Kilbeggan - Midland American Auto Club 10th Anniversary Show
By: Web Editor
Date: September 10-11, 2011
Place: Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, Ireland
Words & Photography: Ben Klemenzson
The Kilbeggan show, run by the Midland American Auto Club, marked a couple of special anniversaries this year; the 10th year of the club and the show, as well the more serious 10th anniversary of the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York. It would have been impossible to have ignored the latter, although incorporating it into what was meant to be an upbeat celebration of the club’s 10th anniversary and show must have been a challenge for the organisers. Luckily they tackled this by making a minute’s silence a central feature of the main show day on Sunday, as well as a dignified speech read by an American guest speaker.
All show organisers must struggle with keeping their events fresh and interesting for punters – if you have a successful formula, there must be a temptation to avoid tampering with it for fear of losing that very success. However, endlessly repeating the same formula year-in, year-out will inevitably mean an event becomes stale, punters get bored and stop coming.
The MAAC’s annual event, while remaining in the same location and on roughly the same dates, does however vary its format and manages to keep things fresh as a result. Saturday is more of a ‘chill-out’ day for those camping on-site and this year’s cruise took in a whiskey distillery tour, which as well as being interesting provided ample refreshment for those not driving!
As in previous years there was a burn-out competition on the Saturday evening. It was won by David Cochran from County Meath in his 1971 Ford F100 Custom with a 460 motor in it (no wonder there was so much smoke!). The organisers also laid on an extremely good hog roast, a live band and, for those who wanted to take it a bit easier, a drive-in movie.
Sunday, as already mentioned, was the anniversary of the events of 9/11, but it was also Ireland’s first match in the Rugby World Cup, against none other than the USA, whom they comprehensively trounced 22-10. While in previous years the burn-out competition had been limited to the Saturday evening and as such a fairly limited audience, this year it was also held on the Sunday and proved immensely popular with visitors, who this year more than ever seemed to include a lot of eastern Europeans, who obviously appreciate American metal. The event was supported by other Irish American car clubs, such as the American and Custom Club of Northern Ireland, the American Muscle Car Club of Ireland and the Great American Steel Car Club.
As well as traders, fairground rides, tattoo artists and even a stall selling American food and confectionery products, there was a good selection of cars for sale and even an authentic 1951 American pushbike! Stand-out cars over the weekend included a super-rare 1957 Mercury Voyager belonging to Brendan Brady, a 1941 Buick from the Captain America movie and home-made 1901 Curved Dash Olds ‘tribute’ (with a 2CV engine believe it or not!).
The tail end of a hurricane coming in off the Atlantic made for windy, damp conditions on Sunday. Likewise the economic storm that has battered Ireland particularly hard over the past few years must make for challenging conditions for American car fans there. However, as show organiser Joe Keenan said on reflecting on the club’s 10th anniversary: “We started off with 50 cars 10 years ago and nowadays you could class owning an American car as a luxury, what with the price of petrol and the downturn... but without a shadow of doubt, there’ll always be American cars and there’ll always be an American car show here while I’m above ground!” Amen to that, happy birthday Midland American Auto Club and long may you and your show continue to thrive!
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