Author Archives: rgrafer

EGR PCA Celebrates Oktoberfest at Big Blue Brewing in Cape Coral

EGR PCA Celebrates Oktoberfest at Big Blue Brewing

Everglades Region PCA took over the Big Blue Brewing Company for an Oktoberfest party on Sunday October 14, 2018. Members enjoyed the opportunity to get together socially and celebrate all things German: Porsches, polka music, the chicken dance, schnitzel and of course, beer!

Eighty members and guests drove their Porsches to the brewery in downtown Cape Coral. Members traveled from as far south as Naples and as far north at Punta Gorda to attend. Although Cape Coral resident members Steve & Polly Crane didn’t have far to drive, they did enjoy two exciting laps around the new Cape Coral roundabout with vertical side walls. Upon arrival at Big Blue Brewing, our revelers found plenty of coned-off fresh pavement for a little pre-party parking lot car-gazing.

The party started at noon and our group was welcomed with Porsche banners and a plethora of Oktoberfest décor. We started out with small group tours of the brewery given by Big Blue Brewing’s master brewer. Many party-goers tasted the beer and weren’t surprised to learn that the “Lightest Thing Ya Got” cream ale was the winner of “Best Florida Beer 2018.”

The brewery tour was followed by lunch. Big Blue Brewing went all-out offering our club a menu of fabulous Oktoberfest favorites including beer-glazed bratwurst, jaeger schnitzel and Oktoberfest turnovers. Dessert was German chocolate cake.

Dave Noelken, President of the Everglades Region, gave us welcoming remarks. He introduced party-goers Susan and Mark Pelak, who were founding members of our club in 1997. Twenty-one years ago, the club held a contest and asked members to submit logo designs. Mark Pelak submitted his hand-drawn winning logo design: a Porsche 993 with an alligator tail (pictured). The 993 was the hot new 911 at the time. His design was used on the club newsletter “Gator Tales.” Years later, alligator legs were added to Mark’s design to create the version of the logo we still use today. If anyone knows who added the legs, please let Dave Noelken know!

President Dave Noelken took a collection for Hurricane Michael victims and reminded us that last fall our area was the one affected. Members contributed $135 cash on the spot. The Everglades Region matched this amount and sent a check for $270 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Michael victims.

The Oktoberfest festivities included a costume contest judged by applause volume. The winners of the costume contest were Tom and Robin Kring. With a very narrow margin, Gordon Browne and Barbara Carne came in second place. Both leading couples were wearing authentic traditional Oktoberfest garb purchased in Munich. We all enjoyed seeing these men in Lederhosen and the ladies in Dirndls.

Attendees were serenaded by the EGR PCA “Glee Club.” Our singers performed Que Sera Sera. We were all surprised to learn from our North Area Events Organizer Steve Wassersug that Que Sera Sera is on the list of songs that are very popular in

Germany at Oktoberfest. John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High is probably an even more surprising song of choice in Germany.

No Oktoberfest celebration would be complete without polka music and the chicken dance. Steve and Faith Wassersug led the dance sporting some amazing chicken hats. They were joined by dancers Anne Wardlow, Avienne Elverd, Rosa Kim, Caryl Noelken, Gordon Browne and Barbara Carne. Avienne Elverd, the youngest competitor, took home the prize for best chicken dancer.

Sincere thanks to Steve & Faith Wassersug for all the work they put into organizing this function. We also appreciate all of the on-site assistance from Cindy and Tom Stuart, JP and Val Petracco as well as Gee Lopez. Thank you also to Joe and the rest of the staff at Big Blue Brewing for making this day special for the Everglades Region PCA. Danke Viemals!

South Florida Autocross Drivers Tackle Sebring Concrete

South Florida Autocross Drivers Tackle Sebring Concrete

Everglades Region and Gold Coast Region joined forces to host an autocross at Sebring International Raceway on September 15th. Although best known for it’s road course, Sebring frequently serves as a venue for autocross events. For this dual PCA region event, the concrete paddock adjacent to turns 16 and 17 provided a blank canvas for the autocross course designers. Registration was open to Porsche and non-Porsche cars.

