Those of us in the Mustang Club of America who are working to organize and host the Celebration have been reading the blogs and talking to many Mustang enthusiasts and Mustang organizations. We want everyone to know that we’re taking into account what is being said and working that information into our plans. When we took this task on, we knew it would be impossible to make everyone 100% happy. What we all need to realize and not lose sight of is that there will be a great deal for everyone to enjoy in connection to the Mustang’s 50th year. Everything may not go exactly as we each think it should, but we can’t let that be a reason for us not to enjoy this historic Celebration to it’s fullest.
As I write this update, there are literally hundreds of decisions that are waiting to be made that will spawn ideas that are yet to be thought of. These decisions lead to ideas. The ideas are turned into plans. And the plans are turned into reality. There’s the tricky part. We all know that not all ideas will make it to reality. Therefore, we have to be very careful as to what information we release and when we release it. As the Executive Director of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration, I will try my best to keep you up dated with the most current and correct information as possible. Be sure to check the MCA website for all the current information on a regular basis. Here are several things that are being discussed and asked about right now that we can bring everyone up to date on.
Who Can Attend the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration? The Mustang Club of America is honored to be hosting the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration and is dedicated to making sure that all Mustang enthusiasts, vendors and supporters of the Mustang, all past, present and future models, have a place at the Celebration. Also, that everyone is welcome, even people who are not Mustang owners but who may have another Ford connection. With that thought, although we would really appreciate you becoming an MCA member or a sponsor of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration, to attend, bring your Mustang or participate in any of the planned events, you will not have to be an MCA member. All clubs and groups associated with the Ford Mustang will be welcomed. However, there may be some special events put on by different clubs or groups in attendance that may require your membership in their club or organization to participate in their portion of the Celebration.
Why Two Locations Instead of Just One? When the Mustang Club of America took on the responsibility of hosting the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration, one of the things everyone wanted was for as many Mustang enthusiasts, clubs, vendors and organizations as possible to be able to attend and celebrate this once in a lifetime event. Since the past Mustang Anniversary Shows had all been held in the east, this made involvement from enthusiasts and other people and organizations in the west very expensive; both in travel cost and travel time. Also, many Mustang enthusiasts from the west wanted their Mustang to be at the Celebration and it just wasn’t possible. Because of this, many Mustang enthusiasts and others felt left out of the past Mustang Anniversary Shows. When the MCA started looking at how best to serve all Mustang enthusiasts and everyone associated with the Ford Mustang, we looked long and hard at having a single Celebration in the center of the United States. We concluded that doing that would only keep a lot of enthusiasts from the east away and wouldn’t be enough of a change to encourage many enthusiasts from the west to attend. We also looked at holding one Celebration in the west but that would put those from the east in the same position as we were trying to correct for those enthusiasts from the west. Therefore, the two show Celebration was adopted because it was the best way we could see to encourage as many enthusiasts to attend. We hope that will include you and your many Mustang friends!
What Are the Official Dates of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration? The official dates of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration will be Wednesday, April 15th to Sunday, April 20th, 2014. There will be other days that will be a part of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration such as the Pony Drives which will start the week before the Celebration. Also, vendor set up and tear down are not included in the official dates. See below for all the details.
Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration Pony Drives: Before I talk about the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration’s Pony Drives, let me say this. If you are wanting to go from your home to the closest Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration location but want to travel with other Mustang enthusiasts, be sure to check with the local Mustang clubs in your area. Many of them will be putting together caravans to both locations the week of the 50th Celebration. You can meet with them and travel as a part of their group. If, on the other hand, you’re wanting the full experience of driving on a Pony Drive for a longer distance with other Mustang enthusiasts and attending many different shows and meets along the way, then the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration’s Pony Drives are designed for you! So read on.
