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Cactus GTOs: The Year In Review
Some Club highlights: 2016
• In July, the GTOAA Nationals were held in Bellevue, Washington. Several of us attended, including GTOAA Chapter Coordinator and former Cactus GTO Club president Denny Deal, who drove his ’65 GTO out to the event.
• One of the highlights for Club member Jim Zeivel this year was seeing his '67 GTO convertible in the July pages of Hemmings' Muscle Machines Magazine. [Pictured Right]
• At the end of October, we did our twice-yearly Adopt-a Highway cleanup hosted by club members Tim and June Smith. This involves keeping a one-mile stretch of the scenic Apache Trail clean.
• In November, we hosted two swap meet spaces at the Good Guys Car Show. Stan Ford and Carl Bylander hosted the spaces, paid for by your club. Club members sold hundreds of dollars’ worth of Pontiac parts.
• Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we drove cars and organized the lot for the Silver Auction at Fort McDowell Casino, providing payment for gas and per diem for those club members and their friends and family members that worked. Each time we do an auction, the club also benefits.
• In early December, we participated in the Toyz for Totz cruise to Wickenburg and made a substantial donation to the cause.
• In December, Frank was very gracious in hosting another car clinic for club members at his beautiful motorsports facility in Scottsdale.
• The Desert Renegades invited us to their Christmas Party December 11th at the Deer Valley Airport Restaurant of which many of us participated. Santa even came by helicopter.
• The following week many of us entered our cars in the Pontiac Heaven Car Show and Drag Race and Nostalgia Drags event at the Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park, put on by Club member Steve Barcak. The weekend event also included a tour hosted by Steve of his Pontiac Heaven boneyard.
• In early January, we were running the lot again for the Silver Auction in Fountain Hills, the week for all the auctions in the Phoenix area.
• On Jan. 29, Frank and Toni Gostyla hosted another one of the club’s After-Christmas party for our club and the Desert Renegades. It was well attended with over 50 people enjoying a tasty catered barbeque lunch paid for by our club.
• We co-sponsored The Buick-Olds-Pontiac and Cadillac Show in March and helped the Desert Renegades organize and run the car show, with the two clubs splitting the profits.
• The Club worked with the Z club in the Phoenix area to arrange for a tour of the Universal Technical Institute on April 15th.
• We did another Adopt-A-Highway cleanup with a great breakfast included on April 22nd –– Earth Day –– organized by Tim and June Smith
• A cruise to Bartlett Lake on April 23rd was well organized by Carl and Stan, our club’s Activities Directors.
• We did another Car Clinic at Frank Gostyla’s on May 6th, and had one of our largest turnouts!
In addition to the above your club donated several hundred dollars to the Pontiac Museum in Illinois as well as several other charities. We held our monthly meetings throughout the year.
We hope you all had a great time in our club. We feel it was a very successful year we hope you feel the same way. Look to our website and our club eNewsletters to see what we have planned for the upcoming year. September is almost here! [Back to Top]
The 2017 GTOAA Nationals – Springfield, IL. June 26th - July 1st
Being the Chapter Coordinator for the GTOAA I’m required to go to, and participate in each of our nationalmeets. This years’ event in Illinois was well attended and full of things to do.
I flew in on a red eye thru Chicago and then got a puddle-jumper to Springfield (population 116,500) arriving about 10:30 at night on the 26th, the first day of registration. That first day is all about setting up the swap meet spaces, getting registration open, having the photographer ready for the rush and to check into the hotel.
They had two hotels, like most of the meets we set up, with the main hotel, the Crowne Plaza using 2/3’s of its main front parking lot for our event. I had to attend some meetings on Wednesday afternoon so I had the morning to go and peruse the parking lot, take a look at the cars there, and to see who and what was for sale.
The host chapters (Gateway GTOs, Windy city GTOs and the Indy GTOs) did a fine job of defining where each individual was to park. All judging categories were alphabetically marked then waterproof sheets were taped to the ground to indicate the name, year and entry number of all of the registered GTOAA members. This made it easy when the popular vote judging was being done.
Like most nationals there were a lot of driving things to do. Springfield is located on the old Route 66 from Chicago to LA. You could take a comfortable bus ride on the Lincoln History Tour or to the Pontiac-Oakland Museum. Once in Pontiac, IL. you could visit The Pontiac-Oakland Museum, a World War II Museum, and a Route 66 Museum. Along with the museums, the multiple murals along the streets’ buildings, the restaurants, and the shops, emphasize how the people of Pontiac have kept the city alive and vibrant for its visitors. I would have loved to go on the Lincoln History Tour just to visit and see what has been preserved throughout President Lincoln’s life.
