After being nearly eaten alive by our Desert Daughter’s SUV last week, (see rear door incident previous blog) you wouldn’t think I’d have much of an appetite for wandering amongst any type of motor vehicles much less those with dangerous sounding names like Cobra, Sting Ray or Jaguar but how could I not when some of the finest cars in the world were on display at the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Show and Auction just a few miles from my sick bed in Scottsdale?
So I was a little disappointed when, even though I had a media tag hanging from the rear view mirror, (a tag that came with an impressive press packet picked up a couple days earlier which also included a Barrett/Jackson lanyard with a huge laminated card that had “Media” stamped on it.) the guy at the gate paid no heed and directed me to the same general parking lot as everybody else.
So, what am I to do? 24 hours earlier, I could barely walk the aisles of Safeway without collapsing from this cold-cough induced exhaustion, now I’m expected to hike a half mile to where all the action was taking place. Oh sure, they said there would be shuttles but I don’t see….wait, here comes one now. But how do I remember where the hell I’m parked there are no signs or numbers..just an ocean of vehicles and it’s not even my car that I’ll be hunting for later..maybe in the dark!
Well, that’s me. “Worry Wart” as mom used to say. I wonder where in the world that saying came from. Checking Google. No consensus as to origin
Anyway, the shuttle driver’s first words were “Okay folks..just remember this is “Cactus” just tell the next driver that’s where you want to go and he’ll bring you right back here.” Well, that’s easy peasy and off we went to the front gate where the little carrying case I borrowed from Christy to hold my phone and camera was given a quick inspection and then I meandered into the gigantic exhibit hall leading to the main auction pavilion. Now, it should be noted that I hate my camera..or to be perfectly honest, I hate myself for being too dumb to figure out how to set it properly so pictures are taken AUTOMATICALLY (as advertised) adjusting for light and motion. My feeble attempts at figuring it out result in way too many blurred, too dark or too light images which was frustratingly evident at Barrett Jackson on this day.
The highlight of this year’s event was the dispersal of Ron Pratte’s collection of motor vehicles…most of them the finest in the world and most of them purchased at previous Barrett Jackson auctions. Pratte is an insanely successful contractor who has simply moved on to other interests. (Pratte’s collection of cars, trucks, motorcycles and automobilia brought in a total of 40 million dollars.)
After checking out as many cars as possible, I was in desperate need of a rest so I ambled in to watch the auction…and the people watching the auction.
As in life, there’s a class system at Barrett. Only bidders are allowed to sit on the main floor folding chairs and I think it costs 500 dollars to get a bid number so you’ve got to be semi serious about being there. The looky-loos may sit in the metal bleachers surrounding and cordoned off from the floor. And then there are the sky boxes where the gold chain wearin’ slick hair combed back too cool for school guys with their cocktails and female escorts take up residence. It’s all fun to watch..which I did until 4 pm. That’s when national television coverage of the event began on The Discovery Channel and Velocity. I was determined to get up as close to the stage as possible with my iffy Kodak and get a few close ups for you.
Blurry. Damn. Reset. With flash. Without flash. Ugh. It was getting crowded as they rolled in a wrecked Shelby Cobra with a guy in an Ironman suit lying across it. Oh, yeah this was from the Ironman movie. I thought I’d follow its sale from start to finish and bravely walked up to the security guard who was keeping watch over the aisle that crosses between the audience and stage front. Wearing my Keloland TV sweatshirt, I flashed my media badge around my neck and he waved me through. Wow! There I was..right in the heart of the action. (If you see reruns of the auction or happened to record the Wednesday edition on TV and see the Ironman car up for auction, look for a heavy set fellow in front of the stage taking pictures with a dinky camera. That would be me.). Here are the salvageable images from that memorable, albeit short lived, experience.
I don’t know if one of the paying bidders in the front row complained because I was blocking his view or weather Craig Jackson himself looked down from his perch and wondered what the heck that big guy with the little camera was doing and sic’ed the hounds on me but by on my third attempt to get a closer picture of the next car coming up for bid, a woman with a black jacket and security badge came up to shoo me out with the admonition that media weren’t allowed. I wanted to say “but the guy at the other end let me in…” It was no use, though; my trespassing ticket had been punched. Nothing left but to call it a day and head for home. If I can find my ride.
Turns out the shuttle showed up right away and took me straight to Cactus where..thanks to a horn honking button on Christy’s key fob..I found the car with no trouble at all and within a half hour was back at home sweet home with a shot of cough syrup in my gullet and a Vodka Gimlet in my hand.
I just found out that Tiger Woods is going to play in the Phoenix Open for the first time in 16 years next week. I wonder if I should check out the possibility of getting media credentials.
Nothing is too good for my blog readers.
Sure could use a better camera though.
Wait. The 23rd is my birthday. Oh, Linda??