On Saturday morning, 35 drivers checked in, entering 19 Porsches and 16 “others”. The day started with a novice school attended by eight drivers including four from Everglades Region. Instructors Tom Kring and Steve Kidd reported school was a hit! Three of the novices are already planning to attend the next GCAC event at Buckingham airfield. Next on the program was the technical inspection, track walk and drivers meeting, the course went hot. With average recorded times in the 27 second range and a well balanced field, most drivers were able to enjoy eight runs in the course of the day.

Quickest raw time of the day was posted by Mike Drake from the Everglades Region driving his 2012 – 911S. Congratulations Mike!

Fast PAX (indexed) time of the day went to Everglades Region member Tom Kring, posting 19.448 seconds in his 2006 – Cayman S. Second was Everglades Region member Mike Drake, posting 19.656 seconds. Steve Kidd from Gold Coast Region was third quickest Porsche, recording 20.448 seconds in his 1989 – 944S2. It was great to have six women competing, with Zsa Zsa Blyden quickest, recording a PAX of 21.046 seconds in her Subaru Impreza WRX.

PAX and raw results for the entire field of 35 drivers can be viewed on the Everglades Region website under Driving Events, then the Autocross tab. Scroll down until you see the blue Autocross Results banner.

If you missed this autocross opportunity, stay tuned for bulletins on upcoming 2018/2019 AX events in the Everglades Region.

Special thanks to Tom Kring and Steve Kidd for pulling this multi-Region event together!

Zone 12 AMCM Charity Event Nov. 10 in Melbourne

Zone 12 AMCM Charity Event

Come out to the American Muscle Car Museum in Melbourne, Florida on Saturday November 10th from 1pm-4pm with all of your Zone 12 friends. This is where Space Coast holds their Autocrosses, but you’ll actually get to go inside to see all the amazing cars, displays and classic automobiles. This is a one-of-a-kind private collection. Your $40 entry (only $15 for kids) includes entry into the museum and a lite lunch and beverages.
Sign up on ClubReg: https://clubregistration.net/events/eventsRegional.cfm/pca/12

AMCM is not open to the public, but they do open on special occasions to host non-profit fundraisers, car activities, and educational tours for school-age children. It’s a 123,000-square-foot complex that houses the personal collection of Mark Pieloch. Mark has been a car enthusiast for over 40 years and has amassed more than 250 cars, ranging from classic 1950s models to 1970s American muscle cars, to every color of Ford GT, to modern “sophisticated” muscle like a 2017 Shelby GT350R, and 14+ of the all-time most collectible Porsches.

Attendance will be limited, and your charity donation will go toward a great cause. The Wabasso School is a special education center serving students ages 5-22. Students are provided specialized instruction, so they can not only achieve academic gains but also increase their social, emotional and behavioral skills. They work to develop communication, daily living, and occupational skills to integrate successfully within their community. Come out and enjoy a boxed lunch with great friends at this amazing facility. We will also have raffles and a 50/50. So don’t miss the fun, and if you haven’t been to this fantastic facility yet it’s a must and don’t forget you’re helping a great cause too.
Visit www.americanmusclecarmuseum.com for more information.

Hotel Options in Melbourne Area:
Hilton Oceanside Hotel in Indian Harbor Beach
– 20 minutes to the car museum
– best hotel on the ocean
– pricing from $ 150 to $ 200 per night

Holiday Inn Express
– brand new hotel, only a few months old
– 7 minutes to the car museum off Exit 180 of I-95
– $ 125 to $ 150 per night
– great free morning breakfast

Fairfield Inn & Suites
– 10 year old hotel in very nice shape
– 6 minutes to the car museum off Exit 180 of I-95
– nice free morning breakfast too.

Summer 2018: Off Season, Schmoff Season

Summer 2018: Off Season, Schmoff Season

Southwest Florida used to be a ghost town with tumbleweeds blowing through over the summer. That’s no longer the case. 67% of Everglades Region PCA members surveyed this year indicated that they now remain in Southwest Florida year round. 2018 has been an active summer for our club.

