Bellwether Financial Advisors

2019 Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet

2019 Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet

The 2019 Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet will be held on March 23, at Christopher’s, located at 2816 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa.

Our speaker this year will be Mike Renner from the BMW Performance Center with locations in Greenville, South Carolina and Thermal, California.

Mike is a professional driver for BMW and is responsible for corporate sales and the BMW Performance Center in Greenville, South Carolina. He began racing in 1983 and has competed in a variety of classes including GT, showroom stock, improved touring and sports racers for the past 27 years. He started instructing at the BMW Performance Center just after it’s opening in the fall of 1999 and his list of trainees includes new drivers, racers, F.B.I. agents and Secret Service members who are assigned the task of presidential protection. Mike received international instructor certification in basic, advanced, advanced M vehicles, intensive, perfection, and racetrack. Included in Mike’s duties as a driver for BMW is the opportunity to drive BMW racecars from their historic fleet.

For more information on Mike, check out this site:

Christopher’s has been a Des Moines tradition for over 50 years. On February 1, 1963, Joe and Red Giudicessi became the owners of a quaint restaurant in the Beaverdale area of Des Moines. Under their steady watch, Christopher’s has become one of Des Moines’ favorite locations.

Christopher’s is known for its excellent Italian-American cuisine, friendly staff and an atmosphere fitting of any occasion.

The social hour will begin at 6:00 pm with dinner to follow at 6:30 pm. Cost for this year’s dinner and awards banquet will be $40. Registration will be by mail or on-line through our website. For more information, please contact David Brighton at or 515-570-5549.

2019 Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet Reservation Form

Location: Christopher’s, Des Moines

Date and time : Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Cost – $40

Print reservation form

Mail reservation to: Iowa Chapter, BMW CCA, PO Box 42113, Urbandale, IA 50323

Pay for your reservations online – or mail in your check to the address above.

Reservations are due by March 20.


Please note that after you submit the online registration form, you’ll be directed to Paypal website where you can pay for your registration using Paypal, credit or debit card.


Fill out my online form.

BMW Club Planning Meeting Wrapup 2013

BMW Club Planning Meeting Wrapup 2013

Members of the Iowa BMW Club met at Sam and Louie’s in Urbandale on Nov. 17 to discuss the events for the calendar year 2014. Below is the calendar of events set for 2014, and a list of ideas for future events.

If you have any suggestions for club activities, please email Alison Bell at


Ideas for future events included:

  • Cars and Coffee at Karl’s—summer 2014 (Saturdays)/possible Dyno session
  • Bennigan’s Graffiti nights—-Wednesdays, summer 2014
  • Gymkhana
  • Duffy’s Collectible Cars—Cedar Rapids area
  • Skunk River Restorations
  • Driving School—MAM or elsewhere
  • United Sports Car Series—Road America—August 10, 2014
  • I Cubs/June 2014
  • Drake Basketball/Iowa Energy/Bucs/Iowa Wild

2014 Schedule of Events

  • January 14 — Informal Social, 6:30 p.m. Appare, 3769 86th St, Urbandale
  • January 25 — Drake Basketball Game-chaired by Nicole Smith — January 25 — Knapp Center, 2601 Forest Ave., Des Moines
  • February — Chicago Auto Show-chaired by Rick Talbot — February 15 — Chicago
  • February — Annual Dinner-chaired by David Brighton — February 22 — Des Moines
  • March — Tech Session at Earl’s Tires-chaired by David Brighton — March — West Des Moines
  • April — CR Winery Tour/Duffy’s Cars-chaired by Kolin Brighton — April — Cedar Rapids
  • May — Spring Drive/Poker Run-chaired by Nicole Anderson — May — Okoboji
  • May — Windy City Driving School — May 16-18 — Autobahn
  • June — Street Survival-chaired by Fred Bell — June 7 — Newton
  • June — Oktoberfest-National Event — June 16-20 — Beaver Creek
  • June — Iowa Cubs Game-chaired by David Trachtenberg — June — Des Moines
  • July — Annual Picnic/Summerset Winery-chaired by Jon Volz — July 27 — WDM/Indianola
  • August — IMSA/Tudor Race at Road America-Regional Event — August 8-10 — Elkhart Lake
  • August — Possible Driving School-TBA
  • August — Tech Session at Alloy Wheel Repair — August — Cedar Rapids
  • September — Gymkhana-chaired by Jeff Daly — September — Des Moines
  • October — J and J Car Show-chaired by Jack and Janelle Kramer — October 4 — Cedar Rapids
  • October — Street Survival-QC Subchapter — October — Bettendorf
  • October — Fall Colors Tour-combined Iowa/North Star Event — October — Wisconsin
  • November — Planning Meeting-chaired by Alison Bell — November 16 — Cedar Rapids
  • November — Group Drive-chaired by Mike Myers — November — Ames
  • December — Chili/video event-chaired by Ryan Smith — December 6 — Ankeny

