COLUMBIA — Wayne McCoy, president of the Mid-Missouri Corvette Club, always dreamed of owning a Corvette.
At 37, he bought his first dream car — a 1977 Corvette.
“It’s a sense of not being poor anymore. A status symbol but not ‘I’m better than you’ status,” McCoy said. “It makes you feel good about yourself.”
Today, he owns three.
Corvette lovers from around the Midwest braved Saturday’s unseasonably chilly weather to show off their beloved rides at the 14th annual Mid-Missouri Corvette Cup, benefiting the Central Missouri Dream Factory. Nearly 150 colorful Corvettes filled the parking lot at the Quality Inn, where the cars were judged based on interior details, aesthetic appeal and, most important, cleanliness.
With Corvette lovers coming from all over Missouri and surrounding states, the atmosphere was anything but competitive.
“It’s like a big family reunion. A different group of people, a very familial group,” said Chris Killebrew, wife of Gordon Killebrew, a retired Corvette mechanic from Tennessee and owner and instructor of Gordon’s School.
Gordon Killebrew teaches the Corvette troubleshooting courses in a modernized log cabin, equipped with a full bathroom and full kitchen, on his 14-acre property.
Since the Killebrews married in 1983, they have traveled the world visiting Corvette conventions and offering their services to Corvette owners. For the past 10 years, they have attended the Corvette Cup as vendors, setting up shop in a booth called “Q&A With Gordon” to answer Corvette lovers’ questions.
And even though many consider Killebrew the authority on 1984-1996 C4-model Corvettes, he’s actually never owned one. Instead, he drives two trucks, one with advertising for Gordon’s School.
Of his three Corvettes, McCoy brought his black hardtop 1964 Sting Ray coupe to the Corvette Cup. After investing nearly $50,000 and two years of labor into its restoration, McCoy proudly showcased the Sting Ray, one of the few vintage Corvettes in the lot.
Although McCoy, who has been involved in the Mid-Missouri Corvette Club for 14 years, doesn’t intend to keep his Sting Ray forever, he said his wife, Mary, enjoys the perks of his hobby as she rides in his Corvettes and supports his passion.
“If I buy a car, she gets a diamond,” McCoy said. “If I sell a car, she keeps the diamond.”
Mary Watson, a member of the Mid-Missouri Corvette Club and Central Missouri Dream Factory, owns a 1996 red convertible Corvette along with her husband, Alan.
As a club member, Watson knows there is more to the Corvette show than meets the eye.
The event takes nearly a year to plan, Watson said. During weekly meetings, the club discusses how to raise money from the shows to benefit charities. All the proceeds from this year’s Corvette Cup, including a raffle and various auctions, will go to Dream Factory.
Dream Factory, a wish-granting organization based in Kentucky, gives critically and chronically ill children ages 3-18 and their families gifts such as trips to Disneyland and NASCAR races.
In McCoy’s mind, Corvettes aren’t like any other American car. They have a different feel and sound, he said.
And in the Killebrews’ travels, they’ve met and made friends with Corvette owners around the world, who spoke different languages but shared the same passion.
“One common thing — We all love Corvettes,” McCoy said.