The season finale for the activities of the Houston MG Car Club is always the Christmas Party, where we take the time to share the spirit of the season and reflect on the events of the past year. And 2021 was indeed a memorable year for the club, marking the return of (almost) normal activities, registering a record number of members, and the achievement of reaching our milestone 50th anniversary.
The Christmas Party was held in the accommodating and familiar surroundings of The Club at Falcon Point on Saturday, December 4. For those driving their MGs to the golf club, the weather co-operated by being comfortably warm and keeping the showers at bay. The Club was decked out in seasonal livery, adding to the warmth of the Christmas spirit.
As is tradition with the HMGCC, donations of food were accepted for a local food bank, and club members were invited to join President Mike Woodward in an MG caravan delivering the considerable collection of donated food on the following Tuesday. Thank you to all the members who contributed to this worthy cause!
The party started with friends gathering in the banquet room and sharing laughs and Christmas spirits with their friends. Many club members arrived wearing their seasonal finery and ugly Christmas sweaters, reminding us all that Christmas never goes out of fashion. Old and new friends swapped stories about the events of the past year and tales of tribulation with their vintage autos.
Mike Woodward ably demonstrated his extraordinary range of talent as he acted as master of ceremonies, award presenter, activity director, and keyboardist during the course of the afternoon. The first award was the group presentation of the 500 Mile Club, recognizing those enthusiasts who use their car for more than just an objet d’art by driving them at least 500 miles to club events. The members of the 500 Mile Club for 2021 include Bob Chalker, Alex Laverock, Ken Evesson, Mike Woodward, Dwight Dawson, Gordon Bard, Joe Schrodi, Scott Hardy, Roger Sykes, Ray Holtzapple, Rich Colwell, Steve Session, Pete Sandy and Bruce Payne.
After the first award, Club members enjoyed a fine Christmas feast served buffet style. As the guests patiently waited for their table to be called to the bar, those who were first served enjoyed a sumptuous meal featuring both fish and fowl, not to mention holiday treats for dessert.
The presentations recommenced as the members finished their meals. The Club Officers for 2022 were announced, and thanks given to those leaving their positions.
o President – Mike Woodward
o Vice President – Tony Galt
o Board Member – Ron Redding
o Board Member – Bob Schroeder
o Board Member – Rich Colwell
o Board Member – Steve Sessions
o Board Member – Gordon Smith
o Webmaster – Bob Chalker
o Assistant Webmaster – Rob Ficalora
o Regalia – Alex Laverock
o Treasurer – Greg Fleischer
o Membership Chair – Rob Ficalora
o Secretary – Roald Lokken
o Event Coordinator – Larry Lovins
o Roars Editor – Scott Hardy
One of the most anticipated yearly awards is the Driver’s Award, given to the club member who records the most mileage in attending club events in their vintage car. This year’s deserving winner was Joe Schrodi, racking up an impressive 2,945 miles in his yellow 1976 MGB.
The Alan Rayne Memorial Award, better known as the Broken Crankshaft Award, is the trophy nobody really wants, because it memorializes a mechanical misfortune occurring during or driving to/from a club event. The trophy this year was presented by last year’s recipient, Gord Bard (who keeps himself in the running every year). The 2021 winner was Pete Sandy, for losing his distributor at the Autocross held in 2019.
The Ralph Diebert Award goes to the MG that receives the most votes from club members attending the Houston All British Car Day, and this year was presented to the 1972 MGB of Bob Chalker. Bob was a double award recipient, also taking home the Board of Director’s Award for outstanding service to the club. Well done!
The President’s Award is given to any club member who has provided exceptional leadership or service. Service can include, but is not be limited to: contributing articles to the website or Roars, organizing one or more events, or attending multiple events throughout the year in support of the club. Mike mentioned several people he considered for the award, and the plaque went to Larry Lovins for his exceptional job organizing and promoting club events.
The Back Seat Driver’s Award is given to the spouse or partner of a club member who in the opinion of the Board of Directors made the greatest contribution to the Club’s success for the year. For 2021 this award was presented to Trish Hardy in recognition of her success in organizing past events.
After the presentation of the awards, Mike assumed his activity director role and led the gift exchange aerobics. Door prizes were handed out to the lucky winners, and one person at each table went home with the table centerpiece.
To wrap up the party and send everyone home in the festive spirit, the indomitable Oil Spots reconvened and regaled the crowd with their renditions of holiday classics. Our thanks and a tip of the fedora to John Bowyer, electric guitar and vocals; Rich Colwell, saxophone/flute; Mike Woodward, keyboard; Ken Evesson, drums; and Walter Bernard, keyboard.
Our best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday season and a healthier and joyeous 2022!
- - Story by Scott Hardy, photos by Greg Fleischer