Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Corvettes on display in Whitefish for Memorial Day weekend

Hagadone News Network | May 27, 2022 12:00 AM

The Funseekers Corvette and Yacht Club officially started in Whitefish in 1986 and while the club’s members do have fun and they do have Corvettes, there is nary a boat to be seen. The name is a nautical nod to the small, fast naval vessel of the 18th and 19th centuries known as a corvette.

This year, The Funseekers Corvette and Yacht Club hosts the 51st annual Big Sky Corvette Meet in Whitefish from May 27-30. The event attracts registrants from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and Canada.

Some participants come to the event for the competition or to learn more about the car model they love but for others, like the president of The Funseekers, Mark Dowaliby, the Big Sky Meet is all about the people.

“I haven’t missed one since 1980 – I started this when I was 18 and for me, it’s a family reunion,” Dowaliby said. “I used to be into the competition but now I just want to visit with the people I only see once a year.”

The public’s chance to get a good look at the Corvettes is during the Show and Shine on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and is free to the public. Cars will be displayed on Central Avenue downtown in order of class or generation.

Owners arrive early to primp and prime their ‘Vettes until “rags down” is announced, signaling the end of prep time. Participants vote on the cars and there are awards for winners in each class. The public is encouraged to vote for the people’s choice winner. While the cars will be seen throughout the weekend, the best chance to see them up close and talk with the owners is at the Show and Shine.

Other events during the meet include a rally, similar to a scavenger hunt that takes drivers and their navigators around the valley. Saturday night, participants enjoy a saloon shuffle and closing up the weekend is the Fun Run, a scenic drive through the area. The last time the Funseekers hosted this event in 2017, participants drove the Corvettes over the Continental Divide and took a side trip to the Hungry Horse Dam.

The Corvette and Yacht Club is best known in Whitefish for driving the homecoming royalty across the high school football field during halftime but they do more than that. Soon after Covid-19 struck, they recognized a need among the young people in the community who were no longer able to have birthday parties and see their friends because of the pandemic.

“The club started organizing drive-bys for birthdays and bringing gifts to kids who felt isolated,” said Marcie Christenson, secretary of the Funseekers.

Christenson is an original member of the club and explained the 30 active members each pay annual dues and donate some of the funds to the community. The club members vote on what organization will receive their donation and last year their chosen charity was Kalispell’s Heart Locker.

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