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The Real World: Coordinating a Collection of Memories

Tabetha Salsbury, 20, from Pueblo, CO, is a senior at McPherson College where she is majoring in automotive restoration and communications. She recently completed an eight-week internship with The Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles—a concours d’elegance car show in Canton, OH. Read how Tabetha’s experiences became more than just an internship — but rather eight weeks of life-long memories.

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A Student’s Perspective from the Glenmoor Gathering

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By Tabetha Salsbury
Photos courtesy of Walt Herrip

Not Just an Internship — But Eight Weeks of Life-Long Memories
I have always loved working in the garage and anything to do with public speaking. So, when I learned that McPherson College, McPherson, KS, offered the only four-year degree in automotive restoration, as well as the opportunity to specialize in communications, I knew it was the right place for my educational studies.

Before beginning my senior year this fall, I wanted to take part in an internship to gain more career knowledge and skills. After searching for the right internship, I found my answer when I was accepted for an eight-week opportunity with The Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles — a car show that perfectly complimented my love affair between automotive restoration and communications.

The Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles, held at the Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, OH, is not just a car show. It is a concours d’elegance show that features some of the world’s finest and most unique automobiles. Along with the car show, the event is highlighted by cooking and decorating seminars, countryside tours, golfing, a fashion show, art show and social gatherings that all contribute to the Glenmoor Gathering being a “lifestyle event.”

tabetha salsbury, a senior at mcpherson college, interned this summer under the guidance of the glenmoor gathering’s director david schultz.Featured Vehicles On Display
With this being the 100th anniversary of the Ford Model T and General Motors, both automakers were featured at this year’s Glenmoor Gathering that took place on Sunday, September 14. Nearly 225 automobiles of various eras were invited to the show, including a 1928 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8ASS LeBaron convertible coupe and a 1938 Horch 853 Erdmann & Rossi special roadster.

Many other fantastic automobiles were displayed including models from Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza, Stutz, Bentley, Porsche, Cadillac, and Packard, and a special display of world-class performance cars that included a Saleen S-7 and a Bugatti Veyron.

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For eight weeks, I worked under the direction and leadership of the Glenmoor Gathering’s director, David Schultz, who became not just a boss, but a mentor, role model and friend. I also worked closely with the marketing director, Jocelyn Piper, and administrative assistant, Sue Kirby, who offered a different perspective on coordinating a large event.

I not only learned how to coordinate a nationally-recognized concours, but became a part of the Glenmoor crew and found my place in the antique/classic automotive industry. I was introduced to and taught how to handle the ups and downs of public relations and gained a broader knowledge about the restoration industry.

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The Glenmoor Gathering show was a wonderful event in itself, but actually having a hand in putting it together was a life-lasting memory that I am very proud to have been a part of. It was an experience that many people never have the chance of doing—though it would not have been possible without the support and generosity from the people of Glenmoor, The Collectors Foundation and many other people who helped me along the way.

Thanks to the Collectors Foundation—a public charitable organization that supports youth interests in collector vehicles or classic boats—and the Glenmoor Country Club/Glenmoor Gathering, I was awarded a grant that helped cover the expenses of the internship and housing arrangements. Not having to worry about finances allowed me to focus a lot more on my duties as an intern and enhance my skills for my future career.

My Position at the Glenmoor Gathering
I went into this internship hoping to learn how to run a concours d’elegance, but came out with a lot more knowledge and skill than I ever imagined. I was the first student to intern with the Glenmoor Gathering, so my boss and I were a little unclear of what my exact job description would entail.

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David and I agreed on one thing from the beginning—being able to do anything that helps keep the show going is the most important characteristic of a show director— whether it is making the coffee or making a speech.

I quickly found that not having a specific job all the time was beneficial because it gave me the opportunity to take on new challenges and be assertive in my work. I was able to take on new tasks, not because they were assigned to me, but because I asked if I could do them.  

My biggest task before the show was to write a large portion of the car description cards—brief descriptions highlighting the significance of each exhibiting automobile. While daunting, time consuming, and sometimes aggravating, this task helped me to learn more about antique and classic automobiles and enhance my writing skills.

