2018 SSR Annual Meeting

Keynote speaker Allen Strong (center) and wife Nancy along with Larry Hassel

The Spirit of St. Louis Region Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, November 11, 2018, at the fabulous Moto Museum in mid-town St. Louis, Missouri. The museum houses a private collection of unique motorcycles obtained from over twenty countries from around the globe covering almost a century of motorcycle development. Fifty-four members and guests gathered at noon to enjoy cocktails and the company of fellow members while touring the motorcycles on display. Following the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed either a choice of a beef, chicken or vegetarian entree at a sit down luncheon against a backdrop of motorcycles ensconced in wall cavities surrounding the dining area.

Accepting an invitation to be our keynote speaker for the afternoon event, fellow Spirit Region members Allen and Nancy Strong traveled to St. Louis from Urbana, Illinois and gave a very informative and interesting presentation entitled "Carl Fisher and the Dominant Six", an overview of the life and times of Carl Graham Fisher, an early automotive pioneer and principal founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To make the afternoon even more special, the Strong's brought their historic 1915 Packard Dominant Six, the pace car of the 1915 Indianapolis 500 Race driven by Carl Fisher himself. The car was brought into the museum's central gallery where it became the centerpiece among the motorcycles and the focus of many cameras.

Commenting on the opportunity to actually sit behind the wheel of the behemoth Packard, Region Director John Lowell recounted, "to sit in the same car, even in the same seat, and touch and feel the same steering wheel that Carl Fisher did was truly an unforgettable, awe-inspiring experience."

SSR Director John Lowell

SSR Director John Lowell

Allen’s lecture included a slide show presentation that included many rare photographs of Fisher, his early racing career and the Packard at the start of the race. At the conclusion of his talk, Allen fielded questions and comments from the audience, after which John Lowell presented him with a commemorative award as a thank you from the Region.

The afternoon agenda continued as Director Lowell conducted some further business of the Club, including the announcement of the 2018 election results and presentation of the Club's Participation Awards as well as the honoree of the Director's Award. The final award of the afternoon was presented by past Director Shannon Olson on behalf of the family's prestigious R.H. Olson Award. This year's honoree was outgoing Board Member, Tom Roberson.

After announcing several upcoming activities for the New Year and some final remarks, Director John Lowell concluded the 2018 SSR Annual Meeting.

Article by John Lowell