We kicked it off on June 24 with a party in Goodland hosted by the Branstons at their charming & trendy waterfront fishing trailer. The cloudy day was perfect for an outdoor gathering and our new Everglades Region logo tent provided some shade. The Good Bad Kids were there to perform an eclectic mix of bluegrass and folk music as members socialized and checked out the Porsches lining Palm Avenue. The Jewban’s Delidale food truck was on-site offering tasty Jewish and Cuban cuisine. A super-fun time was had by all at this fun and casual summer get-together. Thanks to Chris and Jenny for hosting our ever-growing group.

As temperatures rose in July, an indoor event with air conditioning seemed like a good idea. We decided to try a wine and painting night out at Vino’s Picasso in Naples on July 20. Vino’s Picasso designed a piece of Porsche-related art for us all to re-create while enjoying appetizers and wine. A teacher walked us through the process step-by-step and a stencil was provided with the outline of the car. No skills were required to create a phenomenal piece of art. Carlo Valvasori created a notably artistic version by adding custom rims to his car. Lots of laughs were had by all and everyone took home a colorful canvas.

For August, Mary Jo and Mike Andrade set up a social lunch meet in Cape Coral at Fin’s Seafood and Dive Bar. Everglades Region PCA members met up at Fin’s for lunch on August 18, with some members electing to get together in advance and cruise en masse from Naples and Fort Myers. With about 60 attendees descending for a noon lunch, Fin’s welcomed us with open arms and did an incredible job of quickly serving us wonderful food from their full menu. The parking lots on either side of the funky tiki-style restaurant were overtaken by our Porsches. Our PCA Zone 12 Rep, Lisa Lewis, even made the trip all the way down from Orlando to join us.

We are looking forward to the return of our seasonal members soon. Next on the agenda is Oktoberfest on Sunday, October 14. If you haven’t registered yet, send in your payment and menu choices today!

Everglades Region PCA Featured in June Panorama Magazine

Everglades Region PCA Featured in June Panorama Magazine

We are pleased to announce that Everglades Region PCA has been featured in the June issue of Panorama Magazine. An article about our Weekend of the Year event in the Keys appears on page 120 in the “From the Regions” section. This the first time our region has appeared in the national magazine. But hopefully not the last! You’ll receive your copy in the mail soon, but an advance copy of the article appears below. Click to expand and read.

Autocross Enthusiasts Take on Buckingham

Autocross Enthusiasts Take On Buckingham

Everglades Region autocross enthusiasts were back in action at Buckingham Airfield on April 29th. 27 entries, including 19 Porsches, tested their driving skills and car capabilities on the challenging Tom-Kring-designed course.

In case you are not familiar with autocross, it’s a driving event in which a car is timed over a course laid out on a paved area and is marked by short, soft road pylons (cones). No passing is allowed and the cars are spread out on the track so as to maintain a safe distance between them. An autocross is often competitive, but is always educational and social.

There are not many requirements to participate in autocross. As a Porsche owner, you already have a car with outstanding performance capabilities. No special modifications or upgrades are necessary to get started in the Stock classes. A technical inspection is required prior to the event with a focus on vehicle safety and you will need an approved safety helmet.

At a typical autocross, you will have an opportunity for five to eight runs on course. Since each run lasts about a minute, your car will be “on track” less than 10 minutes a day. Tires and brakes do get a workout. Caution: this sport can be highly addictive!

Back to the Sunday results, fast time of the day (46.39 Pax) was set by Mike Lawson driving his SSC class, Subaru FRS. Second quickest of the day and number one Porsche was Rad Delgado behind the wheel of his GT3RS, running in the SSP/CSP class (46.428 Pax).

Six of the top seven fast Pax times were set by Porsche pilots. We welcomed three novice drivers who came out for their first taste of autocross. Complete Pax time results can be viewed on this website, click the Driving Events tab and then click Autocross.

