2007 POCI Convention
The success of an event as large as a national car convention is rooted in preparation. If you've built in contingency plans to cover every possible situation that could pop up, your staff will be calm and confident on opening day, and for the duration of the event. If not, you'll see them running frantically from problem to problem and the "solutions" are usually not satisfactory. The problem at hand really should have been anticipated and solved six months before, not in a panic before a crowd of angry guests.
Fortunately for everyone who attended the 2007 POCI Convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma, chairpersons Tracy Ritz and Larry Crider were all about the details and it certainly showed. This was especially true due to the location of the convention-right in the middle of downtown Tulsa, which was under construction. As it turned out, the host hotel, the Crown Plaza Tulsa, was a perfect setting for the event, offering a central location and luxurious accommodations for convention participants.
I walked around the entire show area and-truth be told-at first I was concerned. The construction crews were everywhere and I just couldn't imagine how this wasn't going to turn into complete chaos. Visions of hundreds of show cars being towed away by indifferent flatbed drivers danced frightfully through my head.
Fortunately, my worst-case-scenario concerns had been covered long before we arrived. The event was as efficient and well-planned a convention as I have ever seen, much like the proverbial duck swimming across the pond-no one saw what was going on below the surface.
The planning went far beyond setting up show fields and swap meet areas. There were plenty of activities for everyone, including tech seminars, tours, Native American cultural performances, and an ice cream social-the perfect end for a hot day. Like the rest of the convention, the programs featured a laid-back, friendly atmosphere and interesting topics. The event was also the focus of a large amount of media attention and was frequently featured on local TV news casts.
As with all POCI Conventions, the cars are what everyone comes to see. A total of 335 Pontiacs, Oaklands, and GMCs were registered in Points Judged and Popular Vote categories. Tulsa also saw the largest assemblage of Oaklands ever at a POCI convention. A total of 12 of these rare ancestors to the Pontiac were on display, and one of them, the 1911 touring car, owned by Jim Cohen, took the Pre War Best of Show Award. The Post War Best of Show was "Surfari," a customized 1957 Trancontinental Safari wagon built and owned by Lou Callasibetta of Stillwater, New Jersey.
The only significant problem that occurred during the event was overspray from some painting a few blocks away that settled on some of the show cars on Saturday. This was a situation that the Convention Committee could not have reasonably anticipated, as the main source of the paint was not near the event and didn't happen during normal business hours. The paint was carried by the wind and landed all over downtown Tulsa. Though insurance covered most of the problems, it was still a troubling situation for many, some of whom did not notice it until they returned home. Many owners were able to remove the paint with products like Clay Bar Magic and other surface treatments. Others needed to color sand or repaint.
Drag Racing In Tulsa
For the last several years, drag racing has become an integral part of the POCI Convention experience. It seems that every year, the numbers grow for both racers and spectators. For 2007, things went off without a hitch, though at first it didn't look like it would.
Racers woke to heavy rain early Friday morning and it appeared that the weather might prevent the running of the 2007 POCI Drag Meet. Fortunately, the event proceeded as scheduled, albeit a bit rain-delayed.
"The key thing is that the rain let up at 8 a.m.," says POCI Vice President Dave Bennett. "We woke up looking out the windows of the hotels thinking we were doomed. Once we were at Tulsa Raceway Park, Denise, the track manager, assured us that they would have the track dry an hour after the rain stopped, and she certainly kept her promise. She really knew how to run a race. The track and the personnel were top-notch in all respects."
A total of 81 racers and 467 spectators took part in the event. Cash and prize totals were over $6,000, and all awards were handed out at an impromptu ceremony immediately following the end of eliminations. "The purpose of going to the POCI Convention is to have fun," Bennett explained. "We are creating an environment to increase the enjoyment factor for convention participants. Drag racing is a big part of that. Despite the weather, it was still the best-attended activity at the convention. I want to thank the volunteers from the Indian Nations Chapter for their help in making the event a huge success."
For 2008, the POCI convention will be held July 8-12 in scenic Spearfish, South Dakota, near such attractions as Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Black Hills, Devil's Tower and Spearfish Canyon. It will be hosted by the Tomahawk Chapter, under the direction of POCI Vice President Dave Bennett, Secretary Paul Bergstrom and Treasurer Jim Felker. The POCI Drag Meet will be held at Sturgis Dragway in Sturgis, South Dakota, on Friday, July 11. Be sure to visit www.poci.org for updates.
Fourth Annual POCI Drag MeetTulsa Raceway Park, July 13, 2007Place/DriverCarE.T.MPHSuper Chief1st • Steven Cummings '68 Firebird10.305123.972nd • Robert Johnson'87 "Ponte" Carlo 9.726138.34Semi • Brad Thompson'80 Trans Am 9.567135.97Chief1st • Charley Schmidt'66 GTO10.975121.062nd • Shawn Patterson'68 Firebird10.686125.35Semi • Jared Mitchell'67 Tempest10.142129.08Semi • Duane Ray'63 LeMans 9.820134.78Warrior1st • Scott Higgins'65 Tempest11.865112.202nd • Joe Edd Boaz'68 Firebird12.445105.21Semi • Terry Boos'68 LeMans13.114102.25Stock1st • Tim Dodson'69 LeMans14.37890.132nd • Jennifer Green'79 Trans Am 15.18390.41Semi • Verne Howard'77 Can Am15.39389.37Semi • Mike & Greg Broodbook'64 Tempest12.212106.60Front Wheel Drive1st • Monte Lee'00 GT16.13184.872nd • Richard Bock'98 GP16.14388.64
All In The Family
While it's not unusual to see families involved in racing, it is a bit of a rarity to see three generations of a single clan involved, each with their own race car. That's the standard operating procedure for the Thompson family of Gainesville, Texas, though, and they made a very respectable showing at the POCI Drag Meet at Tulsa Raceway Park.
