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2014 Mopar Hall of Fame Banquet - July 12, 2014
It was a truly oppressive, hot, day at Carlisle. It was the kind of heat and humidity combination that steals every last bit of energy from your body. Across town, in what had once seemed like a large hotel suite, I struggled with the air-conditioning controls to try to coax more air into the room while a line of true Mopar royalty crowded in, packed like sardines. Tim Costello ran down last minute changes through a power point show, as more one-of-a-kind photos where brought in for the night’s festivities. Soon, the room was literally overflowing into the hallway, with those chosen to be inducted into the first-ever Mopar Hall of Fame. Lisa Leatherly kept everyone on task, rolling out a banner, and after a rundown on how the evening would flow, she asked the inductees for one last thing before they headed for the ball room - please sign the Mopar Hall of Fame banner that would act as a backdrop for the stage. It was easy for those heroes still with us, but for those representing others who have already passed, I could see it in their eyes - a sense of reluctance. In their cases, they were either family members, or were asked by family members to represent their loved ones, so everyone agreed they should leave a mark in honor of those with us only in spirit. Diane Sox signed “The Boss’s Wife” for her late husband, Ronnie Sox, and Todd Warner, representing Dick Landy’s family, thought burning a hole with one of Dick’s trademark cigars was the answer! Regardless of whether all our inductees were with us or not, we all knew they were with us in spirit that special day, and it was at that moment I knew that no matter what the cost, we had created something very special.
When kids leave college, they’re often asked what they’d like to do in life. One of the more popular answers is “to change the world.” The fact is, life will get in the way of that task for most of us, and we end up realizing those dreams are superceded by families, jobs, and the echos of our sins. Last year, MCG, along with the list of generous businesses listed below, embarked on an endeavor that truly changed the Mopar world. Thanks to those listed, and the two hundred attendees, we were able to establish and the Mopar Hall of Fame and host a gala event in honor of the inaugural inductees.
Many people ask me how inductees are chosen, and the short answer is, it’s a process that’s always a struggle. Since this Hall of Fame was long overdue, and with so many deserving people, it’s a task that will take years to get sorted out. For 2013, suggestions were taken from a small group of Mopar shakers and movers, to also include enthusiasts who were able to put forth suggestions all year online. While there are many factors considered when choosing inductees, urgency due to age and health is becoming a major decision maker. I think you’ll agree, it’s so important to get inductees in the MHOF while they’re still with us, both so we don’t lose their stories, and so we can show them our appreciation for all they’ve done for the hobby. For 2014, we have a great new group of Hall of Famers lined up that I think you’ll agree deserve their place in this hallowed house of Mopar devotees. We’ve listed them here this month, but rather than go into each one’s accomplishments, we ask that you check out more info on them at www.moparhalloffame.com, and of course, you’ll see in-depth biographies on them in the pages of MCG in the near future. Please note; this year we’ve also added a brand-new category to the MHOF program, dubbed “The Lifetime Achievement Award” and 2012 MHOF inductee Herb McCandless returns again to emcee this year’s event.
Once again, MCG has procured the Camp Hill Radisson, near Carlisle, Pennsylvania, as ground zero for all the Hall of Fame action. Call 717-763-7117 and mention “Mopar Collector’s Guide” to get a super-low discounted room rate of just $113, special car and trailer parking, and free bagged ice service is offered every morning before the big Chryslers at Carlisle show. Those going to Carlisle this year, get your tickets to the MHOF before they sell out, by calling 225-274-0609. Single tickets are $99, pairs are $150, or get your buddies or club members together and get a table of eight for just $499. Price includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert, and night of entertainment the likes of which will probably never be duplicated. This event happens on the Saturday night of the Chryslers at Carlisle event, July 12, 2014.
It’s not often any of us have the chance to really change this screwed up world we live in for the better. Just this year, we saw the unthinkable occur - the closing down of The Walter P. Chrysler Museum due to lack of funding. It’s essential we, as a hobby, work together to make every effort to support museums, shows, and magazines, that fly the “Mopar Or No Car” flag. Without everyone’s participation, the aforementioned things will not survive this economy. It’s not often that MCG asks for help, and we certainly wouldn’t if it was any less of a worthy project as building the Mopar Hall of Fame. Certainly, your attendance at the MHOF dinner is what makes honoring our Mopar heroes possible, this year and into the future. We fully understand there are many who can’t make it to Carlisle but still want to be a part of building the Mopar Hall of Fame. This year, we’ve opened up the MHOF to membership. For twenty-five-dollars, you can become a founding member of the Mopar Hall of Fame. You’ll be listed as such on the website, and be eligible to participate in the voting process for future Hall of Fame inductees. You’ll also receive a DVD of the 2012 MHOF event, which includes the Sox and Martin team, Dick Landy, Otto Rosenbusch, Cotton Owens, Larry Rathgeb, Ray Nichels, and all the Ramchargers team.
Call today, 225-274-0609, or come by any of our booths this year and become someone who keeps the Mopar hobby going strong. Because, as you know, without the past, we have no future.
The 2014 Inductees