The First Five Years — by Rick Johnson
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Here is a look back at the first five years of our Club and some of the significant events in our formative years.
It all started with a meeting that was convened with a core group of AMC enthusiasts on September 13, 1994, at the Edmonton Inn on Kingsway. 17 people attended that meeting and all agreed on the formation of a club for AMC fans.
It was decided that the club would not be a branch of another club, that it would be an independant and separate club, and that it would be Alberta based. The object of the Club, as Ken Ames put it in the first (October, '94) issue of the Newsletter, would be to "raise the profile of AMCs as worth automobiles, and to have fun".
It was also decided by unanimous vote that the Club would be open to anyone who owns any AMC car, or one of the cars of its predecessor companies — Nash, Hudson, Jeffries, etc. The Club also decided on its name — The AMCA — The American Motors Club of Alberta.
Meetings were to be once a month on the second Tuesday and were to be held at the Edmonton Inn. The 2nd meeting in Octiber further defined the Club, and November's meeting saw elections and appointments to Club Directors: Rick Johnson as President, Peter Hill as Vice-President, John Crowe as Secretary-Treasurer, Glenn Rickerd as Events Co-ordinator, Blair Supple as Public Relations/ Advertising, and Ken Ames as Newsletter Publisher.
As of the December meeting the Club counted 16 paid annual fees (at agreed $25). In April we published the Club by-laws in the Newsletter, and in May 1995, the AMCA was registered with the Province of Alberta as a non-profit club under the "Societies Act". Also in May the Club participated in the first of many "Show & Shines", and showed off six of our AMC vehicles.
In June the Club got out in force to "Autoganza" in Edmonton at Churchill Square. Nine of the AMC cars were on display and this event really made a splash, and contributed to two new members.
In September we celebrated our first anniversary and decided to celebrate with a Club gathering at the Reynolds Museum in Wetaskiwin where we cut into a birthday cake. This was, I believe, a very successful first year with Club events such as "Show & Shines", a rally in Victoria Park, a Charity car wash, and members cars featured in the "Memories" section of the [Edmonton} Journal and Sun newspapers. All this contributed to awareness of the AMCA and helped us attract new members and interest in the Club
We have now grown to over thirty members in spite of losing some to transfers and the like. This is faster progress than many anticipated given the youth of the Club and the demographics involved with the small base of AMC owners
Ken Ames has listed our Club on the 'AMXFILES' website on the internet. As a number of us own computers, we share the myriad of AMC information published on the 'Net. Club meetings are well attended and members share in the excellent information available on parts and techincal tips. An enthusiastic "core" group develops that is always in attendance.
We have now attracted members from far and wide. Beyond Edmonton our membership extends to Calgary, Jasper, Rimbey, Lacombe, and even into Saskatchewan.
Annual elections are held in March '96 for the Club Directors. John Crowe is elected President, Rick Johnson as Vice President, Bob Wright as Treasurer, Peter Hill as Secretary, Blair remains as Events Co-oridinator and Ken Ames as Newsletter Publisher.
Spring '96 comes with the AMCA co-sponsoring a May Show and Shine with Mel & Lee at London Drugs in St. Albert. The Club displays 8 cars and proudly hoists up its new Club Banner. In June we are invited to the 1st annual "Ramblin' in the Rockies".
This is to become a signature annual event as members gather from around the province in Jasper, Alberta, as guests of members Gerry and Heather Warrenchuk at the fabulous Pallisades. In the following years we stay the whole weekend in these ranch-style buildings located against the mountains of Jasper National Park. a bar-b-que, tours of the area, and a dip in the hot pools contribute to a great timne for all.
The summer of '96 sees the AMCA at more "Show and Shines" and our banner on display. By October we now have an AMCA lapel pin as well as a Club window decal for all members. In addition Rick Johnson is maintaining a photo alblum which displays pictures of member's cars taken at Club events'
The Club is still growing and we decide that Bob Britton will be our Librarian.
We are receiving contributions to the newsletter from members across the province and particularly from Calgary where we continue to attract interst. In addition we are mailing our newsletter to Clubs outside the Province such as the AMC Club of BC, The Northern Ramblers and the AMC Club of Central Canada. We receive their newsletters as well, and members benefit from this source of information and parts.