Thanks to Porsche of Naples & Porsche of Fort Myers for sponsoring the event. And thanks as always to Gulf Coast Autocrossers for track support, timing and scoring.

Watch for Everglades Region autocross again on our Fall events calendar!

Shiver Me Timbers: EGR PCA Invades the Keys for the 2018 WOTY

Shiver Me Timbers: EGR PCA Invades the Keys for the 2018 WOTY

This past weekend, 86 pirates and wenches applied black eye-liner, grabbed their gold doubloons and hopped in their trusty Porsches to caravan down to the Keys. By all accounts, Jenny and Chris Branston outdid themselves planning the best Weekend of the Year (WOTY) ever.

On April 27 at 9:00 AM, heads were turning in the Michael’s shopping plaza on Collier Blvd, where 43 EGR PCA Porsches met up to kick off the WOTY under an EGR PCA banner that served as our jolly roger flag for the weekend. The mood was jovial as all old salts, scallywags, seadogs and landlubbers joined together to scuttle down towards the Keys along US 41 and back roads.

We took Krome Avenue through scenic farmlands, landscaping nurseries and orchid growers to get to our first stop, the Schnebly Winery & Brewery in Redlands. A light rain didn’t dampen our spirits and we remained dry under the enormous tiki hut for a farm-to-table lunch. Most of us partook in the Schnebly beer on tap or sampled the fabulous and uniquely Florida-style Schnebly wines, including Carambola (Starfruit) and Avovino, the first wine ever made from Florida Avocados.

Fully fortified, we left the Schnebly Winery & Brewery and headed to our next stop, the Coral Castle. Rainy season officially began just as we arrived at the Coral Castle during a teeming monsoon. An informal poll indicated that many members were crying internally at this point, having spent hours detailing their Porsches in preparation for the weekend. Nonetheless, we bravely pressed on, donning rain jackets and carrying umbrellas for a tour of this mysterious labor of love.

We learned that tiny 100-pound Ed Leedskalin spent 28 years building this “castle” (or rather outdoor garden) featuring chairs, a telescope, fountains and a 9-ton gate that moves with the touch of a finger. He built it in the hopes of winning the heart of a woman he loved unrequitedly, but his “castle” failed to win her over and Ed took the secret of how he moved these heavy stones with him to his grave.

From the Coral Castle, pirates and wenches headed south to pillage and plunder our final destination: the Holiday Inn Marathon. We enjoyed fabulous water views and the convenience of the Sparky’s Landing tiki bar at this venue, which also served as the perfect location to explore the Keys over the weekend by heading south down to Key West or north to Islamorada.

Everyone gathered Friday night for a fabulous “Pirates and Wenches” waterfront poolside party with dinner. Thanks to John and Valerie Petracco for using their local Keys contacts to organize the party, including the fabulous food from Irie Island Eats.

EGR PCA members went all-in for the costume contest and many were unrecognizable with wigs and makeup. Costume contest booty winners:

  • Best Pirate: Mark Lowers won for his accurate and authentic Pirate representation. Mark could easily have escaped from the set of Blackbeard’s Ghost or Treasure Island.
  • Best Wench: Steve Wassersug won for his theatrical and of-the-moment Hollywood-style Wench entry complete with #MeToo emblazoned on his vest. Think Cher meets Caitlyn Jenner meets Johnny Depp!Steve Wassersug’s Best Wench Acceptance Speech
  • Best Couple: Tom Stuart and Cyndi Casteel took their costumes in another direction combining Marilyn Mansonesque makeup with rugged pirate fashion. This award should definitely be updated from “Best” to “Most Badass” couple!


After the party wound down, some EGR PCA members remained around the pool to socialize and others walked over to Sparky’s for more drinks and dancing to live music. EGR PCA members managed to convince the band to stay late and closed down the bar.

Saturday was a free day in the Keys. Members were able to choose from a wide array of activities including swimming with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center, snorkeling with Captain Hooks, fishing with Sea Square Charters, kayaking, visiting Islamorada or simply driving down to Key West for some free-style exploration.

