Mainly the Board considered items associated with the convention, which commenced the next day, such as the planning for the City Tours and the tour of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum… Also discussed was the Ladies Luncheon (hosted by First Lady Patti Steinmetz) which had as surprise Guest Speaker the Chief Chef for the Wenfrey Hyatt Hotel!
As usual the convention commenced with the first of three Cocktail Parties on September 5th after which most, if not all, the attendees enjoyed selections from the hotel restaurant right there in the main hall of the hotel, which was just a few feet away from the entrance to the Riverchase Galleria Mall. Also located at that entrance, just inside the hotel, was an “old fashioned” shoe-shine two-seater stand manned by a very friendly and vocal fellow named Ronald… Many of us got a fine shoeshine there and found that Ronald would continue working on your shoes as long as you stayed and talked to him! I think he actually gave my shoes three (3) complete shines as I saw him loosen the laces and polish up the tongue three times! Would have been four I suppose but my wife, Carrie Sue, came and got me for something or another in Eastern Flight Ops (the big room where we met to register, buy Raffle Tickets, tell War Stories and so on)…
The First Day, after an excellent breakfast in the hotel (complete with order to taste omelets), we had the usual Convention Business Meeting where most of the discussion centered on future conventions. Also discussed was the 2018 REPA Convention which will be in early September at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina… 2018 REPA President Bud Robbins, with the assistance of our 2018 First Lady, Adolyn Robbins, will be hosting that event… Much more later on that convention early next year. Following the Business Meeting many of us joined Eastern Radio Host Neal Holland for a Live Broadcast from Eastern Flight Ops… Speaking live with Neal were Virgil Tedder, Johnny Steinmetz, Johnny Johnson and Jim Holder…
Then most took one of the two City Bus Tours which followed one another all over Birmingham and I mean “all over” the city! We saw many fine old homes, a close up view of Vulcan (the metal statue that watches over the city) and the now apparently closed Iron/Steel factories (where we had a rest stop for those needing same). We arrived back just in time to prepare for the second Cocktail Party which was again manned by Paul, a fine bartender, who by now knew what most of us were drinking. Then to the Ball Room for a delightful Buffet followed by dancing to a local DJ’s music, who played our kind of songs!
The last day started with another breakfast (all of which were included in the Registration Fee as were the Cocktail Parties, Buffet and final evening Dinner) after which we were off for shopping, visiting and some were even hardy enough to take the Motorsports Museum Tour. That evening we were greeted again by our personal Bartender, Paul, who by now usually was ready with your drink before you stepped up! Sadly some of our number had departed for their homes in Florida as Irma was heading that way! Most gave their Raffle Tickets to the aforementioned Carrie Sue (she ended up with streams of tickets, like some kind of Christmas tree!)….
After the Dinner was finished President Johnny Steinmetz honored Mrs. Barbara Christopher, who had passed away after the 2016 Convention, with a series of slides showing her attendance at almost every REPA Convention over the years… Present right in front of the screen were her daughters, Diane Cosgrove and Judy Parks. We then were treated to a solo performance of almost thirty minutes by REPA Member “Big John” Shearer, with his wistful commentary, guitar playing and fine bass voice… Anyone wishing their own DVD can visit his website and order them (as did your humble scribe). Jerry Frost then had the winning number drawn from a bag which had a number assigned to each of the first 25 members to register for the convention… The Winner of a Free Room Night check was Jim Blackburn! Then the more raucous part of the Banquet commenced with Jim Gardner conducting one of his Famous Auctions of items donated by some REPA Members…
Large Set of Eastern Cocktail Glasses, donated by Dan Frisch and won by Bud Robbins ($50.00)
Lockheed Electra Framed Print donated by Ellen McCort and won by Dick Burnette ($185.00)
B-720 bathroom wall plaque donated by Beverlee Graybill and won by John Shearer ($30.00)
This was followed by the Raffle ($920.00 worth of tickets was sold)…The Winners
Four prizes of $110.00 each were won by Judy Parks, Carolyn Schuett, Jim Holder and Marlene Teel… $200.00 was won by Sam Gore and the Grand Prize of $300.00 was won by Jim Harris (Jo Ann Anthony’s Guest). As the banquet drew to a close Bud Robbins presented Johnny Steinmetz with a Presidential Plaque, thanking him for this wonderful convention that we had so much enjoyed!
Jim Holder, REPArtee Editor
September 5th 6th and 7th, 2017
The 2017 REPA Convention will be in Birmingham, Alabama, at the Hyatt
Regency BHM at the Riverchase Galleria Mall, one of the premier malls
in America (the hotel is attached to the mall).
The REPA room rate is $125.00 plus tax, and Self-parking in the hotel deck is $10.00 per day, on-site parking with a short walk is free. The deadline for the REPA room rate is August 4, 2017. Call the Hyatt Regency directly for room reservations.
1000 Riverchase Galleria, Birmingham, AL 35244 US
Reservations: 1-844-527-0518 or 1-205-705-1234 (not a toll #)
Convention will be September 5th 6th and 7th… More information on Registration Fees, etc., and Convention and instruction forms that can be
downloaded, are on the REPA website: Click on this hyperlink, REPA.