2022 Checker Car Club Convention

by Jim Garrison 

     Winter isn’t usually a time when we think about car shows.  However, it is the time for those who plan such events to consider what will be done and how to accomplish it.  2022 will be the 100th anniversary of the founding of Checker Motors, and we are planning a big event for all Checker enthusiasts.  It will take place from August 3 through August 6 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The Host Committee for this event met recently to discuss what we will do, and we are confident that it will be enjoyed by all who attend.  

     Accommodations will be at the Delta/Marriott Kalamazoo (formerly Holiday Inn West, where we have been before).  It is a fine facility, recently renovated, with all the features needed for a convention, including a hospitality room, a banquet room, ample parking and other amenities.  In searching around, I found that all motels have raised their rates from pre-covid levels.  We will have a 20% discount on the room rate, which brought the room/night to $134 (plus 11% state tax and fees for a total of $149 per night).  Delta in Kalamazoo can be reached at (269) 375-6000 to make reservations and answer questions.  The CCCoA has 55 rooms reserved.  When you call you will need to identify yourself as a member of the Checker Car Club to receive the discount, and membership will be checked.  There is a restaurant and a bar at the hotel, and there are several nice eateries nearby for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This is a very busy time of year in Kalamazoo with tennis tournaments, soccer tournaments, big car shows, and other special events.  

     Wednesday is when most folks are likely to arrive.  There will be time to unpack and get situated.  Packages will be waiting for attendees in the hospitality room.  The Gilmore Car Museum has Wednesday Night Cruise In during the evening from about 5:00pm until around 9:00pm,.  Hundreds of classic cars and street rods come to enjoy the museum grounds, and of course, Checkers are specifically invited. 

     On Thursday morning, we would like you to enjoy the Kalamazoo Air Zoo where some of America’s aviation history is presented in wonderful ways.  Two buildings show special planes, and there are displays of our space program as well.  We hope,  again, to be able to do a tour of Bell’s Brewery here in Kalamazoo.  It will be nice to see how their beer is made and enjoy a hearty lunch as well.  We also hope to arrange a parts sale for later in the afternoon.  We’ll see how that works out.  

     Friday will bring us again to a very special place in South/West Michigan.  The Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is an amazing place to enjoy inspired art and sculpture, along with beautiful landscaping and botanical displays.  Outstanding art from around the world await at the Frederic Meijer Gardens.  In the evening, from 7:30pm until 9:00pm, we will hold our CCCoA Board of Directors and Members meeting.  There are always relevant matters to discuss.  

     Saturday is the big day.  Starting early, at around 7:30am, we depart for the Gilmore Car Museum.  We will find our special place where Checkers will be the featured marquee at the Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club’s annual Red Barn Spectacular car show.  It is a huge event with several hundred cars and thousands of visitors.  The Gilmore is planning to exhibit several rare old Checkers along with “newer” models in their History of Checker Motors display presented in the Carriage Barn.  We are hoping to make this the best-ever gathering of Checker vehicles.  Checker helped put Kalamazoo on the map, and we want to show the community the best of what they did.  It will be a proud showing for all Checker car enthusiasts.  Most participants leave the Gilmore around 4:00pm.  In the evening, we will have our banquet at the Delta convention center for members and attendees.  The banquet begins with a social hour around 6:00pm, followed by dinner and awards at 7:00pm until 9:00, and then a silent auction where there are always special items.  The official event will end at 10:00pm, but the after-party usually goes past midnight.  It is one of the best parts of our convention every year.  

     On Sunday, most of us will sleep in, get breakfast, pack up, bid farewell and depart. 

     This 100th anniversary is a significant milestone in the history of Checker Motors.  We are hoping to invite local and national media to our event.  Two local TV channels and the Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper will be there, and we expect other classic car media to show interest as well.  We want to make all Checker owners and enthusiasts, along with the Kalamazoo community, proud.    

     Now is a good time for all Checker lovers to mark their calendars for the first week of August.  As a club member you will be able to save money on room rates and enjoy other benefits.  It is a great opportunity to meet with other Checker owners who appreciate the vehicles and history of Checker Motors.  Start thinking about any repairs or upgrades you need to make on your cars so that you can make it to this special show.  The best part is always sharing our experiences with other Checker owners.  Come and be a part of it.  You will be glad you did.