Don’t be surprised if you notice an increase in hi-revving engines and beautiful vehicles around town this weekend.
That’s when the 6th annual Corvette Kickoff Classic will return to Lawton and showcase one of America’s most iconic sports cars.
“We anticipate having a couple of hundred participants showing around 100 different Corvettes throughout the weekend,” said Jeremy Welborn, who is the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club (SWOCC) Show Chair.
“(Last year) there were 204 individuals registered, with 77 Corvettes signed up for the Friday night Celebrity Choice Show and 124 Corvettes registered for “The Big Show” at the Apache (Casino) on Saturday,” he said.
The schedule this year will be similar, with registration and check-in for participants occurring from noon-5 p.m. today and a “Celebrity Choice” show at McKenzie’s Burger Garage, along with a welcome dinner, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
According to Welborn, the celebrities in question will be Col. James Peay and three-time Purple Heart recipient Matthew Sims.
“The Celebrity Choice Top 25 show is part of our Welcome Party at McKenzie’s Burger Garage,” Welborn said. “Les McKenzie has been gracious enough to host this event for the last several years and donates custom-made awards for the show winners.”
“Being a garage0themed restaurant, participants enjoy both the food and atmosphere that McKenzie’s provides,” Wellborn said.
On Saturday, the competition will really take off with “The Big Show”, which will include two separately judged events: the “Show-N-Shine” and “Judged”. Both will occur in the southern parking lot of the Apache Casino Hotel and will have different conditions for victory.
“Show entrants have the choice of entering either show on Saturday,” Welborn explained. “The Show-N-Shine winners are participant selected. All show participants will receive a ballot that allows them to select their five favorite Corvettes from the Show-N-Shine show field. The cars receiving the most votes will earn trophies at the Saturday evening Awards Banquet.
“The Judged show entrants will have their cars judged by a select group of Corvette judges. It’s a more competitive option broken down by various Corvette classes — mostly by Corvette generations. Class winners and runners-up will receive very nice cup trophies at the Awards Banquet Saturday night,” he said.
And while the car shows will take place outside of the hotel, in the parking lot, there will be activities inside as well.
“The Apache Casino has been our host venue from the inception of our Corvette weekend,” Welborn said. “They provide hotel services, banquet services, and special parking areas for our event every year.”
And while celebrating classic American cars is wonderful, Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club wants to do more than just that; it also wants to give back.
“The local charities we are supporting this year (include) The Lawton Fort Sill Boys and Girls Club, Family Promise of Lawton, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Mount Scott Chapter 6️02,” Welborn said.
“One of our big fundraisers during the weekend is our silent auction during the show. And we also have a live auction during the awards banquet. The Apache provides space for this as well and is very supportive in our goals of raising support for the local charities.
“The Apache Casino is also providing a free gaming class for show registrants on Saturday afternoon, which is a lot of fun for our guests.”
Saturday’s activities will end with a Corvette cocktail hour and awards banquet, featuring a plated dinner, live auction, and awards presentations.
On Sunday, the festivities will continue, as participants can choose to take place in an early morning cruise out to the Holy City in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, or a later cruise to rendezvous with the group at Elmer Thomas Lake.
From there, the group will cruise to the peak of Mount Scott, then go through the refuge, Meers, and around Lake Lawtonka, before eventually being escorted through Medicine Park in a parade.
The festivities are set to conclude at 1:30 p.m. with a barbecue lunch, Corvette Show & Awards at Fancy Nancy’s Bar and Grill in Medicine Park.