Well, it's been several weeks since the International Convention, hosted by our chapter, and as Chevy Chase said in "National
Lampoon's Vacation I'll need plastic surgery to remove my damn smile! What a week, and judging by the many responses I've
received from fellow Blue Knights from around the globe, it was a huge success. There was a great deal of hard work done
by many members of WI VI, and all the time and effort they gave paid off. We've been hailed as one of the best, if not the
best, International Conventions in club history!
|The beginning of the convention
|Dennis, Laura, Jim, Patti, Joe & Doni
Before I delve into the highlights of the week, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all the chapter members and their
significant others who made this convention possible. As I've said all along, this convention wouldn't have been possible
without your help and support. Thanks to all of your efforts we've raised the bar for future chapters to surpass. In particular
I want to acknowledge the hard work of our Registration staff: "Tiny" and Patti Kindt, Bill and Cindy Drees, Bob
McDermott and Peggy Paddock, Larry and Jackie Thompson, Deb Koehn, and my lovely girlfriend Laura Duff who dealt with hours
of chaos on Day 1 in cramped quarters. To those of you who didn't partake in the festivities, you missed out on one great
time, and missed your chance to be part of the Club's history.
Where do I start? Well, I guess some numbers are as good a starting point as any. Overall, we had 1,028 guests who went
through 49 half barrels of beer (a new record, beer wise that is). Members were present from Belgium, England, Switzerland,
Canada, and Puerto Rico, as well as nearly every state in the Union. According to our hospitality room late shift monitor
Mark Newell the average time of members calling it quits was 5:30 AM. True to form our chapter closed it up on Thursday night
after a long shootout with the Belgians, which may have been regretted Friday morning. Closer to home, 11 of the 14 Wisconsin
chapters were represented.
After the bedlam that was Sunday registration, most of our guests had arrived and were suitably wowed by the hospitality
suite. The Crystal Ballroom was elegant, spacious, and well stocked with six beer stations dispensing Miller products, Coors
Blue Moon beer, and a different specialty beer from Lakefront Brewery every night. John Karlovich provided great background
music and hospitality suite Chairman Chuck Homa made sure our guests were well pampered and stayed hydrated. Ride Captain
Pete Simet led an overbooked tour of members down to Lake Geneva for dinner and an evening boat tour, which received rave
|Remember to smile!
Let's move on to Monday, which was a day of business meetings. As chapter president, I was our voice in the Board of Governor's
meeting that morning. I'll give you some very quick highlights from this meeting: we're going to Owensboro, KY for the 2009
International (KY II bid unopposed). ILL I (Peoria) is now accepting registrations and hotel reservations for the 2008 International;
see their web site for all the particulars. There was lengthy discussion regarding changes to the bylaws regarding Silver
Tier membership, with John Gericke introducing a proposal that cleaned up some ambiguous wording of the current bylaws. Past
International President Frank Gennari raised his concerns over members not wearing the official blue vests and our continued
classification as "outlaws". FYI: our being considered "outlaws" is based more on having a three-piece
patch and less on the vest it's affixed to. It's also an issue of image. Don't act like a 1% biker and you won't be considered
I missed out on the Monday General Membership meeting to run the poker walk along our Riverwalk. 180 people decided to
blow off the General Membership meeting and head out to explore downtown Milwaukee. The winning hand of four 10's netted
a top prize of $150 to a woman who knew nothing about poker! A special thanks to Carl "Wacko" Karwacki and my sis
Debbie Koehn for helping me out as poker dealers. The poker walk had an unfortunate incident, however. George Krug of CO
III suffered a heart attack while doing the walk. Fortunately, he collapsed in front of an MPD motor officer, who radioed
for assistance immediately. George was at Mt. Sinai in minutes and a stent was inserted to open the blockage. George was
back on his feet and back in the hospitality suite by Thursday night! The hat was passed Monday night, at nearly $1,300 was
raised to give to George to fly home while I baby sit his BMW.
Tuesday was organized ride day, with WI II (Watertown) leading a ride to Holy Hill, and WI XI (Racine/Kenosha) leading
a ride to the Buell plant. Both rides were overwhelming successes. Not to be rivaled, our chapter put on a rustic road ride,
which was well attended and equally raved about. Due to the potential of rain that day the cookout was moved indoors, which
made for some tight quarters in the Crystal Ballroom. Later, Nashville recording artist Jim "Harley" Hudson had
the place rocking, playing until nearly 2 AM.
Wednesday had a number of members heading up to Green Bay with the members of WI X to tour Lambeau Field. Those who didn't
want to make the long drive were treated to a scenic ride to the Lake Country courtesy of WI VI. The day culminated with
a tour of the Harley Davidson power train plant and a block party at Milwaukee HD. Then it was back to the Hilton for more
socializing and partying.