High Performance Driving School – or How I Fill My Adrenaline Fix

Do you love to ride roller coasters? Thought about going zip-lining, bungee jumping or even sky diving? If so, then a high performance driving school might be right up your alley. I wasn’t always an adrenaline junkie, but as I’ve gotten older, I feel like I’ve become more adventurous and more open to trying new things. Driving schools aren’t just for the guys to come out and play anymore. Some reasons for attending are more practical in nature, others are just fun.

My indoctrination into the world of high performance driving came via another BMW CCA member. Then, my family started going to driving schools at Heartland Park Topeka. For my 18th birthday, I got to go to my very first driving school at Heartland Park, sharing the green 1999 M coupe with my dad. Not your typical daddy-daughter bonding time, but it works for us. Since that very first extremely hot weekend in Topeka, Kansas, I’ve done nearly 20 driving schools at tracks all over the country, including Mid America Motorplex (MAM), Heartland Park Topeka, Road America, MidOhio Sports Car Course, and Barber Motorsports Park.

When I started participating in driving schools, there weren’t many other women around. Sure you’d find a few wives or girlfriends around playing pit crew or working on their tans, but hardly any out on the track mixing it up. One of my early inspirations in driving was an instructor I’d had at Topeka that first year, Teresa. Some of you might remember her from Roundel as the “Oakley Woman.” She had a purple E36 M3, and I wanted a car just like that. She was one of the few women that I’d seen actually out on the track that first weekend. My new driving heroine is Sabine
Schmitz, of Nurburgring Ring Taxi fame. She’s done over 20,000 laps of the 20.8km Nurburgring, and has also appeared on UK’s “Top Gear” several times. There aren’t too many other women role models in high performance driving except for Danica Patrick and a few others, but I feel Sabine is much more humble and more versatile driver and thus a better role model.

As time has gone on, we’ve had a few women come out to try a driving school, but not too many stick around for the 2nd year and after that. Here are a couple of good reasons to come out and try it: First of all, it’s fun to “beat” the boys. I’ve had a couple instructors tell me that women are easier to teach than the men, so perhaps we also learn quicker and pick up new skills quicker. You don’t have to be the fastest car in a straight line to pass people on a road course. Half the battle is finding the best way through a corner to maximize your exit speed.

Second, and this should appeal to the shopaholics out there… you can buy some really cute driving shoes! We always recommend to drivers that you wear shoes that are obviously closed-toe, but also something with a smoother sole that won’t get mixed up in the pedals or possibly get caught. I’m a big fan of Puma’s Ferarri Collection; specifically the Drift Cat style, but they now have a BMW Motorsport Collection with all kinds of shoes appropriate for the task. Piloti also makes some great driving shoes, as well as Adidas, Simpson, and Oakley. If you get really into driving, then you can buy a really cute helmet; mine has flowers and kind of a tribal pattern on it.