Many members chose to drive down to Key West on Saturday in search of the perfect “tacky tourist” gift as well as some entertainment and fresh seafood. Saturday saw a Porsche invasion of Key West; EGR PCA members were spotted at the “Southern-most Point” of the United States, driving up and down Duvall Street and parked in every possible “safe” parking spot on the island.

On Saturday night EGR PCA members all mingled at outside veranda of the Faro Blanco Lighthouse Grill for a beautiful waterside sunset cocktail reception followed by dinner. We enjoyed fabulous food, drinks and festivities. We shared conversation and laughs as we compared our entries into the evening’s “tackiest Keys souvenir” competition. Some of the souvenirs were rather risqué but thankfully all in attendance were over 18 and not easily offended. Photos of these items not included in the interest of public decency.

All duplicate entries were eliminated and the prizes went to an orgasmic chicken, a souvenir toilet emblazoned with “Key West” and a pirate mask complete with facial hair. The winners of this contest prefer to remain anonymous.

The group was serenaded by a group of surprisingly in-tune EGR PCA ladies singing the WOTY theme song to the tune of Gilligan’s Island. The creative and talented Steve Wassersug penned the lyrics and directed the singers, “Just drive right down and you’ll hear a tale of WOTY’s awesome cars, that started from the Naples Port, then Porsches stopped at bars…ninety set to drive that day for a 3-day tour. A 3-day tour. The weather started getting rough, the speeding cars were tossed. If not for the courage of our drivers, the Porsches would be lost, the Porsches would be lost.” WOTY Gilligan Lyrics

We were pleased to have our PCA Zone 12 Representative Lisa Lewis, along with her mother, join EGR PCA for the weekend. Everyone enjoyed the chance to meet Lisa in person to share our enthusiasm for our cars as well as the genuine camaraderie of our club. Our region is known for its fun personality… and (yo ho ho) that was definitely on display throughout the 2018 WOTY.

If you attended the WOTY and have photos to share, please email them to rgrafer@comcast.net so they can be added to the online photo album. If you did not attend: blimey, you missed out on all the fun!

Be sure to put next year’s western-themed WOTY on your calendar; it will be held April 12-14, 2019 in the Mount Dora area. Jenny and Chris Branston are already planning the event. Be there and be square dancing! Until next year…

Porsches and Water Mix Well… EGR PCA Kayak Adventure

Porsches and Water Mix Well… EGR PCA Kayak Adventure

On April 14, 18 EGR PCA members ventured into Tarpon Bay at the Ding Darling Natural Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island for 2 hours of kayaking led by our expert guide, Wendy. The group followed the Commodore Creek Kayak Trail from the Tarpon Bay Explorers outpost, where we got up close and personal with mangroves as well as aquatic and aviary wildlife. Wendy shared her knowledge of the beautiful and fragile ecology of this protected area.

Experienced paddlers partnered with novices in tandem kayaks and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. The sunny weather was perfect and an incoming tide made the outgoing trip quite an easy paddle. Less favorable tides and winds added slightly more exercise on the return trip. Everglades Region PCA members proved just as adept at maneuvering kayaks around the water as their Porsches on the track.

Participants saw an abundance of cormorants, horseshoe crabs, kites and jumping mullets. Our very own Chris and Jenny Branston, notorious for their fishing skills, had a yellow-tailed snapper jump out of the water directly into their kayak. The snapper’s bid to serve as lunch was sadly rejected; it was immediately dispatched back into Commodore Creek.

After burning off some calories in the kayaks, we were ready to fuel up! We caravanned through the beauty of Sanibel Island and over the magical Sanibel causeway back to the Wassersugs’ home on the Caloosahatchee River. We enjoyed drinks and a fabulous lunch of pulled pork, sausage, salad and more prepared by Faith and Steve. Additional wildlife sightings from the Wassersugs’ dock closed out a fantastic day of cars, kayaks and camaraderie.

