WINTER HAVEN FLORIDA 2003
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It was the INTERNATIONALS, 2003.
Absolutely perfect weather and water conditions greeted the nearly 200 attendees and their familys and friends at beautiful lake Schipp park in Winter Haven Florida, for the 2003 AOMCI international meet.
Originally scheduled to take place at the classic Cypress Gardens, the meet had to be relocated due to the untimely demise of this historical water park. We all hope that the local community or another benefactor can reopen this memorable facility.
Seems as if the collectors nowadays are now about evenly divided between old Mercury motors and pre-WWII older models. There were some pretty spectacular Merc displays. I guess this is parallel to what happened in the 50's as Mercury came to be the motor du jour. A nice pair of Thunderbolt racers. After a long search I now have a similar pair.
Still there was some really nice old iron on display. unfortunately I overwrote the first batch of pics I took containing most of them. Still I have posted some here from the second group for your enjoyment
Some shots of boats and motors in action. There wasn't much participation in the "Exhibitions" put on by HP and class. I think there needs to be some work done here to get more participation. I was also unhappy to see a few drivers without basic protection running high speed rigs - c'mon guys, at least a kapok jacket and some sort of head protection!!
One enjoyable portion of the on water activities were flybys by racing, classic and vintage groups. Taking pictures of this sort is difficult, but here are a couple of the classic B race guys. I lost all the pics of the others.
There were parts, motors and fun for all, everything from classic cars to a calliope. I certainly enjoyed the three days of activity and look forward to getting some equipment together to be able to run on the water.
The banquet held at the end of the meet on Saturday night was well attended and the enthusiasm for the award winners was long and loud. Fred Kiekhaefer was present and gave a talk on his personal experiences growing up with his dad and Mercury outboards.
Mercury Marine once again is to be commended for all the assistance and gifts/door prizes given to the attendees. For the spectacular awards they provided; I was the recipient of a 1st place trophy for my original 1919 Evinrude model "B" as the best unrestored pre-war motor displayed. We who attended hope to see them again soon!
And thanks to all you old motor nutz who attended, all had a great time. Hope I can make it to more meets in 2004. See you there??
Authored by BILL KELLY, who enjoys being a member of the Antique Outboard Motor Club. Join us!