For those that opted to drive to Pontiac, IL for the photo ops, there were a number of stops along the way featuring old bridges, buildings, gas stations, drive -ins. Etc. to fill a photo album. Wednesday night included a cruise to a burger joint and a drive-in movie (for those with FM radios).
Thursday and Friday offered along more local attractions, as well as a “Bootleggers Pub Crawl” (transportation provided) to multiple old town watering holes to again get the flavor of old Springfield during the prohibition days. Saturday included a car show at a local theme park that included a water park, go-karting, batting cages and miniature golf, something for the whole family to enjoy.
We had all of the “Concourse Cars” inside the hotel and while it was a little tight (about 70 cars) everyone got in. I’ve included some pics from up on top of the hotel and while the parking lot seems thin the count on Friday and Saturday listed over 250 cars.
I found the vendors to be friendly and a bit over-priced, (it is the nationals) but I only had a few things I was looking for and I found what I needed. The good news from the meet was we had about 19-20 chapters represented, the GTOAA grew to just under 3,900 members worldwide (101 from outside the USA) and our chapters have done a better job of encouraging their membership to be part of the GTOAA.
Some of the changes the Board of Directors made at this meeting included the following:
In 2018 the minimum chapter percentage of GTOAA members increased from 60% to 65%. We had seven (7) chapters under the 65% level and my goal is to help them get over that hump.
Our next years’ National Event will be held in Valley Forge, PA. If you are a history buff this is where Washington wintered his Continental Army before surprising the Hessians by crossing the Delaware and changing the history of the United States with its war against England. It’s also a very prominent Civil War area with Gettysburg less than a couple of hours away.
This last year we emphasized to all of the chapters that the “Legend” would publish chapter events provided they generated some decent pictures and maximum 700-word write up detailing the event. I think our BOP involvement and even one of our auctions could certainly qualify.
This will be the last year that we print out the award certificates for both the membership and social media participation for each chapter. We’ll still do the presentation at the National Convention but the certificates will be sent along to the chapters as either .pdf or .jpeg files so each can include on the website or in their newsletters.
We did lose two chapters this year, the Woodward GTO Tigers & the Western NY GTO Club, neither were able to reorganize and meet the minimum GTOAA requirements for an accredited chapter.
All in all, it’s nice to get to different parts of the country and talk to folks about our hobby. We have a lot of good, dedicated GTO folks that love their cars and enjoy showcasing them when they can. My only drawback is this is the first convention I’ve been to, without one of my cars. It’s a lot more fun when you drive to these events and are involved in the actual show. Next year is Valley Forge, PA, I think I’d be in contention for the long-distance award. Happy motoring………………Denny Deal [Back to Top]
2016 GTOAA Nationals - Cruise Night to the XXX Hamburger Stand
On Saturday night the 16th of July I had the opportunity to participate in one of the better cruise nights put on at a national convention (and I’ve been to five of them).
The cruise started at the hotel and over two hundred cars took part in what had to be one of the longest and successful events at any national convention. We started out heading east up through Bellevue, and into Fall City where there is a hotel and casino next to the Snoqualmie falls. In the summer time the runoff is quite a bit less but it is still impressive. The parking lot is small and would not hold all of the cars on the cruise so the local chapter secured a school parking lot in North Bend, WA and had school busses there to run all of the spectators that wanted to see the falls get a ride back up.
Once most of the folks visited the falls it was on to the XXX Hamburger stand, one of the last two in the country. Parking is quite a bit better here and it was easy getting all of the participants situated. People strolled through the parking lot, mingled with friends, both old and new, and shared GTO stories. I’ve also included a photo of Mark Neumann and I along with Jim Wangers who made the trip as well.
By the way, the weather for the five day event was overcast mornings, sunny afternoons and evenings and temps between 65 and 80 degrees. It may have been a perfect national convention as far as the weather was concerned.
On Sunday March 29th, 2015 we jointly hosted this years’ BOP Show with the Desert Renegades at the Pavilion in Scottsdale, AZ.
For so many of the members of both clubs the day started early getting to the site, unpacking tents, tables, chairs, laying out the T-shirts, literature and prizes that would disappear as the day progressed.
