Lake of the Ozarks Corvette Club proud of community support at ‘Corvettes in Paradise’ event
Note: This is a submitted story by the Lake of the Ozarks Corvette Club:
It all started in a Dallas suburb leading into the May first weekend with Mother Nature opening her sleepy eyes to kiss the sunrise. A garage door opened and the sound of a powerful engine sounded as a stunning, if not menacing, Jet Black Corvette emerged, its wide-eyed occupants with broad smiles heading out on their journey. Similar happenings were occurring in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and five other states as drivers headed out on local highways and byways - all towards a special event in the Missouri Ozarks called "Corvettes in Paradise". Over one-hundred and forty of America's only true iconic sports car would eventually end up on Missouri's storied Highway 54 leading them to the beautiful Margaritaville Resort.
They traveled alone, in pairs, groups, and caravans, a veritable gypsy ribbon of rainbow colored road warriors in search of their destination. Lake area residents and drivers were eventually treated to the largest gathering ever of Corvettes in one place and time in the Lake area. And while only a couple of domestic cars can claim iconic status - the Corvette simply is one of those rare pieces of Americana and 140 of them arrived at Margaritaville in Osage Beach for the first-ever Corvette Show hosted by the Lake of the Ozarks Corvette Club and Margaritaville Resort.
On April 30th, approximately one-hundred Corvettes arrived and were carefully parked in Windgate Hall, a 30,000 square foot indoor area usually used to host trade shows in well laid out and draped booths. When empty, the huge hall looks like a football field - only carpeted.The movement and parking of 100 cars inside was the biggest challenge for the Corvette Club; however, Club member Jerry Ehlman, who owns a local business Rock Solid Concrete, successfully laid out a grid pattern that will surely be a model for any such future events in Windgate Hall. While the drivers parked their cars, the passengers checked in or proceeded to the Parasol Room for Registration. The Club had provided ample snacks as well as a Cash Bar for all participants. After parking their cars, the drivers joined in the Parisol Room merriment.
Upon entry to the Parasol Room, all were struck by the back window wall which included eighteen feet of tables laden with all 54 gleaming trophies and 45 Sponsor Awards which would be awarded at the next day Show. Many (many!) participants were seen flocking around the trophies - with a few prayers and genuflections observed!
Morning broke early on May Day morning and Mother Nature smiled with a gorgeous warming sun for all - but especially the forty cars who were parked outside. Many registrants gave up their coveted inside spots to join the lakeside group who basked in the sun and camaraderie all Corvette owners share. Club President Ellen Ensminger treated all registrants to coffee and Door Prize doughnut holes as they went through the time-honored process of cleaning, polishing and waxing their precious vettes. It was noted by most that they had never had their car on carpeting in a show before which made cleaning almost a joy for the very mature owners!
Two hours of judging ended and a 50-50 raffle took place with one happy couple, at their first ever Corvette Show, winning $642, with local charities to receive the same. Fifteen other participants won donated prizes. Sponsor Awards were presented directly to the car owners - and in some cases by the actual sponsors - throughout the show in Windgate Hall. Signs listing all of the sponsors were displayed prominently behind the trophy award station as well as in Windgate Hall.
The Award Ceremony took place at 2pm in the afternoon with the Parasol Room almost bursting with 300 car enthusiasts who warmly cheered the many trophy winners. Trophies were awarded in 12 classes with cars ranging from 1956 thru 2021. The final big three were special for the Show. The Honorable John Olivarri, Mayor of Osage Beach, graciously joined LOCC President Ellen Ensminger to present his personal choice for the Mayor's Trophy. Showing his knowledge and appreciation for Corvettes, the Mayor's Trophy was awarded to Randy Weber for his beautiful 1965 Rally Red Convertible. Randy personally hand built his car from parts and original pieces with a frame-off restoration.
The Margaritaville Trophy (really big!) was presented by Margaritaville Sales Manager Rene VanDiver to Kristy Wiseley for her 1964 Riverside Rd Convertible named "Ruby" which was a fan favorite in Windgate Hall.
The final award was the Best of Show which was chosen by the Judges from all of the Best of Class winners. President Ensminger and LOCC/PR Don Sturn presented the Best of Show Award to Deborah Clemons for her gorgeous 2017 Black Rose convertible which was detailed to a level never before seen by the Judges. Interestingly, Deborah's husband James had also brought his very rare Zeus Bronze 2020 Stingray to the show which won a Sponsors' Award. Someone looking at the car became so enamored - he bought it on the spot. According to James, "He made me an offer I could not refuse!"
Immediately after the Awards ceremony, cars in Windgate needed to be moved as soon as possible as the hall was being utilized the following day. In keeping with the spirit of cooperation by drivers, Club staff evacuated the hall in 29 minutes which amazed Margaritaville staff. As the cars exited Windgate Hall, Lake of the Ozarks Corvette Club staff formed up on both sides of the exit ramp to thank the participants and invite them back next year for the 2nd Annual LOCC Show.
The Lake of the Ozarks Corvette Club is especially proud of the support the Lake Community in making this show so memorable. Over fifty local sponsors stepped up and gladly provided sponsorship monies which allowed the show to be presented at such a high level. The first sponsor approached was Ryan Hulett of Hulett Chevrolet in Camdenton and he agreed it was about time and offered immediate support. Others followed suit which will allow LOCC to share any and all profits with local charities. The show was very well attended by Margaritaville Resort guests as well as the local community and was free of charge to all, keeping with our local Corvette Club goal of sharing with and giving back to our community.