight

Warm Springs Ranch is Budweiser’s largest breeding facility, more than 300 acres, and home to more than half of the company’s herd. These horses are magnificent, huge, sleek, gentle, and proud.

We saw the two stallions used in breeding, a couple of foals with their mothers, and Stan the Man, a gelding famous for the Budweiser TV ad in the 2013 Super Bowl. Many Clydesdales are named for famous people from Missouri. In this case it was Stan Musial, hall of fame outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Docents explained how the ranch functions and how the horses are bred and cared for. I was surprised to learn that while at the ranch, the horses do not wear shoes. It is only when they go on tour that they are shod.

After the presentation the staff opened the bar for us. Buds for all! They even brought in Stan the Man for up close visits and photo ops. Stan took it all in stride. I suspect that this was not the first time he faced a group of visiting strangers.

Later that afternoon we changed into more formal attire and took a shuttle to the main resort for the Concours Banquet. We barely fit into the banquet hall, so the cocktail hour was held in the hallway. This was not ideal. It was crowded, but it seemed to work OK.

Since most of the concours winners had been announced the day prior, the program consisted mostly of a sequence of speakers and announcements of PCA awards. I was tired and they seemed to run on forever.

Wednesday morning we set out for the former Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City. Opened in 1836, it operated until its closure in 2004. The oldest remaining building was constructed in 1868, three years after the end of the civil war. Now the prison operates as a tourist attraction. We were escorted through the facilities by people who had actually worked at the prison. They gave us first-hand accounts of its history and how the prison operated.

This prison housed a number of noted inmates; the most famous were Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray. We saw each of their cells. Liston was convicted of a series of robberies and stayed about three years. He learned to box while in prison. James Earl Ray was sent to this prison in 1960 for armed robbery. He escaped in 1967 by hiding in a breadbox that was used to send bread to another facility. He assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968.

We were thankful that we had nothing scheduled that evening. We had a leisurely dinner and some needed rest.

Thursday was a day of leisure for us. After an unhurried breakfast we went to the hospitality area to see the sponsors’ displays. Surprise, surprise, we found that most of them had been taken down! This was a disappointment. We did attend a discussion by a person from Hagerty Insurance who spoke about how to assess and value a 944 that was much like mine. This was very interesting because I could relate to what he said.

We then went to the Parade Art Show. PCA has many very clever and accomplished artists and photographers. As she seems to do with regularity, Patti Door won first prize in the jewelry category.

That evening we took a dinner cruise on Lake of the Ozarks. The lake is gorgeous! Much of the lakeside is lined with beautiful homes, but there are stretches where it is pristine. In some places there are steep cliffs, in other places buildings are close to the shoreline. We shared a table with Michael, Suzanne, and Howard Gilson. This relaxing evening was just what we needed after many full days.

We had not seen the lake side of the main hotel. It was on this cruise that we realized just how big the main Tan-Tar-A building is.

We had nothing scheduled for all of Friday. We were on our own to explore. We visited the Ozark Distillery, which is situated next to the 18-hole golf course. We had heard about it from Michael and Suzanne the previous evening.  This was a small operation run by a local couple.

They specialize in “Hand-Crafted Moonshine” made from Missouri-grown corn. They sell several versions, some right out of the still and some flavored. We were able to sample all of the products. The straight moonshine was what I imagined “good ole corn squeezins” to taste like, quite harsh. But the flavored versions were actually quite nice. A bourbon and a vodka round out their liquor line. They also sell a Bourbon BBQ sauce that tastes great. We bought an assortment of the moonshine that came in bottles with labels specially made for Parade. We also got some of their BBQ sauce.

Nancy got to talk to the owners, Dave and Tiffhany Huffman. They were gracious hosts who obviously enjoy what they are doing. The introduced Nancy to Helen, a small copper still on display in the store area. Nancy asked Dave how long had he been making moonshine. Dave’s response was, “legally or illegally?” He answered, “illegally, 47 years, legally 6 years.”

That evening we went to Wobbly Boots roadhouse, a BBQ joint in Osage Beach, the town nearest to Tan-Tar-A. We had to wait for 15-20 minutes for a table, but then were treated to a mighty fine BBQ dinner.

Saturday would be our last day at Parade. We started it with a Volunteer Lunch for all the volunteers who made Parade possible. It was scheduled to be outside, but because of the heat, it was held in the banquet room. Then it was off to Parade of Porsches. This is a chance to drive in a police escorted parade through the local area. Nancy and I have always liked this event. It is just Porsche owners enjoying their cars and giving the local population to see our beautiful cars. It is just FUN!

We staged in the parking lot of a nearby hospital. About 20 minutes before we were to leave the skies opened up and we were in the middle of a serious rainstorm. We actually began the drive about 15 minutes early. Unfortunately, the route included a few miles on U.S. 54, a four-lane freeway. This caused the group to get separated.

And the police escort was no help. They had us stop at red lights, which further separated the cars. When we finally got into Osage Beach we were greeted by many locals who were enjoying seeing our cars, but the “parade” was very disjointed.

The route then took us through some rural areas before getting back on the freeway for our return to Tan-Tar-A. By that time we were in a cluster of three Porsches, the others were nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, we were given a turn-by-turn routing for the parade. Without this we would have been totally lost. Parade of Porsches turned out to be a disappointment.

We got back to our suite and spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for our return trip. Our belongings grew by a few tee shirts and a box of moonshine, so packing was not a major chore.

We took the shuttle to the restaurant area for one last stop at the bar and last dinner. Getting back to our room would be our last use of the shuttle system. We waited about 10 minutes for the golf cart to take us to the shuttle stop. There we waited another 35 minutes for a shuttle. This was hardly the treatment we expected.

Sunday morning we finished packing the car, had one last breakfast, and checked out of Tan-Tar-A. The trip back to Michigan was long, but uneventful. We arrived home that evening a bit tired, but otherwise OK.

This ended our fourth Parade. Looking back on it we had a great time. We got to see old friends and make some new ones. The activities were varied and extremely well organized. For an endeavor of this magnitude everything went smoothly.

We are already talking about attending Parade next year in Boca Raton, Florida. That will be two long days of driving each way, but the reward will be well worth the effort. We will see.

The next morning I had a pleasant surprise. The several rainstorms we drove through seemed to have washed away the water spots! I cannot explain this, but who am I to argue? One giant chore was eliminated. I did get a new windshield and the 911 seems good as new.

Have your say