WRAPUP: L.A.T.E. Ride volunteers were treated to an extra special last minute suprise from MINIUSA.. They were able to pick up a MINI convertible on Friday evening and keep it through the entire weekend. Club Treasurer Francis was already planning on volunteering to drive a chase vehicle during the event, and decided to do an extra stint at the MINI exhibit. Photos and recap are from Francis:
The weekend starts easy enough. I pick-up my Horizon Blue Cabrio from Patrick MINI after work Friday and drove it home (top-down of course). The latest version of the Cabrio is pretty neat. But I’ll need a longer test drive before I turn my car in for a new one.
I arrive at Buckingham Fountain for the LATE Ride at 9pm SAT night and park the Cabrio behind the main stage to be displayed for the entire event. I’m able to display my small-car parking skills for the crowd 😉 We walk over to the MINI tent and start putting the goodie bags together for the hundreds of LATE Ride riders yet to arrive. The night was better then perfect. The Fountain was still lit up when we arrived and the moon was low and red in the night sky.
I spent a couple of hours putting together goodie bags, setting up the banners for the display cars and talking MINI to many event-goers. The best part was being able to hang out with all of the people from MINI. They treated me like one of the MINI Team and I made sure to tell them that they’re all welcome to attend any of our club events. I saw a few friends who were particpating in the Ride and even got a visit from Anthony from MKE MINIs (snappy dresser if I do say so!).
At about 12:30 am, I walked over to the staging area to begin my second duty of the night – driving a support van for the LATE Ride. Along Balbo, all of the MINIs were lined up and ready to be a part of the ride. A MINI Cabrio led each wave of riders onto the route. It was quite a sight to see several thousand bike riders taking off with a MINI in the lead. I followed the 3rd wave of riders. I was able to see the sunrise over the lake. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a sunrise along Lake Michigan.
Special thanks to Michelle Savoy, Central Region Market Coordinator for extending the invite to our club! It’s great to know CMMC is recognized by MINI USA. It was nice getting reacquainted with Jeff Bruns (and Mrs Bruns) Regional Business Development Manager. We last met at MTTS last year at the Zoo and Ridemakerz. I want to thank the following people who also made the night enjoyable: Broderick McKinney – Area Manager, thanks for the warm welcome; Erik Uppman from BSSP; Justin Smith (MINI Intern) I’d intern for MINI! Also to Dustin Krause – Sales Manager (Bill Jacobs MINI) and his crew of MA’s – Maria, Steven and Rachel. We even had someone from WXRT in the tent as well.
All in all, it was a good night. LATE Ride and MINI… oh yeah, I did bring the MINI cabrio back on Monday. The top never went up the entire time I had it!!
They will have an exhibit with several MINIs and have asked the Chicago MINI Motoring Club for any interested Ambassadors to volunteer some time and share their MINI experience with event participants and their families. You will have full access to a display car and be asked to answer any questions people may have about the car or MINIs in general. The time commitment is tentatively set to be 9pm to 12am, and volunteers are welcome to stay as long as they like.
An additional perk is that if you would like to participate in the bike ride, your entry fee costs will be covered!!
If you are interested, please add a comment to this post or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you in contact with MINIUSA.