Bavarian Autosport

President’s Article May 2019

Octoberfest has a long and storied history beginning 50 years ago in Boston. This year’s 50th anniversary in South Carolina should be on everyone’s list of things to do this summer.

My first O’fest was in 2002 in Keystone, Colorado. I had become a member of the club in 1999, but had not attended any club activities yet at that point. I had read about O’fest in Roundel several times, so it seemed like an event where people just like me would gather and have fun with their cars for a week.

I had just leased a brand new black 2001 330ci and our son Kolin had purchased the family 325i from us. It was the summer between his sophomore and junior years, so we decided the two of us would make the trip with both of our cars to see what this BMW celebration was all about.

Since Kolin was an avid bicyclist and camper, we decided it would be fun to make the trip and camp in the Colorado Mountains during the event. We also discovered a caravan was beginning on the east coast and would make a stop in Omaha to pick up Midwestern members. We made the trip to the pick-up point hotel in Omaha the night before the great voyage would begin. We were excited to arrive at the hotel with a parking lot full of BMW’s from Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska and many states to the east. Current BMW National staff member Steven Schlosman was part of that group.

A caravan of nearly 30 cars departed from the west side of Omaha early in the morning with new and old BMW’s snaking its way toward the west. Not too far out in the Nebraska countryside, the caravan came to a halt when a newly restored 2002 from Minneapolis blew up a new Korman engine. The entire 30 car caravan was stopped on the side of Interstate 80 wondering what to do. This is the first time I met Scott Smed and Joyce. He had just purchased a new white 330ci, just like mine, so the conversation came easily. The owner of the 2002 would call a tow truck for the 2002 and the caravan would proceed. A member of the Nebraska group was also driving a 2002 without air conditioning, and that member eventually passed off his wife on my 16 year old son for the next many hours of riding with the AC on.

Once we arrived in Colorado, we learned there was a fire ban in the mountains due to the dry conditions, and camping was illegal. A decision had to be made on what to do next. Do we try to find hotels in with a large convention happening, do we go home or find someone to share a room with? If it had not been for that caravan, I don’t know what we would have done. On the caravan was the large contingent of Club members from the Omaha area whom we had met. Jeff Goman and Sheridan White were people we had met at the hotel pick-up point. I don’t remember the exact process, but they had rented a 4 bedroom townhouse for the Nebraska group and a few others. They were so kind to offer us a place to stay for the week. I shared a room with Vince, from Chicago, and Kolin slept on the living room couch. Each day the group would prepare meals as everyone donated money for the grocery shopping.

Each morning, Vince would rise early and jack up his old 2002 to do the daily repairs it required. He had a trunk load of parts, almost everything he needed to replace many old parts to keep it running. All the rest of us would go to the car wash and polish the cars until they shone in the beautiful Colorado sunshine.

Since Kolin and I were 1st timers, we did not enter into any events, but simply attended as many as we could to observe and learn about O’fest activities. One of the vendors was F1, which included an F1 car and the Pit Girls. I still have that picture of Kolin and me with those tall, beautiful Pit Girls. Visiting the F1 booth gave us the drive and desire to attend our first F1 race in Indianapolis yet that fall.

We had such a good time at our first O’fest, we have attended many since, and have of course, persuaded Becky and Katie to join us for the fun at several. Those are memories that will be will us for the rest of our lives and ones we can pass on to others who are interested in attending O’fest.

The highlight of the week was the Friday evening meal at the top of a mountain in which attendees rode up the mountain in cable cars. Early on Saturday morning we were off for home and began planning on attending the following year.

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