ORIGIN OF THE NATIONAL CORVETTE HOMECOMING
Early in 2006, current NCH owner Joe Pruitt sat down with founding owner Tom Hill at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was a rainy Thursday afternoon and they talked together for quite some time.
Joe asked Tom to recall the time in 1980 when he and Sam Hall created what was to become the National Corvette Homecoming. Tom told Joe that it all began when he moved to Bowling Green that year. He and Sam decided along with several other Corvette enthusiasts that it was time to create a Corvette club and they called it Corvettes Limited Corvette Club.
Then, they decided that they should have some functions, and since Jimmy Greenway had just opened the Chevrolet dealership on Scottsville Road, they asked him if they could hold the first Corvette show at his place. Jimmy agreed and the Club sponsored the show. They also decided at that first show, that they would like to promote the GM Assembly Plant.
Tom and Sam then decided to just do the show on their own since Sam had a lot of connections in Bowling Green and Tom had connections at the Plant. So they took their own money and held the first actual Corvette Homecoming show at the Red Carpet Inn (which has been torn down now). This was in 1981. Calling it Corvette Homecoming was Tom’s idea because he wanted it to be like a reunion – like people bringing their car back home. Then, Sam (with some help from a friend here in Bowling Green) came up with National because they thought it would sound better.
So, the next year, in 1982, they moved the National Corvette Homecoming to Beech Bend Raceway Park, and that is the first time they used the full name that we have today. They wanted to have a different kind of car show. After a few years, they decided to sell NCH to Don Newton and Keith Blanford. They kept the show at Beech Bend Raceway Park.
In December 2001, Don & Keith then sold it to Joe Pruitt, Garnett Rogers, Allan Hudson and Roger Carter. Later that year, Roger decided to not participate and David Woodall bought his portion.
In 2003, Garnett left and in 2004 David and Allan left the show. Since that time it has been solely owned and coordinated by Joe Pruitt. In 2005, it was moved to Western Kentucky University Expo Center. In 2007, the prestigious Sans Pareil show was added to NCH schedule of events.
Since 2008, the event has moved to the Sloan Convention Center in the heart of Bowling Green. It is owned by the City of Bowling Green and is managed by the adjacent Holiday Inn. It has provided plenty of outside parking and carpeted, air conditioned indoor areas to enhance the show. We have partnered with American Red Cross to promote Vettetastic 2008 which featured the Corvette in public art display and a contest to benefit charity. The NCH has been moved up to late July, enhancing the positioning of the event to attract more participants. A new designation of “Grand Marshal” has be given to our special celebrity guest at the NCH. We have had many great Marshals starting with Bloomington Gold’s David Burroughs, GM Plant Manager Wil Cooksey, the man who saved the Corvette Joe Speilman and Carlisle Events Lance Miller. We have listened to the suggestions of our show attendees by adding new classifications to our shows such as the Drive & Shine class for daily drivers to participate and Drive Up Judging to expedite this process and enable participants to enjoy greater freedom at the show. We have added VIP Parties so that pre registering show participants can get up close and personal with the wide variety of Corvette celebrities that we attract each year. We have crowned a new Miss National Corvette Homecoming at several beauty contests. In 2010 we partnered with the Solid Axle Corvette Convention who held their show at the NCH.
In 2011 the Homecoming was a special celebration for us marking the 30th Anniversary of the NCH and the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green since 1981. We included our “cousins” in the GM group of automobiles the Cadillac XLR and XLR-V in our celebration. The XLR’s were produced exclusively at the Bowling Green Plant from 2003 to 2009. XLRs had special displays at our car shows, we had XLR seminars, XLR VIP appearances and the cars were included in our vehicle parade and other activities. With our friends at the Assembly Plant we had a special contest called The Iconic 30. We chose one special Corvette for each model year from 1981 to 2011. Contestants sent in a picture of their car and the required details and were given the special honor of being chosen to represent all other cars in their model year. There were special prizes and all winners appeared in a special pictorial as a historical document on our website for the years to come. Click here to view.
In 2012 the Homecoming was a special celebration with the ICCC, that held their annual convention in conjunction with the NCH in Bowling Green. A special caravan of Corvette Grand Sports traveled to Bowling Green and showed their special cars at the event. There were many great new activities added to the event including a special Corvette night at the Bowling Green Hot Rods baseball park. Click here to view 2012 show winners!
Joe & Vera strive to improve the show each year, making it a rewarding experience for the Corvette and XLR enthusiast. They have focused on promoting the show more fully on the internet and developing good utilities for show registration and NCH information on the web. They have enhanced event promotion through traditional media as well. They have improved the quality and experience level of their many team members who ensure that our events run smoothly for attendees and spectators. Joe & Vera project a family atmosphere in their dealings and interaction at the homecoming, that spreads throughout the event giving it a down home charm. Many events such as the car corral and shows have been expanded to include a wide variety of classic vehicles while keeping the emphasis on the longest running American sports car – the Corvette. We welcome you to the fun and excitement!
ORIGIN OF THE NATIONAL CORVETTE HOMECOMING