History of the Club
Rocky Mountain Oldsmobile Club
Club History written by
Wlibur Harr, one of the
founding members of our
club.
By Wilbur Harr

The Rocky Mountain Oldsmobile Club (RMOC) started in the early 1980’s as
a casual gathering of old car buffs and has now grown into an organization
with well over ­­80 members. Here is a sampling of the Club’s history.

On August 5, 1979, Mike Watson, Bernie Steinberg, and Dick Belgard placed
an ad in the Denver Post, inviting anyone interested in 1950’s Oldsmobiles to
meet at Cranmer Park in Denver to socialize (talk cars and eat) at a picnic.  
Sixteen Oldsmobile were at this first get-together. They ranged in years from
1951 to 1960.

In early 1980, arrangements were made with the Jim Blum Oldsmobile
Dealership in southeast Denver, where Oldsmobile enthusiasts could meet
once a month in the service bay area.  With Jim’s assistance, the first
meeting of the Rocky Mountain Oldsmobile Club was held.

On July 26, 1980, a notice was placed in the Rocky Mountain News for a car
show and picnic, which would be held on August 10, 1980. The picnic was a
great success, with 34 Oldsmobiles ranging in years from the 1930’s through
1980.

From this picnic, an organizational committee was formed and on September
13, 1980, the Rocky Mountain Oldsmobile Chapter emerged.  Bernie
Steinberg was the acting chairman and he volunteered to compile the bylaws
for the Club.  Since Bernie had legal background as an attorney the Club
members felt the bylaws would be in capable hands.

In March 1981, the following officers were elected:

  Chairman:------------------Bernie Steinberg

 Vice Chair:-----------------Mike Watson

 Secretary:-------------------Dave Penrose

 Treasurer:-------------------Mark Ellingson

 Membership:---------------Dick Belgard

 Activities & Publicity:----Wilbur Harr & Jim Blum

 Telephone Committee:----Gordon Hammer

 Librarian:--------------------Ron Witt

The Club newsletter, The Rocky Mountain Olds Chapter News, was
established in February of 1981 with Dick Belgard as acting editor.

The Oldsmobile Club of America, founded in 1970, required a local Chapter
to have at least 25 members before a local club charter could be issued.  
This would be achieved and by late 1981, RMOC received its charter.

After sponsoring two Show-n-Shines and increasing membership, the RMOC
members needed to seek better meeting accommodations than what was
available in the service area at Jim Blum Oldsmobile. Without Mr. Blum’s
assistance, the Club would not have had a regular meeting place in its early
days. His generosity was greatly appreciated.

RMOC member Steve Dowson, owner of Empire Oldsmobile located on East
Colfax in Denver was asked if he would consider sponsoring the Club at his
dealership that had a larger facility to accommodate the increase in club
members if the Club would approve the move.  The suggestion was
presented to Club members and was unanimously approved.

The Club’s very first door prize was presented during that first meeting at
Empire Olds.  It was an Omega Front Runner t-shirt, won by Irma Harr.

Early on, the Club’s Treasurer reported less than $200.00 available in the
checking account.  The members decided to raffle off a 1910 Oldsmobile
decanter to help increase the club treasury.  Dave Penrose and his wife were
the lucky recipients of the decanter.

Another fundraiser of the time was the design and  printing of the first club T-
shirt that sold for $5.00 each.  The price was increased to $6.00 to help build
the Club treasury while dues remained at $10.00 per person per year.

One of the first Club activities that came about happened when the local
Chevy Club extended an invitation to join them at their ‘50’s style Sock Hop.  
RMOC members dressed for the occasion and had a great time.  Our own
Dick and Diane Belgard won a “best dressed” prize!

On August 16, 1981, Empire Oldsmobile hosted the Show-n-Shine at their
main dealership, where Steve displayed his restored 1902 Curved-Dash
Oldsmobile.  Many automotive years were represented at this show.  Steve
and Empire Oldsmobile hosted a Show-n-Shine in 1982 and 1983.  The
shows were so successful that they outgrew the new car parking lot, so the
event was moved across the street to the used car lot to accommodate
everyone.

In 1983, Club member Mike Nastly, suggested we meet on the second
Saturday of the even-numbered months at 10:00 a.m. and on the second
Tuesday of the odd-numbered months at 7:30 p.m.  This schedule is still in
place today.  