The beginning of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration will be the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration’s Pony Drives. The Pony Drives will be cross-country driving events which will take place the week before the official dates of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration. Over the past few years, organizations such as The Great American Pony Drive (which is a Mustang Club of America chartered driving club), Mustangs Across America and Mustangs In Motion have all promoted, organized and executed Mustang driving events to the past Mustang Anniversary Shows. These driving organization’s events start out small but arrive with hundreds of Mustangs and their owners who are ready to party at the Celebrations. The fact that these driving organizations have been so successful and that so many enthusiasts today are talking about what’s going to happen with them in connection with the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration shows that we have to be sure to include this type of driving activity as a part of the Celebration. That’s exactly what the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration Pony Drives will do.
For those of you who are new to this concept, many Mustang owners would love to drive their Mustang to one of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration locations but would not feel comfortable doing so without traveling with other enthusiasts who are going to the same places that they are and that they know could and would help out in case of a problem. That’s where our Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration Pony Drives come into play. Whether you live 100 miles or 3,000 miles away from the location where you want to attend the Celebration, you will be able to hook up and drive your Mustang to that location with many other Mustang owners and enthusiasts. Many of the people who have been on these trips have said that it’s a once in a lifetime experience that they will be doing again and again and again, if they’re able to! My wife and I have been on the last three and understand exactly what they are saying. From the time I was appointed as the Executive Director of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration, I knew the Celebration had to include Pony Drives. So we’ve been working on this plan for almost a year. Here are the details as they stand today.
The week before the start of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration, we are planning a huge Mustang Pony Drive to bring everyone who participates in it together at a location near Mustang, Oklahoma. The actual location, hotels, events and hundreds other details are still being finalized and everything will be reported in a future update. Mustang is just a few miles south of Oklahoma City so I’ll use it as a reference point for this update. This will be the place where all of the enthusiasts who participate in the Pony Drives will come together for the weekend and will be the kick off party of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration!
Getting there will be a lot of fun. The way the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration Pony Drives will work is that during the week of April 5th, 2014, several different Pony Drives will leave many cities such as Seattle, Boston and Miami which are the furthest from Mustang, Oklahoma. Everyone will travel a planned route with hotels and evening Mustang displays planned in advance so everyone will know where they are going to be each night. Again, these details are still being planned and worked out and will be reported in a future update. Working with the local Mustang clubs, Ford Dealers and other Mustang related businesses and organizations, the Pony Drives will drive approximately 300 to 450 miles a day, picking up other groups of enthusiasts along the way.
As an example, leaving Seattle there may only be a few Mustangs. But, as they come through Oregon and central California, more and more Mustangs will join the Pony Drive. Some of these Mustangs will be going all the way to Mustang, Oklahoma. Some will just want to drive with the group for a couple of hundred miles and then return home. By the time they reach Mustang, there will be hundreds of Mustangs traveling together in each group.
This will give the enthusiasts from the east a very unique opportunity. Since the past Mustang Anniversary Shows have all been held in the east, only Mustang enthusiasts driving from the west have been able to get the full benefit of these cross-country drives. But for the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration, we will be encouraging Mustang enthusiasts from both the east and the west to take part in the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration Pony Drives. That’s one reason we are going to Oklahoma. By having our Pony Drives end up in the center of the country, we will have Mustang enthusiasts from all over the world coming together in one place for a huge Mustang gathering. Afterward, on Monday April 13th, everyone will leave and continue on to the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration at the location that best suits them.
Both Charlotte and Las Vegas are right at 1,100 miles from Mustang, Oklahoma. Driving around 375 miles per day, the Pony Drives will travel Monday, Tuesday and arrive on Wednesday afternoon. This gives everyone several choices. Enthusiasts from the east may want to go to Las Vegas and people from the west may want to go on to Charlotte. Or, they can go back to the Celebration that is closest to their home. That way they will only be a lot closer to home when the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration is over. The choice will be all theirs.
