VTCI International Convention, Portland, Oregon—August 4-8, 2021
The 2021 VTCI International Convention was held in Portland, Oregon at the Red Lion On The River on Hayden Island from August 4-8, 2021. Several RSSVTC members were in attendance: Michael Campsmith, Andrea and Gary Hatley, Joel and Aaron Cohn, Tom and Sarina Cofield, and Alan Olson. Michael caravanned down with Andrea and Gary on Wednesday; when driving old cars it is a good idea to travel with others just in case something goes wrong—thankfully nothing did. The 2020 International convention was supposed to be held in Portland last year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it was rescheduled to this year. Unfortunately the US border was still closed to Canadians for non-essential travel and thus there were no attendees from the Thunderbird clubs in British Columbia. Their beautiful cars and fun-loving attitude were sorely missed.
On Thursday there was a bus trip to Fort Vancouver, on the Washington side of the Columbia River. The fort started out as a fur trading outpost of the Hudson Bay Company, and through the early 1800s was an important source of commerce and settlement in the Pacific Northwest. Subsequent to the fort’s use as a fur trading center, it was taken over as an active fort of the United States Army. The tour led us through the English garden, the fur storage house, the commandant’s house and the blacksmith’s shop. The fort is well-preserved and the docents gave us a great insight into the hard life on the frontier.
Friday was the day of the judging. The VTCI has several divisions for judging, and all cars are judged against standards for when the car was new off the assembly line. This summer has been very warm and dry, which are perfect conditions for judging cars. So wouldn’t you know it, on the morning of the judging there was a light mist (the first precipitation in over 45 days!) that complicated the judging and threatened to really mess up the process. Luckily everyone kept a good attitude and the judges were able to finish their work by early afternoon. Friday evening there was a reception with live bluegrass music while participants renewed old friendships and made new friends.
On Saturday there was a bus tour to Mt. Hood in the Oregon Cascades. Participants report that it was chilly at the top of the mountain and that people were still skiing above the parking lot. Saturday night was the awards banquet. After a fine dinner awards were given in several categories, and I am pleased to report that RSSVTC members took home several trophies. The most prestigious acknowledgement of the convention was presentation of the “Wixom Preservation Award” to Tom and Sarina Cofield for their 1962 Thunderbird coupe. The Wixom award acknowledges a superior original unrestored example of the Thunderbird marque, and has only been awarded to a handful of cars throughout the history of the VTCI. Congratulations to Tom and Sarina!!
Other RSSVTC members receiving awards were Michael Campsmith, Andrea and Gary Hatley, Joel and Aaron Cohn and Tom and Sarina for a second entry. All in all it was quite a fine showing for the RSSVTC.
Sunday after breakfast we said our goodbyes and headed for home. On the return we had a 3-car caravan with Michael, Andrea and Gary, and Joel and Aaron back to the Seattle area.
Congratulations to all the award winners at the 2021 VTCI Convention, and many thanks to the Portland Thunderbird club for making the convention a success against some major challenges.
Michael Campsmith, President, RSSVTC