Family patriarch Bill ran his '77 Can Am in Stock, his son Brad competed in Super Chief with his '80 Trans Am and Brad's daughter, Shelby, is the fastest of the trio, running in Super Chief with her Pontiac-powered rear-engined dragster. They made many passes and answered questions from race fans while in the pits.
When all of the smoke cleared, Brad came home with a Third Place finish in the Super Chief Class. He ran a 9.567 at 135.97 with his roof-mounted "gumball machine," letting everyone know he was on his way to the finish line. Here's one family that understands the value of quality time-in the form of low e.t.'s!
2007 Pontiac-Oakland ClubInternational Convention AwardsBest Of Show AwardsPre War• Jim CohenOzark, MO'11 OaklandPost War• Lou CalasibettaStillwater, NJ'57 Transcontinental 4-door SWSpecial AwardsJoe Oliver Award• Terry & Debbie HardenStrafford, MO'38 Deluxe 6 4-door SedanMost Interesting Pre War• Ken & Marsha AikinsSand Springs, OK'38 GMC 3/4 Ton Pick Up Most Interesting Post War• David & Julie BaileyBroken Arrow, OK'57 GMC 100 Pickup Concours d'Elegance Award• Bo & Frances BogatyBirmingham, AL'68 FirebirdRace Car Class Award• Ed BaxEugene, MO'62 Catalina
Points Judged AwardsModifiedBronzeRoy & Eveline Paullin'66 Bonneville conv.Robert & Faye Warren'67 GTO conv.Jere Neville'61 BonnevilleGoldMark & Jen Seybold'63 Grand PrixStockBronzeRobert & Linda Brown'69 Firebird 400 conv.Lloyd & Johannah Hyde'69 GTO John & Cynthia Gladden'70 GTO JudgeLarry & Chipper Allen'58 Parisienne conv.Jack & Sandra Rogers'59 CatalinaSilverSteve Porter'72 T/A Ronnie & Joye Keen'70 GTOLloyd Coulson'72 GTOJoe & Stephanie Mellott'84 T/A Darrel & Joanne Porter'65 GTO conv.Lee & Carol Orr'26 Sedan LandauLarry & Shelley Johnson'86 Fiero GTDavid Baker'66 Grand Prix Dwight & Nancy Ford'27 Landau Sedan 4-doorSteve Reichow'84 T/A SilverTed & Jan Siebert'71 Grand PrixSilver Jr.Silvio Kimmel'84 T/A GoldKent Baker'63 Bonneville Bob Blevins'67 Grand Prix conv.Ralph & Benilde Proscia'26 OaklandDonald Neumann'64 BonnevilleDwane & Kim Swacina'67 Grand Prix conv.Gary Dickinson'70 GTO Judge conv.Tom & Elaine Rhein'69 T/AHarold & Lois Krantz'65 GTOJack & Sandra Rogers'65 GTOMarv & Jeanine Spomer'89 T/A Tom & Elaine Rhein'70 GTO R/A-IVDavid & Lisa Johnson'75 Grand AmDavid & Joan Trokey'57 Bonneville conv.Gold Jr.Michael & Marie Butts'71 LeMansCharles Franke'52 CatalinaCharles & Pat Speaks'86 Grand Prix 2+2 Timothy & Helen Drain'64 LeMans GTOMartin Hirsch'58 Bonneville conv.Paul & Emercia Fortune'86 Grand Prix 2+2Brad Vass'92 GP Richard PettyGold Sr.John Folluo'63 Catalina (Ventura) Gold Jr.Michael Frey'59 Bonneville conv.Gold Sr.Ardyn Dempsey'67 Firebird Brandon & LeeAnn Goodwin'66 GTOUnrest. GoldBobby T. Hughes'30 CoupeGoldClayton & Melody Hamilton'31 Sport Sedan 4-door Clayton & Melody Hamilton'19 34B TouringDavid Creveling'77 Grand Prix LJMike & Ann Darr'72 GTO Gold Jr.Ronald & Linda Bryson'66 Bonneville 4-doorGoldBob & Brenda Wolf'63 Bonneville conv.John & Diana Piatchek'71 Grand PrixGold Sr.Ralph & Marlene Merrill'59 BonnevilleGold Jr.Bo & Frances Bogaty'68 FirebirdChamp Sr.Phillip & Mary Rauch'65 Catalina 2+2 Ron & Lee Ann Laird'48 Torpedo 8 conv.Norm & Florence Shotts'64 BonnevillePlaque Sr. Stephen & Barbara Kiellar'65 GTOChamp Sr.Joe Kiwak III'88 Fiero GT Robert & Arlene Rackowski'87 Fiero GTPlaque Sr.Ken & Carolyn Kucia'66 Bonneville conv.
Editor's Note: For 2007, the list of Popular Vote winners was simply too large to print in HPP. Please see the list and photos of all 2007 POCI Convention winners at www.poci.org.

Photo Gallery: 2007 POCI Convention - Showin' And Goin' On Tulsa Time - High Performance Pontiac

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