3S National Gathering

From 3SI Wiki

The History of the 3/S National Gathering Written by TiffanyG, edited by JeremyG August 2007

It all started at the DSM Shootout in August, 2001. JeremyG and TiffanyG had just purchased a 1991 Pearl White Dodge Stealth in July and were attending their first car event ever. After a short amount of time they had met with many other 3/S owners including XWing, Hans91GT, Trevor, RacerX, Dave Best, 3SX (now 3sx Performance), Matt Monett, Eric Bowden (SUTHNR), and several others. A conversation started about gatherings, Eric told Jeremy about the East Coast Gathering and Jeremy mentioned how cool it would be to have a national event just for 3/S cars and have many racing events, a car show, etc. The idea would be to find a “Best All Around” 3/S car. Eric wished Jeremy luck.

Several months later, a thread started on 3si discussing a national car event and how awesome it would be to have one just for 3/S cars. A month or had past, many people voiced their opinions, thoughts, etc. but no one had volunteered to take on the job. After giving it more consideration and several weeks of persuasion and discussions, Jeremy talked Tiffany into giving it a try. The only rule that made was that the event had to be held in their home town to make this undertaking less work and not as much of a risk. He made a post on the thread asking if anyone minded him making this dream a reality. After no objections the 3/S National Gathering was on its way of becoming real.

This was all new territory to both of them. Both new to the community, only having the opportunity to meet the few 3/S owners that were at the DSM Shootout, and never attending a 3/S gathering, they had no idea what to expect or how many might attend. They were hoping to be able to get at least 50 cars show up.

After they announced their plans and had set dates, much to their surprise it ended up being a huge conversation piece on the board. Several people stepped up to help; people who they had never met. Matt Saskin, a 17 year old from California was one of those. He designed the website and registration form. He made the drive from California and arrived several days early to help with the final steps. Without Matt’s help, the first National Gathering would have been very difficult for Jeremy and Tiffany to pull off.

August 9, 2002 had arrived, the small town of Elkhart was in awe as 186 Dodge Stealth and Mitsubishi 3000 GT’s invaded this small town. This was such an amazing sight! Never before had this many 3/S cars been together in the United States. Although the event didn’t go 100% smooth-- registration was a disaster, all the events started late, and they were way too many events scheduled in such a short amount of time, it was still the talk of the town and the 3/S community for the next several months.

On the final day at the banquet it was announced that the 2003 National Gathering would be held in Saint Louis, MO. The local chapter was to plan and run the event with guidance from Jeremy and Tiffany anytime they needed it. The event was well planned and they had made many improvements to the event. It was considered a success and fun was had by all. The event was changed to 5 days so all events could be more enjoyable. The NG was also taken to the next level by having the events held at Gateway National Park. Having the events at a nationally known track set a new standard for all future locations. The event ended up hosting 183 cars.

Although the event was a success, after a meeting with the sponsors, a decision was made that the only way this event could be a total success in the future was if a committee was founded and the same people ran the event year after year. After being asked by the sponsors, Jeremy and Tiffany decided to continue planning the event with the help of a committee. They asked John Monnin and Alan Sheffield to help them form the first National Gathering Committee. This meeting shaped the future expectations of the National Gathering.

The 4 of them spent the first couple of months discussing what changes needed to be made to make this event a “national” event that could be admired by all car groups. They came up with the decision that 2004 would be held in Indianapolis, the racing capital of the world, July 14-18. Many plans were made to make this new location much bigger and better than ever.

All the racing events we held at Indianapolis Raceway Park. A special behind the scenes tour of Indianapolis Motor Speedway was also added to the year’s activities. This included special tours of the entire track, press box, etc. We also made arrangements for the “Official Car” of the 1991 Indy 500 (the Yellow Dodge Stealth) to be brought out on display so everyone was able to see the car that had been in storage for many years. The event was a huge success and to this day is considered to be the best 3/S National Gathering ever. The event also broke a new record with 198 cars.

Due to the success of the event and with only major problem being Mother Nature bringing rain during the drag races, the committee was comfortable with moving the event further away from home. They made the decision shortly after the end of NG04 to move the event to Memphis, TN. The dates were chosen and locations and official hotel were set but due to circumstances out of their control, this location could not happen. This information came extremely late in the planning process. A new location had to be found as soon as possible. After contacting a few other locations the committee decided to move closer to home in Michigan, but utilize a nicer drag strip. That is how Saint Joseph came about.

The 2005 event was designed to be more of a social setting, and “getting back to basics” while still keeping the racing events high-quality locations. It was also decided to move the car show to the beach and turn the banquet into a picnic at a park instead of at a banquet hall. As the planning was happening Jeremy and Tiffany decided this would be their last event. The event was planned and ended up being a record setting year both on and off the tracks. The car show at the beach was a huge success and enjoyed by all!

Also, a milestone of NG05 was Jeremy’s dream of crowning a “Best Overall 3/S” was also added as a competition. This ended up being the largest event to date with 234 cars!

Following the 2005 National Gathering, and for the first time ever, no future plans were made for the National Gathering. A thread was made on 3si asking if anyone was interested in taking over the event. Hundreds of posts and several months later, no one stepped up. Jeremy and Tiffany decided instead of letting this event just die, they would do one more year but it would have to be their last. The only stipulation was the event would have to be held again in Saint Joe. John also had announced this would also be his final year on the committee as well. Alan decided to stay on and help form a new committee to ensure the event would continue. During the planning of this event, a new committee was also being founded.

The 2006 National Gathering had 183 cars. All events ran with no rain for the first time since the first National Gathering. The new committee and location was announced at the banquet. Because of the difficulty of planning and running a “first” event (for the new Committee), the new committee decided to keep the event in Michigan for one last year. The new committee would consist of 5 people, Josh from Ohio, Alan and Lori from Michigan, Christy from Georgia, and Peggy from Colorado.

The 2007 National Gathering has since happened and is in the history book. No official attendance numbers have been released but as far as we can tell, the event was enjoyed by all.

In the past 6 years,, the 3/S National Gathering has hosted over 1000 3/S car’s. Close to 45 of the states have been represented and many world records have been broken. The event has help shape current 3/S gatherings and has also helped make many new friends throughout the years.