The River City Corvette Association was conceived as a means for Corvette owners to get together to talk about, trade information, and enjoy Corvettes! This was discussed among local owners and late May 1971. Approximately seven people decided to get together.
The first meeting was at Bill Bergthold’s mobile home with Bill, William Billerbeck, Ron Freitag, Gerald Harvey, Don Mellinger, Terry Walker, and Bob Williams. To be more organized, it was decided to appoint the first officers and adopt some rules before more members woud be solicited.
The first officers were finalized on June 6, 1971 and were as follows: President Ron Freitag, Vice President Bob Williams, Treasurer Gerald Harvey, Secretary Len Billerbeck and Officer at Large Don Mellinger. The officer at large was to prevent a tie in votes. There were many meetings at different people’s homes to work on the rules that eventually were developed into our bylaws. This was work! There were many varying ideas and heated discussions before issues were agreed upon.
It was decided to have a get together at Memorial Auditorium parking lot. To spread the word, everyone put flyers on any Corvette they saw. On a Sunday afternoon late in June 1971, approximately 20 Corvettes assembled at the parking lot. A city police car came and one of the officers, Dan Fidler, owned a Corvette. After they offered a “police escort,” everybody proceeded through downtown out on Mt. Pleasant Street to Roosevelt Avenue, then south to West Avenue and eventually lined up in front of the Crapo Park bandshell. Everyone in Burlington was “all eyes” at this new and unique sight. The enthusiasm this generated really helped get things off the ground.
During the month of July, membership applications were printed and the proposed bylaws written. Ron Freitag, Terry Walker, and Bob Williams designed the club logo, which was printed on membership cards.
To get things decided, there were three meetings in August 1971. At the meeting on August 12, a motion was made to accept the proposed bylaws, with the vote to come on August 26. It also was decided to hold some meetings in the park shelter houses and membership applications were distributed. On August 19, the motion carried that only active members could vote. A petition was presented and accepted for the re-appealment of re-elections. Subsequently,the original officers would remain for the rest of 1971. The bylaws were adopted on August 26, 1971 and the new membership cards distributed. From now on, meetings would be held only once a month, with officers’ meetings called by the president.
Due to a resignation, Jim Ross was elected treasurer at the meeting on September 30.
During October, RCCA had a get together at Lake Argyle with the Glass Menagerie Club from Macomb and a Halloween party.
The November meeting was held on December 2, 1971, at the first permanent meeting place, the Elks Club. On December 11, the first annual Christmas party was held at Steve Ozburn’s house. Due to a lack of members attending the December 30 meeting, the election of officers was postponed until the January meeting. The following people became members of R.C.C.A. during 1971:
Bill Bergthold Jim Bell Richard Howe
Len Billerbeck Steve Ozburn Mike Mellinger
Ron Freitag Bob Kirkpatrick James Chick
Gerald Harvey Randall Danniel Jim Ross
Don Mellinger Joseph Corman John Roberts
*Terry Walker Ron Berg Gill Isles
Bob Williams Patrick Busby Dennis Herman