Third, you get to meet a ton of awesome new people that enjoy doing the same things as you. We all enjoy driving our cars (not necessarily BMWs) and that goes a long way towards building friendships. I’ve gotten to know quite a few fellow drivers at the track, and now I am friends with them outside the track gates. These people can help you with your driving on/off the track,
and sometimes become life-long friends. The camaraderie is probably one of the things I look forward to about going to LDDS every year. One of the biggest reasons to come specifically to the
Longest Day Driving School at MAM is the Saturday night barbecue. Don and Stacy Van Lengen always put together a fantastic spread for us, and I’m sure that this year will not disappoint
The most important reason to come to LDDS is to have fun and learn a little about yourself and your vehicle along the way. No matter if you drive a Pontiac Vibe, Mini Cooper, or a brand new E92 M3, you’re sure to learn something. Inevitably there will be rain at LDDS… I can only remember one year out of the 10 or so we’ve been going there that it didn’t rain. Rain is a fantastic teaching tool for use on the street. It teaches you where the limits of your car and your tires are, and this can be especially useful in the winter time. Rain also teaches you to be smoother with your steering,
throttle and braking inputs. Some people say that “smooth is fast” and that holds true in both the wet and dry situations. Jerking the car around won’t help at all.

So, have I convinced you yet? Think that you’d like to try a driving school? One of the best places to start is at the Iowa Chapter’s Longest Day Driving School at Mid America Motorplex June 7-9. Check out for more information and registration links. Hope to see you there… and wear some cute shoes!

2013 Annual Dinner at Urbandale Golf and Country Club

2013 Annual Dinner at Urbandale Golf and Country Club

A big “Thank You” to all that came to the 2013 Annual Dinner on February 23 at Urbandale Golf and Country Club. Iowa Chapter members enjoyed a Bavarianinspired meal, including an appetizer of
bacon-wrapped bratwurst. Guest speaker Todd Magel, from CBS affiliate KCCI, gave us stories of his favorite cars, including his beautiful Lincoln Continental convertible, as well as some of his
favorite assignments like the Chicago Auto Show. We crowned our annual trophy winners for “Cutting it Fine,” Scott Smed, for his efforts in making sure that we had enough instructors for the 2012
Longest Day Driving School. Also, our “Member of the Year” was awarded to David Trachtenberg for his ongoing work as the chapter secretary. We also awarded Rick Prevette of Prevette’s, LTD in
Urbandale our Sponsor of the Year award.

Also a thank you goes out to our event chairs, Ed and CeCe Arnold. Their hard work helped make the dinner a successful event. The chapter is currently looking for an event chair for our successful event. The chapter is currently looking for an event chair for our 2014 Annual Dinner, which takes us back to the eastern side of Iowa. If you are interested in helping chair the 2014 Annual Dinner, please contact Alison Bell at

For additional pictures, please visit Photo Gallery

Fall Colors tour small, but mighty despite rain

Fall Colors tour small, but mighty despite rain

The Fall Colors Tour traditionally is the event where Iowa Chapter members gather to drive around the Iowa countryside and enjoy the splendor and wonder that the season has to offer. The route was set, reservations made, but Iowa’s weather had something a little different in store for us.

We started the weekend at BMW of Des Moines for breakfast and then headed south to Winterset. The rain came in buckets during breakfast and just when we got to Winterset, the rain stopped. It was also the weekend of the Covered Bridge Festival, so we walked around the market for a while, and got to know our fellow travelers a bit.

From Winterset, we drove to Mount Ayr for lunch and met up with our last group of members. After Mount Ayr, we journeyed further south into Amish country and into northern Missouri, where it drizzled a bit more. Our route took us across Missouri on some very twisty county roads and across equally curvy Highway 46 toward Maryville, Missouri. As many times as I’ve been through Maryville in planning this trip, I still have no clue what a Bearcat is, other than the mascot for NW Missouri State University.

After a brief stop on the side of Highway 71 to let a thunderstorm pass, we continued onto our final destination for Saturday. In St. Joseph, Missouri, we ate a fantastically delicious dinner at Cajun restaurant Boudreaux’s in historic downtown St. Jo. Sunday morning we departed from the Drury Inn for Topeka, Kansas. Luckily the rain passed through overnight and in the early morning because the drive there was quite scenic along the southern end of the Loess Hills, and then across the river in Kansas. We ended our journey at Heartland Park Topeka, where we met up with other members that were participating in a Porsche club driving school. We arrived a tad late to do parade laps, but were able to watch the action for a while and take some pictures. At that point the group broke apart to go their separate ways home, but all agreed that it was a fabulous time, and that though the weather put a little damper of some of the driving, it was still a great event.

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