By Don Lowe

In mid-May, hundreds of classic and late-model Corvettes will cruise into Joplin, for a week-long celebration with the 65th annual National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) Convention taking center stage. 

Jeff Bruggeman, who helped organize and coordinate this convention along with his wife, Mary Lou, says, “It’s exciting that Joplin will host an event with people traveling from all over the country to participate in it. 

 “We have rented Mo-Kan Dragway for a day and will hold class elimination drags, bracket drags and matching times drags for registrants. As with all competitive events, the winners will bring home a nice trophy and bragging rights. 

“Autocross at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri, is like the drags with the classed speed events, as well as matching times. Some participants will trailer their specially prepared cars to both events to race only. Others will race a lightly modified or stock car. We have the Crowder College Truck Driving School Practice Pad to compete on for the day.” 

The following day will be an event for metal-bodied cars. “Everyone enjoys seeing cars race the clock to see how fast they can go through a maze of orange cones.” 

Bruggeman says there’s even more: “The car show and valve cover racing (VCR) will be on Main Street on Third Thursday, which is May 16. Anyone can watch. Winners of the car show are selected by a ballot of convention registrants.” 

The VCR event is similar to Pine Box Derby, according to Bruggeman. “You lift a gate and the first one to the end wins. This is a little different. We have a set of timing lights, like a dragstrip with the yellow countdown, and you go on green. 

“Go-to-early red light is an instant disqualifier of that round. There are classes, including big block and small block and men’s and ladies’, with simple elimination to be a class winner and get a trophy.” 

Along with the activities involving the cars, conference attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy other attractions in the region, including The Branson Belle Showboat and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. “Our guests will get a chance to visit some of the typical tourist excursions while they are in the Ozarks,” Bruggeman explained. 

“Busses are chartered to both venues, or our guests can cruise to the locations in their Corvettes. These have proved to be popular with non-racers and especially since they are scheduled during race days.” 

It took a lot of teamwork to put all of the plans in place, and Bruggeman credits Allen Morris, business manager of NCCC in Joplin, for bringing the idea to the club members. “Being president of the 4 State Vettes Corvette Club, I had the honor of selling it. 

“It seemed like a lot of work, and it has been. But our club members stepped up to the plate and pitched in. Committee chairs reached out to members of their committees. Many members served multiple roles. So many people have gone above and beyond to help make this event a success. 

“We’ve been to similar events in other cities and our club has hosted smaller ones in Joplin. But being a major part of this makes us all proud of our city.” 

 65th Annual National Corvette Convention 

Fast Facts 

When: Monday, May 13 to Sunday, May 19

What: Hundreds of Corvettes will converge in Joplin to celebrate this historic sports car. 


Team: Convention Director Jeff Bruggeman, Convention Co-Director Jim Walton, Convention Treasurer Cindy Urenda, Director of Sponsorship Michele Cantelmo and NCCC Business Manager Allen Morris.