During the show, I was in charge of coordinating judging tabulations and ensuring the judging process went smoothly—which was another task of high importance because the timing of the show and awards ceremony depended upon it.

 

A Brief History of the Concours d’Elegance
Concours d’Elegance car shows are not your typical “run-of-the-mill” show where any antique or classic automobile can be displayed. They are typically invitation-only, charitable shows where some of the most exclusive automobiles, generally of the highest quality, are displayed in a picturesque setting.  

The phrase “concours d’elegance” is French for “contest of elegance.” Originating in Paris, France, concours d’elegance shows have been around since the beginning of motoring when the most beautiful women dressed in the newest fashions and modeled with the highest quality automobiles for the public’s gratification.
 
In 1950, the concours d’elegance trend caught on in the United States on the Monterey Peninsula in California — marking the first Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which is now the largest and most recognized concours d’elegance in the United States.  

Since the first Pebble Beach Concours, there have been numerous concours d’elegance shows started around the country, including the Glenmoor Gathering which began 14 years ago. The Glenmoor Gathering has grown into a nationally recognized concours and is comparable to larger shows such as Meadow Brook (Michigan) and Amelia Island Concours (Florida).

Expanding My Experience Beyond Glenmoor
To add to my internship experience and learn more about the collector automobile industry, I began my educational experience when I left my home in Pueblo, CO. As I drove out east to Canton, I made stops along the way at automotive museums, collections and shops, not only to tour them, but to visit with each director or owner.

Putting an additional 1,000 miles on my trip, I visited places such as the Forney Museum, Denver, CO; the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, IN; The Scout Connection, Fort Madison, IA; and Bos Machine and Tools, Hillsdale, IL.

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Taking the opportunity to visit with the people who operate these businesses and collections each day was a great way to learn about the ups and downs of their work. This experience gave me a much deeper appreciation for this industry.

And, once I settled in Ohio and began working for David, I continued this aspect of my experience by traveling to Michigan several times and visiting places in the Canton area. It was through the help from my boss and several suggestions from Glenmoor volunteers that I again took to the road.

Included in my road trips were stops at The Henry Ford (museum) and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI; R&A Engineering in  Manchester, MI; Classic & Exotic Service, Inc. in Troy, MI; the Crawford Museum in Cleveland, OH; and the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance in Rochester, MI.

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The Show—with a Little Surprise
Even though the actual Glenmoor show did not take place until the second Sunday in September, the country side tour, fashion show and social gatherings began days prior. To make the last few days before the show even more intense than they already were from making final arrangements, Mother Nature decided to give the Glenmoor Gathering a new experience—the aftermath rain and storm leftover from Hurricane Ike, which hit Texas earlier in the week.

In the past 13 years of Glenmoor Gathering shows, not once had it rained. Therefore, there was not a back-up plan for rainy weather.
While the show is typically held on the golf course, we ended up moving the show (rather quickly) to the front parking lot of the country club to accommodate the weather conditions. In one day, the Glenmoor crew came together like nothing I have ever seen before to move sponsor tents, coordinate parking and reposition all of our outside events indoors.

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From an intern’s perspective, even though the rain made things hectic, it was still a great experience. It is easy to see how a “good” show pans out, but to have first-hand experience of what to do when things do not go according to plan is an invaluable lesson.

Despite the rain, show exhibitors and participants came with a smile on their face, ready to have a good time. Our basic message was whether it was indoors away from the rain or outside with the cars, we were going to have a good time.

Luckily, the rain let up before Sunday and we were able to proceed with the show, just with a few changes. It was amazing because I heard many times that it looked like the back-up plan had been practiced for years instead of created in just one day. This was a huge compliment to those who made the “behind the scenes” chaos invisible to the public.

The show was fabulous and a perfect ending to my perfect internship. The “Best in Show” car was awarded to a 1938 Horch 853 Erdmann and Rossi roadster—a beautiful automobile that truly upholds the image of concours d’elegance shows and the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles.

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About the Author:
Tabetha Salsbury, 20, from Pueblo, CO, is a senior at McPherson College where she is majoring in automotive restoration and communications. She recently completed an eight-week internship with The Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles—a concours d’elegance car show in Canton, OH.

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