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Racing into the Future, Remembering the Past: On the Way to “50”

By: John Buskey

Photo taken by Frank Gudaitis at WGOT Convention in 1985. From Frank Gudaitis, “The Williams Grove Old Timers,” Open Wheel, May 1985, 66.

2024 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Williams Grove Old Timers (WGOT) Convention. The convention will be held at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing (EMMR) and the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds.

Open Wheel reporter Frank Gudaitis attended Convention in 1985. His article published in the May 1985 issue of Open Wheel highlights the enthusiasm and future of the WGOT and EMMR. Over 120 vintage race cars attended this event. Gudaitis described the infield at Williams Grove as “quite a feast for the eyes” claiming “there was something for everyone’s interest ranging from very archaic sprinters dating back more than half a century, to superbly restored show cars several decades newer.”

It was shortly after this article was written that the museum and track at Latimore Valley would be used for future conventions. Through the (nearly) 50 years, many race cars, memorabilia, memories and most importantly many PEOPLE have attended this event at the track and the museum.

The purpose behind this current article is to start the invitations for attendance at this milestone 50th convention. We would like to invite many of the cars and PEOPLE that have attended past and present conventions to attend. Over the years many cars, drivers, owners, mechanics, and fans have made this event great. Many of the older cars have seen ownership change for one reason or another. And sometimes that ownership means the vehicle has not attended convention recently. Understandably not all those older cars want to run on the track. That is okay! It would be wonderful to have them as part of the static display. If you know of a car that has changed ownership check with them to be sure they know they are invited.

Yes, this is an early invitation, just over a year away. August 2024. BUT we hope this allows more time to make plans or reservations. And more time to get those old race cars dusted off and ready to bring out. Again, if not for track time, then for display. Also, a very large part of the museum is all the memorabilia that shows the history of the sport. This is one of the reasons EMMR has become one of, if not the best, museums in the country. Whether it is pictures, parts, etc. bring it along to share with everyone. The museum has added many new items and displays. So, pass the word that 2024 will be the 50th WGOT convention.

In the meantime, the 49th convention will be held August 26-27, 2023. Come on out and enjoy the activities. More to follow!