Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 11, 2012

I knew I was at the right place when I rolled into the parking lot of the Clarion Inn in Waldorf, Maryland. Mustangs of every make, model, and year filled nearly every space, some two spaces as buckets and towels were spread out while owners took care of final detailing. Yes, I had found the headquarters hotel for the Mustang Club of America's 2011 Grand National show, dubbed "Mustangs and Monuments" by our hosts, the National Capitol Region Mustang Club thanks to the close proximity to Washington, D.C.

When it comes to national shows, the MCA has the right idea. First, the world's largest national--well, actually international--club has done a great job of shedding its southeastern roots by staging its national shows all around the country. And secondly, perhaps most importantly, many of the shows are located in places that people like to visit. And what's better for an all-American car like the Mustang than Washington, D.C. on Labor Day weekend?

It sure got my wife's attention. As someone who picks and chooses her opportunities to travel with her husband to Mustang shows, Pam targeted the Mustangs and Monuments show right away. And we took advantage of the Maryland location by commuting into D.C. for a Friday sightseeing adventure in the nation's capitol. Of course, you need more than a day to take in all the attractions on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Capitol itself, but we made the best of our time with visits to several sections of the Smithsonian and the Botanical Gardens. It was worth the trip just to see Archie Bunker's chair and hat.

By the time we arrived back at the Clarion, it was obvious that the parking lot and Damon's restaurant, conveniently attached to the hotel, had become the unofficial gathering spots for the show. While many continued to prepare their Mustangs for the following day's show, others made their way to the show site at the Regency Furniture Stadium for the Friday afternoon social and cruise to Maryland International Raceway for an evening of drag racing.

A baseball stadium seems an unlikely spot for a national Mustang show. However, in this case, the home of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs minor league baseball team proved an ideal location with its large parking area and amenities inside, including a mezzanine that not only provided food and ice cream but also welcomed shade from the still warm early September weather.

Saturday's show attracted nearly 500 of the country's best Mustangs, old and new, for MCA judging and awards. It was an impressive gathering, overall one of the best I've ever seen, with representation from every Mustang era and almost every Mustang model year.

So hats off to the National Capitol Region Mustang Club for a Grand National well-done. They hit this one out of the park.

Nationals Past

Instead of a big celebration event in these uncertain economic times, the MCA decided to celebrate its 35th anniversary at each of 2011's national events, culminating with the Grand National. That made it an even bigger honor when Grand National chairman David Newcome asked if I would be the guest speaker at the Saturday night banquet. It seemed appropriate to talk about the history of the MCA, so I dug into my old black and white negatives for a look at national events from the early days of the MCA. Here's a sampling.

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