We hope you will take advantage of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration Pony Drives. As I said above, when you’re on one of these types of driving cross-country driving events with hundreds of other Mustangs, besides the “cool” factor of being a part of such a large group of Mustangs, you can’t help but to meet people and make life long friends. You have experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Everyone I’ve talked to who has participated in one of these drives in the past says the exact same thing. We hope that many of you reading this will stop, think about it, and really consider adding this as a part of your Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration experience. The extra time it will take will be well worth the time spent. Again, more details, along with hotels, stops and shows along the way, will be forthcoming.
As an added note, David Turnbull of The Great American Pony Drive is already putting together a run from Jacksonville, Florida to Oklahoma and then on to Charlotte. For more information, go to www.ponydrive.us. We hope other organizations such as Mustangs Across America and any new driving groups will also join us and put their own run together.
Schedule of Events:
• Tuesday, April 15th – Admission to the track for vendors to be able to get their displays in place and set up. MCA will set up our booth and be ready for registration for the next day. No planned activities for this day and no admission for spectators.
• Wednesday, April 16th – This day will be the first official day of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration. Vendors will be ready to sell. We will encourage the Pony Drives to plan a late morning or early afternoon arrival and provide them with a place that they can all gather before going their separate ways. We will encourage all vendors to be open for business as there will be enthusiasts arriving by the hour.
• Thursday, April 17th – As April 17th, 1964 is accepted as the birthday of the Ford Mustang, this will be the actual 50th birthday of the Mustang! We will have the Opening Ceremonies followed by a host of activities that are still to be planned. At some point during the day, we will have a birthday party, complete with birthday cake and the singing of Happy Birthday to the Mustang. Various clubs will have activities that they are responsible for including Pony Trails around the local areas and other Mustang related events. Today, this schedule is incomplete but the emphasis will be on the celebration of the Mustang’s 50th birthday. Possible on track activities, parade laps and other driving activities will also be happening.
• Friday, April 18th – The event will be in full swing. There will be track events such as road racing, drag racing and parade laps. Other activities will be detailed in forth coming press releases. There will be displays of Mustangs and by Mustang groups, vendors to buy parts, cars, shirts from and many other things to keep Mustang enthusiasts happy and entertained. Friday evening, we will have a themed dinner with some form of entertainment as yet to be determined.
• Saturday, April 19th – More of the same format as on Friday. Saturday evening we will have the Saturday Night Banquet. This will be the big social event of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration and will include guest speakers and entertainment, as yet to be determined.
• Sunday, April 20th – Sunday will be the last day of the event but there will be scheduled activities that will be presented later. First thing Sunday morning there will be Easter Sunrise Services held at both tracks. The Reverend Michael Finn of Columbus, Georgia will conduct the service in Charlotte. Michael has officiated at Anniversary events for many years and we welcome him back. We are still seeking someone to conduct the services at Las Vegas but ample time remains for this. In the afternoon, we will have the Closing Ceremonies.
• Monday, April 21st – There will be no planned activities. Monday will be set aside just for teardown and removal of all of the vendor displays and removal of vehicles.
MCA’s commitment level to making the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration the “Super Bowl” of all Mustang car shows is extremely high. I hope everyone realizes this and feels the same way we do. We will be making monthly press releases that you can follow by coming back to the MCA website at www.mustang.org.
Keep in mind that there’s always going to be information that’s not ready to share with everybody and here’s why. The worst thing that we can do is to put out information that is not factual. If we have something in the planning stages and make that information available to everyone, it becomes accepted as fact. If that plan falls through and doesn’t become something that will happen with or at the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration, it could adversely effect many people. In view of that, we will try our best to only report things that we have total confidence in that are going to happen.
I would also encourage you to come back to the MCA website and keep up with what we report. If something happens and we have to make a change, we will let you know there, first. I would also encourage everyone to contact us through the proper channels before going online and putting into print things that are not, or may not be, correct. We will do our best to be as open and honest as possible so that you can discuss everything freely from a correct perspective and on target.
If you have a question, please feel free to ask. I thank all of you for your interest in the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration.
MCA Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration