This year the parking lot was also home to a new event at national TT gatherings, the "Casual Public Choice Concourse Competition." Every registered attendee was given a ballot to vote on a number of categories. No judges to bribe here. This was a fun event and gave everyone a chance to participate. The "Casual Public Choice Concourse Competition" encouraged attendees to pay close attention to every car at the event and cast ballots accordingly.

The winners of the 1st TT-East 2004 "Casual Public Choice Concourse Competition" are:

Longest Mileage traveled (in a TT): Mark Bebawi
Cleanest TT (not socially speaking): Sean Conner
Dirtiest TT (not socially speaking): Pat Ransom
Best Sound System (for you boom box types): Michael Pare
Best Modded TT (The Mostest and The bestest): Steve Schwing
Best Trunk Monkey / Mascot in a TT (Not going there): Jay Schwartz

If you don't know what a trunk monkey is, then you have to attend an event to find out.

Dinner for the night was held in the Resort's banquet room. Dinner was buffet style with choices of tender steak, fish, fruits, vegetables, salad, and a host of other side items.
The mayor of Cumberland joined the group for dinner and gave a brief speech welcoming us to the event and sharing a brief history of Cumberland, MD. The highlight of Friday's Dinner was the Auction of the signed baseball glove by Freeman Thomas, the chief designer of the Audi TT. The winning bid of the night was $1,300 dollars (US). TT-East matched that amount with all proceeds donated to the nearby 9/11 United Airlines Flight 93 Somerset County Memorial fund on behalf of TT-East. This act is demonstrative of the kindness of the group. Even in the midst of fun, time was taken to donate to a worthy cause.

Excitement was in the air on Saturday morning as convoys headed to historic downtown Cumberland. The Western Maryland Railway Station was the site for the official TT-East photograph. It took about two hours to strategically pose that wonderful array of Audi TTs. The local police department assisted in re-routing incoming traffic until the after the photo was taken.

Immediately following the photo shoot, hungry TT enthusiasts headed to Uncle Tuckers Brewery for the lunch gathering. This restaurant makes pizza the old fashioned way--wood fired ovens. The food was plentiful and delicious.

Revo & Pro-Imports had an evening technical session that became an informal chat. Revo provided participants with FREE 5 hour trial performance programs of their direct-port chipping technology. It wasn't long before previously non-chipped cars where leaving the parking lot to test the new software. The software proved to be quite effective as one unlucky attendant was given a formal welcome from a city official in the form of a speeding citation. 

The final dinner went off without a hitch. Over $10,000 in prizes was given away in the raffle. Prizes included Revo performance software, Blistein suspension coilovers, discounts at performance shops, and various items for and about the Audi TT. Continuing the spirit of generosity, many raffle winners declined prizes if they knew that another attendee had a greater need or desire for that particular item. What a wonderful group of people. 

When the final announcements were made, numerous people said their good-byes, while others prepared for the traditional after-party that lasted into the wee hours of the night. If anyone should run across an unusual photo from the event, just know that no one will tell the story. Remember, what happens at TT-East, stays at TT-East. 

The next morning with bags packed, my wife and I prepared to return home. Others, with helmets in hand, were about to embark on an early morning Autocross organized by the National Road Rally Association at the nearby airport.

Credit must be given to the organizers for arranging such a wonderful event. The organizers of TT-East 2004 are Peter Grabowsky, Gina Castle, Michael Rierson, Ellen Erickson, Paul Simoni, and Kevin Stone. 

No words can accurately express the thrill of attending TT-East. As we departed and returned to our homes, I can only hope that this shared passion will lead us together again next year.

Guy (actual name) from Indiana said it best at dinner on Thursday night: "The passion we share for our cars is what makes us and this event unique. It doesn't matter what race, economic background, religion, or who or what you are or do, what matters is the passion we all share for the car (Audi TT) that brings us together. Nothing else matters."

For those whom TT-East is too far to attend, there is still time to register for TT-Midwest and TT-West. Let the passion lead you to one of these events or next year's TT-East via plane, train, or automobile (preferably in an Audi TT).

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