A BIT OF TCA HISTORY
I have been reading old Tri Chevy newsletters going back to 1972 and 1973. Some of the stories, articles, and other interesting tidbits will be included in our newsletters this year, as we celebrate our 35th anniversary. Sue
Tri Chevy Association filed for incorporation with the Secretary of State (Michael J. Howlett at the time). TCA was approved as a “General Not For Profit Corporation” on April 11, 1974. The first officers were Rodney Brockman, Ken Kenzel and Barb Fisher. However, our first newsletter goes back to December 1972. Following are some excerpts regarding the birth of our great club:
A Club called Tri Chevy was born in August of 1972. There were 21 members at the time. The first newsletter was dated December 17, 1972. The December meeting was a Christmas Party held at the Redwood Inn in Kankakee at a cost of $2.90 per person. People were asked to bring a $1 gag gift for guys and gals. The Club had 48 members by then. Of those 48 members, 30 were married. There were 60 cars: 32 Nomads, 12 two-door hardtops, 2 four-door hardtops, one Vette, 2 Sedan Deliveries, 3 two-door wagons, 4 sedans, 3 convertibles, one Belair. Jacket patches were available at a cost of $4. Dues were increased from $3 a year to $12 a year. We had 13 members show their cars at McCormick Place in December. Of these 13 cars, six received trophies.
The December newsletter was the beginning of the monthly newsletters. Each newsletter would have a “Parts Counter”, Upcoming Events column and interviews of members (questionnaires were sent out to all members). Some sample prices of parts listed for sale: 56 grill $40; 55 front fenders $150; 56 chrome rocker panel with clips $20; Nomad name plate $6; 57 Belair name plate $10. The most expensive listing was 55 complete front, center, rear guard accessories for $45. Everything listed was NEW. Here is one of the articles I have reprinted in its entirety.
“TEN RULES FOR KILLING A CLUB”
1.Don’t come to the meetings. 2.If you do, come late. 3.Find fault with officers and members. 4.Never accept an office, it is easier to criticize than to do things. 5.Nevertheless, get annoyed if you aren’t appointed to a committee. 6.If appointed to a committee, don’t attend its meetings. 7.If asked by the chairman to give your opinion, say nothing. After the meeting, tell everyone how things should have been done. 8.Do no more than necessary. When other members roll up their sleeves to help things along, say the association is run by a clique. 9.Hold back your dues as long as possible, or don’t pay at all. 10.Don’t bother getting new members, but if you do, be sure they are gripers like you.
TRI CHEVY HISTORICAL TIDBITS
So far the newsletters I have read all include a column called “Let’s Get Acquainted”. Here is the January 1973 Interview in its entirety:
“Our first member to be interviewed is our President, Rodney Brockman, and his wife, Dale Ann, who recently bought a new house out in the country off Manhattan Road blacktop in Elwood, Illinois. Their phone is 478-3633. They have one boy, Keith, who is 2 years old, and a dog, Colonel.
Rodney is an automatic burner at Caterpillar Tractor Co. in Joliet. Dale Ann is a housewife. They have been married 4-1/2 years. Dale Ann’s hobbies include bowling and knitting. Of course, Rodney is busy working on his many cars and parts hunting. He is a very active member recruiter of the National Nomad Club. Both Rodney and Dale Anne are NOMAD NUTS!!
They have two 1956 Nomads and a 1956 4 door 9 passenger wagon. Their first Nomad was bought for $50 from Mike Fisher, who had used it for parts. After two years of hard work, it was drivable and worth all the work. They have received several trophies… first place at McCormick Place 1971, first place Amphitheatre 1971, first place 1972 National Nomad Convention and third place at McCormick Place 1972. Brockman’s will also show their Nomad Jan 25-27 at the Amphitheatre and February 10 and 11 in South Bend, Indiana.”
TCA’s February meeting was held at Monge Jr. High in Cresthill. They had a Pot Luck Dinner with the club supplying beef, rolls and coffee. Couples were asked to bring a dish to pass plus their own plates and silverware. Single guys were asked to bring “anything they can buy” (potato chips, pickles, etc.) as well as their own plates and silverware.
Dale Ann started a Club Photo Album and was asking people for photos of their cars. They wanted to display the album at the monthly meetings.
The March 1973 newsletter talks about the first Swap Meet, which was held May 6, 1973 at Phillips Chevrolet in Frankfort (reprinted in its entirety):
“Everything is going smoothly for the parts swap car show. Set-up time will be 6AM for those selling parts. We need volunteers to help the venders set up. Those helping will also be collecting a donation at 9AM. Donation is 50 cents. Children under 12 free. If you want to sell parts, send your reservation and $1.00 to Rodney to reserve your space.