We had a number of volunteers there well before 7:00 AM to assist in any way they could to help get out of the gate and by 8:00 AM we we’re up and running. Thanks to all of the early volunteers that assisted with the set-up, parking assistance and general support to get the show started.
The good news is it appears we had over 200 cars this year and that didn’t include the Cadillac contingent that showed up. Tom and Bob had decided that since most of the cars registered were in place by 10:00 AM we wanted to get a head start on all of the judging required to get the ballots in and tallied so plaques and trophies could be presented in a timely fashion. That always appears to be the speedbump at these events, waiting for awards to be handed out. The bad news was we set a record high for Phoenix that day at 97 degrees. If you had participated in the judging you know walking through the asphalt parking lot with all of that metal reflecting the heat, it was challenging. But being the troopers we are, we all completed our tasks, got the information to Tom and Bob, the votes got tallied and awards were presented a full hour earlier than ever before.
To all of the Cactus GTO members that participated, thank you for representing your club in such good numbers. This event was a joint venture between ourselves and the Renegades and we expect to receive our share of the profits once all of the expenses are tallied and taken care of. I know members over the last few years have wanted something we do as a fund raiser for the club and I believe with partnering up with the Renegades, and working more closely with the Russo-Steele group, we have found some solid ground to support our club financially.
I have included a link from Matt Punches (http://arizonatransam.blogspot.com/) so you can cut and paste this link to visit the site and see all of the vehicles that participated this year. All in all the show was a big success. Did we have some speedbumps? Could we do some things quicker, better, more efficiently? You bet and I feel with the groups involved in this venture from both clubs we will continue to learn and improve the product we put forth at this show. Once again thanks for all that participated.
More information on all of the winners will follow as soon as the listings are posted.
Saturday April 11th, 2015 Cactus GTO’s Adopt-A-Highway cleanup
It's getting to the time of year where Cactus GTO's does our twice a year effort to keep beautiful AZ Route 88 lookin' good! It's our club's Adopt-A-Highway cleanup. This is a beautiful stretch of road that we have been keeping beautiful for many years now and it's time to do it again!
Please let me know if you can participate this April 11th
(email@example.com or 480-991-6106)
At the most recent club meeting, we selected Saturday April 11 as the date, sowe all have plenty of time to plan. It is also Pontiac Night at Pavilions, so we can make a day of it by meeting at our usual parking areaat 8 AM. Even allowing for some talk and photo-op's, we should be done by 10:30. At that point we could either continue on (13 scenic miles east) to Tortilla Flats for an early lunch or head our separate ways.
Our meeting place is at the parking area near the east end of our assigned cleanup area (mile post 202-203). As you go east on Rt 88, you will pass the Lost Dutchman State Park around milepost 201 – our paved parking area is 2 ¾ miles past there. Along the way, you will see one of those Adopt-A-Highway signs that tells everyone that Cactus GTO's maintains this section of the road – about a mile further along is the “Needle Vista Point” turn-off to the right – that is where we meet. Please let me know if you can join this happy crew to help this time around!
For those of you new to Cactus GTO’s or who have not participated in this rewarding team effort, please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-991-6106) and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. We are fortunate to have a really scenic bit of Arizona assigned to us for cleanup and this is an enjoyable experience. A driver with an SUV to shuttle people, water, empty trash bags, etc would be helpful. [Back to Top]
Cactus GTO “After Christmas Dinner Party”
Saturday turned out to be a chamber of commerce day in Arizona. The weather was just beautiful and I think that madeour event that much more enjoyable.
We had a nice array of GTO’s sitting out front of Frank’s garage, all of the tables and chairs we’re set up and our caterer, Tom’s BBQ, was right on time.
After 30 – 40 minutes or so of visiting with friends and socializing, we invited everyone to head on out to the “Pig Rig”, a BBQ mobile unit that would serve us our dinner. Everyone seemed to be pleased with the meal. They had pulled pork, smoked chicken, multiple levels of BBQ sauce, coleslaw, BBQ beans and potato salad, all very good.
After the meal Denny introduced the officers of the club along with the board of directors and did a quick recap of the year. From the 2014 BOP show, Pontiac Heaven, Cruise on Central, the KOOL-FM 84.5 Show, Adopt- A-Highway clean-up, the POCI Meet in Tucson, Todd Harding’s Swap Meet (A fund raiser for the Independence Fund), our 2014 Car Clinic and the Russo-Steele Car Show. He also thanked Tony and Scott for their help getting out the 2014 Calendar.
Denny commented on the success of the swap meet and thanked the Club and all of the members that donated their time and donations to support this endeavor. His goal was $16,000.00 to supply a “Track-Chair” for a wounded veteran returning from Afghanistan or Iraq. In all, with the help of the GTOAA chapters around the country, he was able to raise over $21,000.00. He is working on trying to get one of the recepients of these chairs to visit with us and let us know how this chair is changing their life.
After our 2014 events recap, we talked about trying some new things in 2015 like drag racing, partnering up with Russo-Steele to help build up our treasury, and then it was on to raffle prizes and dessert. Frank had secured a nice cake and some ice cream from Costco, plus we had some nice prizes to give away.
Denny had receied a new “50th anniversary hard bound coffee table book from a new supplier that was offering along a special offer to all club members. The book retails for $50.00, but they will sell to our club members at $25.00 each. To place an order, please contact Mike Jewell @ email@example.com and he will add you to the list. All checks will be made out to the Cactus GTO Club, he’ll order all books, and write one check to the supplier. When in, he will distribute at an upcoming meeting. This book was donated to the the club and ended upon the raffle table, needless to say, it was the first thing to go. The Club will be ordering a few books of our own to sell internally and we will let you know when we have them if you’re interested in reviewing and buying one.
All in all it was a fun day, with good friends, good food and great weather. [Back to Top]
Well after Mother Nature talked us into postponing our clinic for a day, Sunday turned out to be just perfect for wrenching and helping out club members get their cars in better working condition.
We started the morning having a short board meeting where we finalized our by-law upgrades and changes, reviewed our menu choices for our Christmas Party, covered some conversation concerning our current annual dues, the auto auctions happening here in January, the BOP Show in March (more to follow on this), and our meeting places for the remainder of the year.
The coffee was on, Mike Jewell had picked up some sweet rolls from Costco and we were ready to go. Members started arriving right after 9:00 AM and we cleared out some space for those that needed to do some work and we all jumped in to help. The big job of the day was replacing Bill McCoy’s clutch in his 65’. We had the car up on the lift and proceeded to take things apart. For some it was business as usual, for others it was a very interesting learning experience. It’s a big job and a lot of little things need to be looked at and reviewed before you just slap a new clutch back in. Between the pilot bushing, throw-out bearing, the fork ball and potential resurfacing of the flywheel, you want to be sure you do it right the first time.
Ron Engel bought his triple black 65’ GTO convertible and a number of folks helped him with a bunch of little things like changing the oil and filter, along with brake, alternator, horn and a number of other “adjustments” to make his car a little more road worthy. Frank was on target talking about the correct oil to use for all of our cars. Synthetics are not the answer and there are only a few choices we really have to lubricate our engines properly. We all know that zinc and phosphates are important component for our older engines and without these components we could run into major engine problems. This was apparent when looking at the cam and lifters that were affected in one on the engines Frank is working on in his shop.
Frank also gave us a little lesson on distributors from points, to Pertronics, to HEI. With todays’ gas (low octane and “corn”), it takes a lot of fire to ignite and burn all of the fuel. The newer higher firing ignitions do a better job of getting spark to the cylinders allowing all of the fuel to be burned instead of running out your tail pipes. I can see at one of our upcoming car clinics that maybe this could be a great opportunity to change out a number of our cars all at one time from inefficient point systems to the more powerful and reliable HEI packages, plus you’ll improve your gas mileage.
All in all I think most of the people in attendance agreed that this was a very worthwhile endeavor on the part of the club. Thanks to the following folks that showed up to participate; Mike Jewell, David and John Reichel, Pete Orlando, Mark Neumann, Bill Mc Coy, Jeff LePine, Ron Engel, Carl Bylander, Jim Pedersen, Guy Ferstl, Jim Einck, Thom Mohr, Dan Huskisson, Len Wlasichuk, Pat LaClair and of course Frank Gostyla for hosting this event. It was a great turnout, on a great day, thanks for everyone taking the time to participate.
Living in Peoria and meeting folks in Chandler at 8:00 AM on a Saturday wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It took me about an hour to get there and after settling into “line” I went into the Love’s Truck Stop for a cup of coffee and met up with a couple GTO’ers.
The caravan got under way about 8:30 and we took a leisurely drive down I-10 to the Tucson facility and met up with our host, the local POCI chapter folks. They were very surprised at the number of folks that had made the run down (I estimated about 25 vehicles with both new-gen and old GTO’s, Trans-Am’s, Firebirds, Fiero’s, old iron (Bonneville’s, Catalina’s, and a number of early 53’, 54’ & 55’ Pontiac’s), and a group of GMC vehicles.
The weather was all we could have expected. We arrived about 10:30 and parked in the overflow parking area on top of the parking structure. A nice collection of Pontiac’s had already assembled and were lined up in front of the host hotel. As the day wore on I visited with a number of the local folks, exchanged stories, and discussed their rides. I even tried to sell a few GTO Calendars but most folks weren’t interested.
This show was a non-judged show, no awards, just an opportunity for the local POCI Chapter to spread its wings and let people know they’re around, and interested in signing up new members.
The drive home was a little quicker (I did drive my 05’ GTO), and uneventful. All in all it was a nice day for a cruise. Thanks to Mark Neumann (70’ GTO), Mike Fluery (66’ GTO), Kevin Fein (04’ GTO), Bill McCoy (99’ Trans Am), Guy Ferstl (98’ Trans Am) and George Noteman (our “Ghost” member from Bisbee, AZ) who made their way to Tucson to represent the Cactus GTO’s Inc. of AZ at this event.
George didn’t bring his GTO but did send along some pictures of his “Garage”. I guess if you’re going to own some old muscle this is a great way to display it.
KOOL-FM 94.5 Radio Car Show - (A Nancy Perry Production) October 25, 2014 @ the Westgate Center, Glendale, AZ
It started as an early morning for most of us, getting gassed up, a little breakfast maybe and the drive out to the show.
Most of us were early, anticipating that the show promoter, Nancy Perry Productions, would want us to help with directing traffic. We were assigned a nice spot and had a great showing of nice GTO’s. What was really nice was being all together as it made it a lot easier to coordinate some of our duties as the day wore on.
Right out of the gate both Karen Zeivel and Shannon Sneed, were asked to help with passing out T-shirts to the entries as they registered, and both Ken Berger and Charlie Miller were enlisted to direct traffic. The rest of us put up a tent, broke out some folding chairs and looked for some coffee.
As the day progressed, we awaited directions from Nancy Perry on doing our part in the judging. Unfortunately this show had no clearly designated areas for the multitude of different types of cars that would roll in over the next 3 hours. We all recognized that judging would be subjective at best, and we could only hope to see all of the cars in each of the 64 categories.
When we finally did receive directions to do some judging it was closer to 12:30, and it became clear our efforts would be challenged to do a decent job. The good thing was we only had a handful or so categories to judge and there were only about 400-500 cars. Frank Gostyla brought his golf cart, and that afforded us the ability to get around to seeing all of the cars a lot easier.
While we all felt the show wasn’t very organized, KOOL-FM did a great job of playing good music, the vendors were out in force and there appeared to be a number of places to get something to eat, if not at the “5 & Diner” mobile unit, then in the mall.
Our intent was to participate in a show where we could hang out, exchange stories, enjoy each other’s company and give something back to the community. Nancy does a lot of these shows where a good percentage of what she makes goes to very worthwhile charities. While we may have been able to do more, all of the folks that showed up appeared to have a good time and we did what was asked of us.
Thanks to Jerry & Susan Bryant, Carl Giordano, Ken Berger, Anthony and Susan Ramey, Charlie Miller, Thom Mohr, Frank Gostyla, Mike Jewell, Bill McCoy, Guy & Donna Ferstl, Burt Kratzer and Shannon Sneed, Mark Neumann, Todd Harding, Jim & Karen Zeivel along with Dan Huskinsson for taking the time to come out and help.
Thanks for your support; it was a great club activity.
Pontiac Night @ The Rock N' Roll McDonald's Car Show
Second Saturday Each Month (September-May):
The big event: If you love cool cars, this is a good place to be on Saturday night: The Rock N' Roll McDonald's Car Show has been rocking most Saturdays since 1990 and continues to attract both participants, who bring their cars, and viewers. The first event brought just 12 cars, and now, there are between 400-450 classic and muscle cars, hot rods and modern exotics on a given Saturday. Organizer Chico Espinoza says the show is well organized and is known through the country and beyond. It's free to participate or to view. The show begins at dusk during the summer months and goes on until about 10 p.m. Professional mobile disc jockey Johnny B provides the music, and he's open to requests to help enhance a visit. 9175 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale. (480)-443-0080 or scottsdalepavilions.com. [Back to Top]