Over the years the Club has had many outings, including the Greeley
Stampede Days parade, the Heritage Square Swap Meet, the Rocket Rally, a
Picture Tour in Longmont and touring the local General Motors training center
just to name a few.  With all of these events, people learned about the Olds
Club and new members wanted to join.  From 1982 to 1986 there were
between 80 to 92 members on the Club’s roster.

Club activities continued, including touring the Holy Cross Abbey in Canon
City, the Gold Rush Days in Idaho Springs, NORAD in Colorado Springs, the
yearly Old Car Council car show and swap meet, and multiple mixed GM
picnics.

The last Show-n-Shine held at Empire Olds was commemorated by the
beautiful trophies, hand made by our own talented member Cecil Dent.

In 1987 our Club met up with a California Olds chapter as well as a chapter
from the Puget Sound, WA. area, in North Platte, Nebraska, and  began an
exciting caravan  into Lansing Michigan to celebrate the 90th anniversary of
Oldsmobile.

In 1988, Club President Al Russell noticed a large portion of the membership
lived in the north metro area. Member Larry Ruppel took on the responsibility
to make the sure the Club had a suitable northern location for the monthly
meetings to accommodate the growing membership.  To this day, the
meetings are still held at the Community room in the Arvada Police station.

Club members were interested in hosting a National meet, but were told by
the Oldsmobile Club of America they had to host two regional events before
being considered for national status.  The RMOC hosted a regional meet in
1993 in which 87 cars were in attendance.  A 1927 Oldsmobile from Estes
Park, CO. won Best of Show.  The second regional meet would be held in
1995.

The 100th anniversary celebration of Oldsmobile was held in Lansing,
Michigan and was a memorable event.  Over 2,500 cars were registered.   On
August 21, 1997, RMOC members joined an impressive caravan from
Southern California with Mike Izzo as their trail boss.  There were
approximately 40 cars total when the caravan left Denver in style, with coffee
and TV cameras on hand.  Most cars had CB radios and those without radios
were placed in the middle so the caravan could stay together. This was
especially beneficial when going through Chicago’s toll gates in heavy rain.

In two-and-a-half days, cars were driven approximately 1,350 miles.  Upon
arrival at the Lansing Delta Plant, members were greeted with a luncheon
and after a short time, the cars caravanned up Michigan Avenue to the State
Capital Building.  RMOC member, Glenn Mallory, and his 1958 Olds was one
of the few selected to lead the group.

The citizens of Lansing opened their hearts to the Oldsmobile enthusiasts.
Cars were parked all over the downtown area, grouped primarily by decades
and/or similarity. Some people had the opportunity to take rides in several
1902 and 1904 one cylinder Curved Dash Oldsmobiles in a local parking lot.

One of the highlights of the 100 year celebration was the Grand Finale
Parade held on Michigan Avenue. The parade was open to any running, pre-
War Oldsmobile and post-War years were represented by three, pre-selected
vehicles from each year that Olds owners had submitted ahead of time.  The
parade  announcer stated that this was the largest parade in Lansing since
1958.

The size of the crowd along Michigan Avenue was estimated at around
150,000 people.

Several cars from the RMOC were chosen to participate, which was quite an
honor.

Along with the celebration, 100 specially decorated cakes were displayed
under tents in front of the Capitol building representing each year of car
manufacture for Olds.

The RMOC sponsored its first National meet in 2001at the Denver Marriott
Hotel Convention Center, in the Denver Tech Center.  Dale Terry was the
Chairman of the event with Larry Ruppel as Club President. The enormous
show took the hard work of all of the RMOC members to make this a
successful event.  Once again, our dedicated members pulled off a
successful show.

One of our hard-working members, Al Russel, played a big part in the
success of the event. It had always been a dream of Al’s to host a National
meet and his vision, hard work and support from his wife, Alice, helped make
it possible. Al was very involved in both the RMOC and OCA as local Club
President, Zone Director and he was head of the judging committee at the
RMOC Nationals.  Al had achieved quite a bit with the club before his untimely
passing.

There are still several original charter members still involved with the RMOC.  
That’s dedication!

Finally, in August of 2005, we will begin the next quarter century of the RMOC.  
We look forward to new memories to write about as we see and talk with new
and old members at our 25-year Anniversary celebration.