Food Stand: Dale Ann Brockman is in charge of the food stand. At the February meeting we decided to sell donuts and coffee from 6AM to 9AM, and hot dogs, BBQs, chips, coffee, pop, cookies, etc. the rest of the day. Ladies are still needed to work in the food stand.
Car Show: Jim Vickery is in charge of the show. We would like all our cars on display. There will also be a few old cars from the Vintage Chevy Club of America on display too. The cars will be roped off and guards will be there at all times. Cars should be on display by 8AM. Jim needs volunteers to guard.
This is our first big club sponsored event. We want to make a good impression on the public and show them what a good club we have. Phillips Chevrolet has given the OK to do whatever we want. They are behind us 100%. We need lots of help and cooperation from all our members, not only on May 6 but also in advertising. We are making flyers to pass out. Get yours at the April meeting. If you can work in any way at this swap meeting, please contact Rodney Brockman.”
Lastly, this paragraph entitled BY THE WAY, was in the February newsletter:
This club is for its members and only its members, all working together can make it better. If members do not attend meetings, give their ideas and support and participate in other ways, it will FAIL. We have a good start, and with EVERYONE’S help and cooperation this club can really be great. REMEMBER: ASK NOT WHAT YOUR CLUB CAN DO FOR YOU BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CLUB.
(This paragraph still applies to our Club even today!)
TRI CHEVY HISTORICAL TIDBITS - April 1973 Tri Chevy newsletter
Tri Chevy held it’s meeting on April 8, 1973 at Kickapoo State Park, which is 10 miles west of Danville – 130 miles south of Chicago. A caravan started at 9AM from Routes 45 and 52. A stop was made in Kankakee to pick up additional cars. The “featured speakers” were three friends of Jim McMurry’s who did custom painting, upholstering and chroming. This was Tri Chevy’s first outdoor meeting.
The Club was selling jacket patches and asking for photos of members’ cars for an album that Dale Ann was putting together. TCA was also asking for help for the upcoming May 6 Swap Meet. The club sold bakery goods and members were responsible for donating pies, cakes or brownies. Coffee and donuts were served beginning at 6 AM. At least three girls were needed to start things at 5:30 AM as well as help out at the food stand at all times The Swap Meet and Car Show was held at Phillips Chevy in Frankfort. This club’s Swap Meet can be successful only if we have enough help. Please volunteer your time – there’s a job for everyone.
A few parts prices from April 1973: complete rear bumper for 1955 passenger $75. 1955-57 Chevy 4 barrel manifold carb $25.
Let’s Get Acquainted: The next member interviewed is Mike Fisher and his wife, Barb, who reside at 1521 Nicholson, Joliet, Illinois. They have one girl, Michelle, 2-1/2, who enjoys swimming at the YMCA, Mimi, their poodle, and are expecting a new arrival in May. Mike and Barb have been married for 6-1/2 years on August 20. Mike is a foreman for Barge Painting and Coating, Inc., a division of Mechling Barge Line. Barb is a housewife, secretary of our club and writes our newsletter.
Barb’s hobbies include decoupage, knitting, crocheting and indoor plants. Mike keeps busy working on Corvettes and his Nomad. They bought their Nomad in 1968 with plans to use it as a second car. Since it was a Nomad, Mike decided to paint it yellow and change the interior in 1969. It now has Dodge Charger bucket seats front and rear and Dodge Charger console. Black plus carpet completes the interior. They have showed it three times and received two Second Place trophies, one at the National Nomad Convention in 1972 and one at McCormick Place in 1972, and a first place at the Knights of Columbus Show in Joliet 1972.
TRI CHEVY HISTORICAL TIDBITS - MAY 1973 Tri Chevy newsletter
The Vintage Tin Club has invited Tri Chevy to a “run” at Pilcher Park in Joliet for the May 20, 1973 meeting. Members met at the Northern Illinois Gas Co. near Route 30 and Gougar and caravanned to the park. Hot dogs, dessert, and utensils were furnished for the meeting. Each couple was asked to bring a dish to pass such as potato salad, baked beans, etc. Single guys were asked to bring potato chips, Fritos, pickles, etc. We will have a baseball game against the Vintage Tin members. The Swap Meet was an overwhelming success. Rodney thanked all those who contributed their time and hard work to make it a profitable adventure as well as a special “thanks” to Phillips Chevrolet for letting the club use their facilities.