“Almost Cuba” Mystery-Puzzle-Clue Rally Takes EGR PCA to “Havana”

“Almost Cuba” Mystery-Puzzle-Clue Rally Takes EGR PCA to “Havana”

On April 8, 40 Everglades PCA members gathered with their Porsches under a perfect blue sky to participate in the “Almost Cuba” mystery-puzzle-clue rally organized by Jenny & Chris Branston. At 9:40 AM, all the participants zeroed out their odometers on Corkscrew Road in Estero and began to follow the Branstons’ scenic backroads route through farmland and swamp. Along the way, photo locations were identified and puzzle questions answered.

The 93-mile course went from Estero to Immokalee, Sunniland, Jerome, Copeland and Everglades City before arriving in Chokoloskee. Colorful local history lessons were studied en route, courtesy of our favorite teacher, Mrs. Branston. We learned about Sunniland’s place in Florida history as the first oil site here, Jerome’s logging history and continuing issues with creosote and Copeland’s history as a tomato town. We also learned about the lucrative “square grouper” catches in Everglades City during the 1980s.

The surprise destination was the Havana Café in Chokoloskee. A leisurely lunch of Cuban food was enjoyed by all under shady umbrellas in a lush garden oasis filled with bougainvillea, orchids, palms and shells.

Numerous prizes were distributed at the Havana Cafe ranging from first to fifteenth place. The rally was not a competition of speed but rather one of observation and intellect. Debbi and Jim McCarthy took home the first place award; they amazingly identified all 12 photo locations correctly in addition to high marks on the puzzle questions.

There was also an art project contest during lunch– decorating a photo frame with found objects on the rally. Mary-Jo and Mike Andrade won first place. They were the only contestants who creatively decorated both the front and the back sides of the frame, both sides featuring photos of their much-loved dog.

After lunch attendees took scenic 41 or the faster and less scenic I-75 back from Chokoloskee. Those who chose 41 enjoyed expansive Everglades views as well as some spirited driving on 951. Seemingly every radio station played, appropriately, “Havana, ooh na na, half of my heart is in Havana” the whole way home…

Where to next? The WOTY (Weekend of the Year) will be held in the Keys at the end of April with approximately 90 EGR PCA members attending. Visit our calendar at the bottom of the homepage and download the WOTY flyer for more details.

Everglades Region PCA Turns Out for the B.I.G. Car Show

Everglades Region PCA Turns Out for the B.I.G. Car Show

Members of the Everglades Region Porsche Club once again enjoyed participating in the well-planned B.I.G. (British-Italian-German) car show. Mother nature was kind to all the cars and their owners, bringing balmy weather and clear skies.

This year, eleven Porsches were entered in the various Porsche classes under the German car category. Entrants included 911s, Caymans, Boxsters and Front Engine models. In addition to the highlight of viewing all of the beautiful cars displayed around the park, the Boy Scouts did a commendable job keeping participants fed, hydrated and happy by selling burgers, hotdogs and drinks. Another highlight – at least for the members of the Everglades Region PCA – was the debut of the region’s new canopy, which proudly displays our logo, letting fellow Porsche owners easily locate club members.

It was certainly a tough job for the judges… as all of the cars, regardless of make or class, were worthy of an award.

This year the People’s Choice Awards went to the following winning Porsches and their owners:
G7 Class (Porsche 914, 924, 944, 968, 928)
1st Place: 1976 Porsche 914 owned by Michael and Pat Grishman
G8 Class (Porsche water-cooled)
1st Place: 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo owned by Michael Andrade
2nd Place: 2015 Porsche Cayman GTS owned by Gladwyn Lopez
G10 Class (other)
1st Place: 1967 Volkswagon Bus Type 2 owned by Ralph Pignataro
Unfortunately, entrants in the G6 class (air-cooled) were unable to attend this year’s event as originally planned… hopefully they will make it next year.


Everglades PCA has many more events scheduled over the next few months including: theater/dinner events, kayaking in Ding Darling Wildlife Sanctuary, autocross, road rallies, and the wonderful weekend of the year (WOTY) in the Florida Keys. Come join us! As always, we welcome your feedback about our events, activities you’d like to see us schedule, and ways to improve outreach and communication throughout the region.