This last weekend has been an extremely busy one for myself. I’ll start with Saturday.
As many of you know I was part of the AXC program at the Pomona Fairplex. This past
Saturday, (June 14) a fundraiser dinner was held to support the program as well as the Wally Parks National Hot Rod Museum Association. The main attraction to the dinner was that Alex Xydias was going to be there and narrate his documentary called The Hot Rod Story. Other events were a silent & live auction to raise additional funding.
The students & I arrived between 4:30-5:00 and began to help prepare as well as greet guests as they came in. Mr. Xydias arrived around 5:45. I had seen Mr. Xydias a couple times, but he always seemed to disappear before I had the opportunity to talk to him. This time he was sitting down at a table, and couldn’t run away. Unfortunately I didn’t really get to talk with him, because there was a large line of people wanting his signature, I did however have him sign a poster as well the program for the evening…and I got a picture with him. That really made the evening for me.
The silent auction began at seven, in which we were able to disperse from our door greeting positions & mingle with the guests, telling them how the program has helped all of us, as well as just meeting the wonderful contributors to our future success. I met with a member from the Baldy View Ford Club as well as a few others, whom I had brief encounters with before, and told them of my experiences in McPherson & how I became involved with the AXC Program.
I eventually found Mr. Blickenstaff in the corner with a few other folks. Mr. Blickenstaff is a friend of mine from the Ford Club who initially encouraged me to join AXC, (I think I mentioned this is a previous post). He told everyone that was there my story, which he is proud to tell, which makes me proud and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. One of the guys even bought me a soda, because all drinks aside from water were not free (poor college student here). After chatting and telling these people my story, experiences, & what I was doing we headed to our assigned dinner tables at 7. After the announcements of the silent auction winners, it was time to enjoy our dinner and watch the movie.
Mr. Xydias had been filming and putting this movie together since the early 1950’s. He saw the importance in the Hot Rod movement and wanted to document the beginning & how it was changing. The documentary had vintage clips of some events as well as his narration from the time that he filmed it. I should say that we did hear some of his past narration, but also a current live narration as well. We were watching the “director’s cut”. What this meant was that Mr. Xydias was pausing parts of the documentary and giving his thoughts looking back as well as elaborating on some parts, and some stories. Some of them being how he met up with the L.A. Roadster’s club and organized cruises. They would meet at the Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, he would pay for their meal and they would pay for his gas. He joked how he had the cheaper end of the agreement. From there they would take the take the two lane highways to the dry lake beds. Other nifty stories included the first national drag meet in Great Bend Kansas and the beginning of the Bonneville Salt Flat Races.
After the incredibly entertaining and educational movie the live auction began. These were donated items from over the years of hot-rodding, such as trophies, old racing suits, and the like. In my opinion the bidding was pretty slow, but the items still made money for the programs. Everything finished up around 10, but I stayed until 10:30 to talk with students as well as some sponsors. I cannot express how I happy and honored I was to attend. I am looking forwarded to continuing to show my support, and would love to stick around to help out when needed, and watch the program to continue to grow. On a side note the program is doing very well. There are nearly 40 kids currently on a waiting list to get into the program. In only two years to have had two graduation classes and an established draw of students this big is great! I will continue to post shameless plugs now and again to keep it going.