The “Let’s Get Acquainted” column highlighted several members. Following is the interview for the Vickery family. “Member #8, Jim and Rose Ann Vickery, reside at 2279 Cooper Drive in Kankakee. They were married August 20, 1971. They have no children but do have a spoiled cat, Dusty, four goldfish and six tropical fish. Jim is a small parts cutter at Gould Batteries Inc. He is also enrolled at the Kankakee Community College where his major is law enforcement. He will graduate this year and then go to Western Illinois University. Rose Ann graduated from KKK Community College with an Associate of Applied Science. She is now the head of Claims Department at Wm. A. Lemanager and Company. Jim and Rose Ann both enjoy roller-skating. Jim likes to hunt, fish, and of course, cars. Rose Ann likes music and doing things with her hands. They have a yellow 55 Nomad and a 57 four-door hardtop. The Nomad was purchased five years ago while Jim was in the service in Missouri. It has 140,000 plus miles on it and for 4-1/2 years was driven daily to and from work, school and elsewhere. It has now been honored with retirement and replaced by the 57. The Nomad will be seen at club meets and shows.”
Tri Chevy Article from June 1973
The June meeting was a picnic held at Miller Park in Bloomington June 10th. Everyone was to bring their own food and drinks (no booze). This is a city park and booze is illegal. The park includes a snack bar, free zoo, swings and swimming. Cost for swimming was 15 cents for ages 6 to 14, 25 cents for ages 15 to 18 and 50 cents for ages 19 and up. Some upcoming events were the National Nomad Convention in Reno, Nevada in June. The Street Machine Nationals were being held in Memphis Tennessee in July. This “Thank you” was also included in the newsletter:
“I would like to thank all who came to the hospital after the May meeting. You really surprised me. I was feeling bad about missing the meeting and your caravan and stop cheered me up. Michael Lee was born at 12:27 AM on May 19 and weighed 7 lbs 13 oz.
Thanks again, Barb Fisher.”
TCA TIDBITS FROM July 1973
TCA’s July meeting was held at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Members met at the Lincoln Oasis on the Tri State and drove to the Dunes. Dale Ann was still collecting photos of members and their cars for TCA’s album. There were lots and lots of parts for sale along with the following cars: 1956 Chevy 2 door hardtop, V-8 auto, 100% original. $1195 OBO. There was also a 1957 Nomad: power glide, power steering, 283 2BBL, white/blue, blue and black interior, some rust -- $850.
Our August meeting was held at Kankakee State Park. Officers were elected and there was also judging of cars. Everyone brought their own food and drinks. Even in August of 1973 there were Post Office problems: “We have had postal problems for a few months. We have been sending our newsletters 3rd class. Several members have received their letters after the meeting. We are sending the newsletters first class from now on and hope this will solve the problem. We are sorry for late delivery of past newsletters.” Dues of $12 were payable by this meeting or else members would not be allowed to vote. At the election Rodney Brockman was re-elected as President and Barb Fisher was re-elected as Secretary. The new Treasurer was Rose Anne Vickery.
The January 1974 meeting was held at the home of Bill and Leta Blewett in Bloomington, Illinois. Coffee and cake were served. The meeting was on a Sunday and the Blewetts had located a gas station that was open (this was during the gas crisis) if members needed to get gasoline.
An article in the newsletter talked about the upcoming Swap Meet to be held at Phillips Chevrolet. TCA and Phillips were going to raffle off five antique unrestored cars: 1939 Pontiac, 1940 GMC truck, 1941 Pontiac, 1940 Chevy truck and a 1938 Chevy. Raffle tickets were five for $1. Phillips will take out their initial investment in the old cars from the money made selling the raffle tickets. Any money over their initial investment will be split 50/50 between Phillips and TCA. Each member was asked to sell raffle tickets.
The “Let’s Get Acquainted” column introduced TCA members to Charlie Mau. He worked at Bill Jacobs Chevrolet in Joliet as the New Car Department Manager. His hobbies included working on cars, drag racing, stock car racing and bowling. He owned a 1956 Chevy Bel Air 2 door sedan and a 1974 Caprice Classic. He was looking for a 1934 Chevy. Charlie got his 1956 from his father, who had purchased it new in 1956. Ever since Charlie knew what a car was he had always been interested in them. His father made him promise never to sell the 1956.
TCA’s February 1974 meeting was held at Huffman Chevrolet dealership, which was located 23 miles west of Peoria. TCA Members Ron and Sue Smith arranged the meeting, and they (as well as member Dave Christopher) welcomed any of the club members to stay overnight at their homes. They had also located a gas station that would be open on Sunday. Plans were being made to go bowling after the meeting.
The March 1974 meeting was held in the Field House at Kennedy Park, 113th and Western Ave. in Chicago. A potluck was planned with the club furnishing beef sandwiches. Married couples were asked to bring a dish to pass. Single guys were asked to bring pickles, potato chips, olives, etc. This was an important meeting as plans for the Swap Meet were being finalized. Also, TCA Member Bill Blewett’s 1957 convertible was going to Chicago to be in a beer commercial.
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Tri Chevy Association