Planning and preparation for the 2011 Fun Rally celebrating the Pantera’s 40th birthday is well under way. While I am writing this the first week of January and the Rally is scheduled six months out, June 8th through the 12th, the folks who make it all happen are busy working away.

Bob Reid has worked with Circus Circus, the host hotel in Reno Nevada, to finalize contracts, the Saturday evening banquet menu, event pricing, registration forms and other details.

Mark McWhinney has updated the POCA website to capture the latest announcements and establish the capability to access forms on-line.

Judy McCartney is preparing the registration packets, badge colors and organizing a Thursday evening visit to “Catch a Rising Star” comedy club.

Jack DeRyke is brainstorming ideas for the Saturday Tech session and keeping Mark McWhinney’s and my feet to the fire on timely announcements, like this one, for the POCA Newsletter.

Larry Finch with others at PCNC is busy spearheading the orchestration of the PCNC Reno Fernley Track Event. The track is under new management, and as many already know, this is simply one of the best road courses available that is suited to the Pantera. If you are a road course enthusiast, this is hands down better than the Vegas alternatives. The Road Course is long and straight enough to let a Pantera stretch its legs. It is a terrific track for both drivers and spectators.

Jim Nowlin, our local go-to guy, is working with the city of Reno to secure permits for the Plaza in Downtown Reno for our Car Show. Rob Pink and Orville Burg of Space City Panteras will host and coordinate the Car Show. This includes properly staging the cars; selecting personnel to direct and position the cars, orchestrating the top of the hour synchronized engine rev, providing dash placards for the participants and directing cars off the Plaza at it conclusion. The Plaza has proven a worthy setting for the display of De Tomasos for the community. Our “top of the hour” engine rev was a delight to all in attendance and an audible announcement that the big cats can roar.

Jim is also working with the National Automobile Museum to plan a private dinner affair on Friday evening. We are returning to the museum after a two year hiatus. This Museum houses the best of the Harrah auto collection and its inventory of cars changes periodically. Frankly, the portfolio is so vast that few had an opportunity to take it all in on our last visit. This will be among the highlights of the Fun Rally.

We are enhancing our effort this year to better communicate the availability of activities for spouses at the Fun Rally who prefer non-automotive themed entertainment. This was suggested as an opportunity for improvement to event organizers. Jim is assisting with the discovery process in this exercise.

Keeping him busy, Jim will again be leading a spirited drive through the Sierra Nevada hills to Sierra Butte that will allow you to drive your car the way it was meant to be enjoyed. It's about 71 miles and 90 minutes each way. This is the activity last year that saw one of De Tomaso’s new marketing consultants hanging out of their van in a harness filming Panteras at triple digits. It was wild. You’ll do lunch at a folksy local’s restaurant in the town of Bassetts. The roads are fun and the scenery is spectacular!

Bill and Montse Hohnhorst have been an inspiration and we are putting together a drive around Lake Tahoe that will stop at impressive historic homes with incredible vistas over the Lake. The homes are open to the public, offer tours and may provide an awesome setting for a De Tomaso group photo op.

For the more adventurous, we are looking into a Truckee to Tahoe river rafting adventure. Is there a better way to get intimate with the environment and enjoy the spectacular local scenery? OK, don’t answer that.

John Schirmer, Bill Harris and Kent Snyder have already been working for a couple of months to find historically significant De Tomasos to feature in the Hospitality Suite. I believe that they have more to say either in this Newsletter or a forthcoming Profiles; I do not wish to steal their thunder. However, I am confident that they would welcome your insight as to suitable candidates to complement their effort. If you know of a fine example, it may even be yours, please let one of them know the owner’s name and the model. They will sort through the nominees and ultimately present invitations to the owners. It will be quite an honor to be featured in the Hospitality Suite. They do not know of the whereabouts of all the cars however, and would benefit from your help.

Chris Kimball of NW Panteras is working with a boat company that operates Catamaran Tours on Lake Tahoe. Despite less than perfect weather last year, it was a satisfying experience. The late morning cruise on beautiful Lake Tahoe will be followed by lunch on land. The drive to the Lake is lovely and the view from the Lake is extraordinary.

Jim Cozzolino and Mike Thomas are hard at work reaching out to vendors soliciting donations for the wonderful Raffle that concludes our Saturday Evening Banquet. The Raffle has become a tradition at the Fun Rally and has been POCA’s best fund raiser. Last year was over the top as generous contributions from Steve Wilkinson, Larry Stock, Dennis Quella and many others contributed to a record level of ticket sales. Steve Wilkinson, who also sponsored the surprise appearance of Santiago De Tomaso, donated over $9000 of parts and accessories. His generosity was exceptional and served as the catalyst for a record level of ticket sales and funds raised.

George Pence of Pantera International and Jim Cozzolino, are organizing the spectacularly fun Go-Cart Competition for Thursday evening. What can I say; everyone who participates has a blast on the slick track. Participation grows every year that this competition has been on the calendar. POCA’s thanks to our comrades at PI for hosting this event.

This is the 30th time that Fun Rally enthusiasts of the De Tomaso marque have gathered together to celebrate one another’s camaraderie while enjoying their De Tomaso. Yes, it is the 30th Anniversary of the Fun Rally. The Fun Rally was conceived by Kent and Sandy Snyder in 1981 as a Chapter drive to Las Vegas. It grew quickly in popularity and through their leadership with the support and assistance of others expanded to become one heck of a party and quite a legacy.

So, with all this effort being expended, I realize that you are wondering, “What can I contribute?” You are the most important ingredient in this mix. We need you to participate in the Celebration. Please register early!

Circus Circus Hotel has set aside a block of rooms for us until May 11th. Our single / double occupancy rates are $57/per night in the North Tower Thursday, $87 North Tower per night Friday and Saturday, with a $10 per person per night charge for the third and fourth person in the room. The rates do not include a 13.5% room tax and a Resort Fee of 4.99 per night. The Resort Fee is new and includes wireless internet in your room, unlimited local calls, Valet Parking, in-room coffee, access to fitness center, $55 in Circuc Circus Reno Funbucks Coupons and more.

These room rates expire Saturday, May 8th, so make your reservations early. You can always cancel with a full refund up to 48 hours prior to your confirmed arrival time. You must contact the hotel directly at 1-800-648-5010 to make your reservations. Be sure to mention group code “Pantera Owners Club of America”. Do not say “POCA” as that has been misconstrued (i.e. Polka) in the past and we have not gotten full credit. The cost of our Hospitality Suite rental is a function of how many rooms our group reserves. Please be certain that the hotel registrar knows you are with the “Pantera Owners Club of America”.

This year’s event registration will remain $200 per person. If you make your plans now or register prior to March 25th, 2011, the cost is discounted to only $175 per adult.

Event information, updates, registration forms and payment through Cedit Card or PayPal is available through the new POCA website at www.POCA.com

Please plan early for an enjoyable week. Your early commitment makes it easier for the organizers and helps us plan a superior event. I recognize many do not have the flexibility at work to know whether they can escape until the last moment. I appreciate that as well and will have my fingers crossed that you will be able to join us at the 2011 POCA Fun Rally. I and the other enthusiasts, look forward to seeing you there. The more the merrier!

We hope that you will join us in celebrating the Pantera’s 40th anniversary, the Fun Rally’s 30th anniversary and each other for our role in keeping the cars worthy of road and competition through the years.

The Fun Rally is always a work in progress. If you have an opinion or suggestion, please let Judy McCartney or I know.

I look forward to seeing you there.

John Taphorn
Event Co-Chairperson
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