Organizing an event is always a nerve wracking exercise. The one nightmare that always nags at this organizer is, what if nobody comes? Well, all I can say is: if nobody comes, this writer will be alone with some pretty fantastic Checkers, historic automobiles and the largest display of antique buses and railway equipment at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.
As we did last year this is a roll call of some of the members and vehicles that will also be in display at this years Rockford. At the present time we have about ten Checkers coming. New members and old friends (key word friends) will have a great time with Checkers and rail equipment.
From a Checker employee base we expect to see David and Connie Wilson Powers. The Powers are well known and highly respected Checker fans. Checker owners for many years, this writer first met the Powers at the CCCofA conventions of 2004. David and Connie just recently finished the restoration of their Checker. The restored Checker was once owned by Connie’s father the late Steve Wilson former CCCofA president and longtime leader at Checker Motors Corporation.
Those familiar the Seattle Classic Cab Number 1 project know Danial Smith, formerly from the Rockford, Illinois area, Dan now resides in Arizona. Dan, a long time Checker fan, in the past has had extensive Checker experience working with Joe Pollard, the famous Checker supplier and salvager. A technical expert, Dan is familiar with every nut and bolt on a Checker.
Matt Thomas and his family will be repeat visitors to IRM. A very active member on the Internet Checker Taxicab Archive Facebook page, Matt contributes significantly to the Checker Cab hobby. Most recently Matt Thomas took the time to recreate the foil dash labels for Checkers
Emerson & Rachal Lentz are fairly new to the Checker hobby, it’s safe to say they have the Checker bug, big time. Emerson owns an entire fleet of Checkers. Not your ordinary Marathons, Emerson has purchased several authentic taxicabs from Ben Merkel and plans on bring three Checker!
We also expect to see AJ Voile, a new member from Belvedere, IL. AJ’s currently plans are to trailer in his early 60’s O’Hare Lodge Aerobus currently under restoration. Many may be familiar with the Aerobus, as it was used in CMC brochures for several year.
Checker God Ben Merkel has promised to appear and bless all of our Checkers. With Ben will be are old friend Pete Talanga. Pete will be riding shot gun as his Checker requires engine repairs.
With a little cajoling we hope to see Bill Beurkens. Bill and his family live in Byron Center, Michigan. Bill is famous for his transformative restoration of several Checkers. A very active member of the Internet Checker Taxicab Archive on Facebook, Bill’s restorations are impeccable, reaching show car levels that are superior to even Checker factory standards of assembly, fit and finish. Mr. Beurkens owns two rare Checkers: a sedan back Checker Aerobus 15 and a stunning A11E long wheelbase Supercab.
Our old friend Chuck Turley of Oregon, IL. should be showing up. Chuck has several Checkers as well as a fleet of movie cars! Chuck started supplying cars way back in the 90’s for the Chicago based NBC show “Crime Story”. A colorful guy, Chuck will have lots of stories.
Joe Fay will be bringing his 1950 Checker Model A4. Recently restored, this is the only known surviving A4 running and participating in the old car hobby.
Don Furu lives in Pocatello, Idaho and will make the trip out to Rockford. Don will be Checkerless leaving the wagon at home with his Ford, we’ll be happy to meet in person!
We’ll have a tough act to follow, considering that the 2016 Internet Checker Taxicab Archive convention was such a success.
This year the plan is to have an event in Rockford, Illinois. Why Rockford? There are several points of interest in and around the area: The Illinois Railway Museum in Union and the Historic Auto Attractions Museum in Roscoe, Illinois.
Friday August 18th 2017
The Illinois Railway Museum is the largest railroad museum in the United States and is located in Union, Illinois, 55 miles northwest of Chicago and 25 miles from our base hotel in Rockford.
Since 1957 the museum’s mission has been to demonstrate the vital role railroads have played in the growth of the Chicago area as well as the United States as a whole. There are over 450 pieces of prototype equipment in its collection as well as numerous displays. Visitors may ride on some of the museum’s electric, steam and diesel powered trains.
Participants will be allowed to pull their Checkers onto the museum grounds and display them at the museum train station area. Members will be provided many great photographic opportunities to park our Checkers among the museum’s trains, trolleys and transit buses. The museum will charge Internet Checker Taxicab Archive members a discounted entrance fee of $11.00
Self-contained, members will have access to all on location museum concessions and food venues.
Saturday August 19th 2017
the Historic Auto Attractions Museum is a short 15 mile hop on I-90 from Bloomington to Roscoe. More than just a display of historic automobiles, it’s a journey through time! Over 75 historic autos displayed in 36,000 sq. ft., including the world’s largest collection of presidential and world leader’s limousines, John Dillinger’s getaway car, Elvis Presley’s personal car, Indy cars, TV Land cars and movie cars such as the Batmobile. Kids will love the Turn-of-the-Century Room with old west style stage coach and other period vehicles.
Within the presidential collection, Internet Checker Taxicab Archive members will be able to view the Oswald Checker used as a get-away car after the JFK assignation. We have negotiated a group rate for the entrance fee into the museum. The event is scheduled to start at 11 AM. We should be able to picnic in the parking lot.
Saturday Night Banquet
This year the Saturday night banquet will be held at the Hoffman House. Since 1958, the Hoffman House has taken extra effort to ensure that all functions are a truly enjoyable and memorable events. Plans this year call for a buffet style meal, dinner and dessert is $36.00 per person. The hall is rented for three hours and a piano will be made available
For more information on the Hoffman House, check out their Facebook page
Sunday August 20th 2017
To be determined, more news to follow but the expectation is that we’ll tour in our Checkers, if you don’t have a Checker I am sure you’ll be able get a ride.
The base hotel is the Holiday Inn at exit 15 off of Interstate 90 in Rockford. The club has had the hotels rooms block off runs at a rate of $104.00. This rate is good for booking until July 17th. For those interested in other hotels in the area, there ten other hotels within 500 yards of the Holiday Inn covering all budgets.
For reservations please call the Holiday Inn at 815-398-2200