March of '97 brings elections and new directors: Chris Little as President, Rick Johnson as Vice President, Louis Bourget as Treasurer, Peter Hill as Secretary, Blair Supple as Events Co-ordinator, Julius Laszl as Newsletter Publisher and Terry Shuflitas as Librarian.
March also has the Club participating in the Mayfield Inn Swap Meet. Our Calgary members show the Club flag in their town at the "Spring Thaw" and other car shows this summer. The summer inb Edmonton has our cars again in the "Show and Shines" around the Capital.
By May we have acquired more members in Calgary, another member in Saskatchewan, and we add Prince George in British Columbia. We are now mailing the newsletter far and wide and seem to have settled at around 30 permanent members.
We travel down to Rimbey to visit the "AMC Ranch" of member Gary and Cheryl Bennick early in June. Besides a wonderful collection of AMCs in various states, Gary and Cheryl host a wonderful lunch. Everyone has a great time and we decide to make this an annual pilgrimage.
We now have our own Club T-shirt that members love and eagerly snap up. These we take to the 2nd annual "Ramblin' in the Rockies" later that month. This is another great event with members coming from as far awqy as Calgary and Dawson Creek, B.C.. Seems to rain each year but amazingly we get our tours and bar-b-q just fine and agian Gerry and Heather show us a great time. A trip to Maligne Canyon and another dip in the Miette Hot Springs makes for another great weekend in Jasper.
The newsletter is really impressing as more members contribute and Julius now inserts ads from other newsletters as well as the free ads contributed by our own members. Computer access to the Internet also keeps fresh material coming.
Plans are made for the March elections. We file our annual financial statement and the List of Directors to the Province as required each year in the "Societies Act". Chris Little is voted in again as President, Rick Johnson as Vice President, Bob Britton as Treasurer, Peter Hill as Secretary, Blair Supple as Events Co-ordinator, John Street as Librarian and Ken Ames volunteers again as Newsletter Publisher.
April has the AMCA at "Power-ama" at Northlands in Edmonton, and June has a number of members from Calgary, Edmonton, and points in between attend the "Three Hills Street Freaks" car show in early June. What a show — Rick J. convinces the AMCA this should be a Club event in '99.
Later in June we have the second annual "AMC Ranch" event at Gary and Cheryl's place in Rimbey. Another great time held by all at the ever-growing home of orphan AMCs. More members this year and the event becomes a great "mixer" for folks south, north and all over the Province.
The AMCA then runs up to Jasper at the end of June for the third annual "Ramblin' in the Rockies". Once again Gerry and Heather knock themselves out showing the Club a wonderful time with this year a guided tour of the area by a Parks Canada Naturalist! Rains again but, as usual, not a problem. Everyone agrees this is a highlight event — not to be missed!!
July has our member Ken Ames in Kenosha WI for the AMO International Convention. Ken brings back a video of the event and it is obvious this is a great event to take in! "August Hot Nights" in Edmonton is an extravaganza and the Club cars are out on display. September has the AMCA display 6 of its cars at the "Mopars at Westmount" car show, organized by member Julius Laszl. Julius put together a great show and provided awardsa for the best AMC. We want to participate again in '99.
It's a busy summer for the Club all around with representation at a number of "Show and Shines" in Edmonton and Calgary. We are now at 50 members.
Issue #48 of the AMCA Newsletter featrues a new Publisher — Lenka Vales. Lenka has volunteered to be Publisher for the advertising space she receives and the Club covoers her costs. Since Lenka does desktop publishing for a living she has the computer equipment, and the skill, to be able to again raise the quality of the Newsletter, and introduces a colour front page. All members are very appreciative of her efforts.
As we go into Year Five it is time to reflect a little. We have come a very long way from the first meeting. In the last four years we have grown to a truoy Province-wide Club with a strong membership that now necessitated a new meeting place ( Boston Pizza at Mayfield Common ) to provide the space and privacy we require.
Thanks to Larry Chapple in Calgary we now have an AMCA website ( http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Pit/1710/ ). This is something we have long wanted and which again opens up new avenues and sources of information about our Club. This will be a joint effort with much use of e-mail by members to help Larry build and maitain our new site.
Stay tuned for further installments of "AMCA History" ....