ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Lots of Mustang owners and club members talk about getting young people involved in the hobby, but if you were lucky enough to have attended the Show Me Mustang Club‘s (SMMC) annual “Show-Me Stampede & All Ford Rally” this summer, then you were able to witness people actually doing something about it! Specifically, those people are Show-Me’s Karen and Mitch Mitchell, and Bradley Belcher of the Millennial Mustang Registry.
So who is Bradley Belcher? He’s the founder and president of the Millennial Mustang Registry, an online group “for Millennials (born between the mid-1980's and the early 2000's) who have a love for Mustangs.” According to Belcher, “The car show scene is mostly dominated by older generations, and because of this, people think we Millennials don't love our Mustangs. The purpose of this club is to show how much we Millennials truly do love our Mustangs as well as try and get more people involved in the car world.”
To that end, the Mitchells decided to amp-up their big annual St. Louis-area show by inviting MMR to attend, as well as a few “headliners” to spice up the show’s appeal. “We were excited to have John Clor of Ford Performance set up a Meet & Greet at our show,” Mitch said, “and were also pleased to welcome former Ford engineer Scott Hoag (now of MRT fame) and author Tony Alonso to host a book signing for their new Mustang Bullitt book!” But Karen was quick to point out that Charles Crews – General Manager for Classic Car Studio in St. Louis but better-known as a TV celeb thanks to his role in Speed Is The New Black show on the Velocity TV channel – had agreed to serve as a Celebrity Guest Judge at the rally. “Charles will be choosing the ‘Top 20 Fords,’ ‘Most Likely To Get A Ticket’ award and the ‘Best of Show’ for us!” Karen said.
But even with some Ford and cable TV “celebrities” there, the real “stars” of this show were the MMR members who came to participate, helping the Millennial Mustang Registry (MMR) mark a couple of major milestones. This event, held on Saturday August 4th, 2018, at Pundmann Ford in St. Charles, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis, was the scene for the first-ever official MMR “Mini-Meet,” thanks to the hospitality provided by the Show-Me Mustang Club of St. Louis.
After the MMR was only a few months old, Karen (Stampede & Rally Show Chair) contacted young Mr. Belcher to ask if MMR would be interested in holding their first member meet-up at the 2018 Stampede. Excited to be hosting their first car show experience within just five months of existence, MMR agreed to work with SMMC to help make the first Mini-Meet special, beginning with a members-only MMR welcome dinner the night before the show at a local sports eatery.
Karen had been studying attendance trends in car shows and was focused on attracting younger car enthusiasts to the Show Me club. Her research lead to a recent revamp of the club’s annual show.
“When the SMMC revamped our All Ford Show in 2017 to become the Show-Me Stampede & All Ford Rally, we were hoping to bring back the fun that the car hobby experienced at the rally themed shows of the 1960’s and ’70s,” Karen explained. “After studying the demographics of car shows for the past few years, I saw a need for Mustang clubs to find a way to interest the next generation of Mustang and Ford owners. That’s why inviting MMR to join us was so important. I think our 2018 show recalled that youthful Mustang Rally spirit, drawing 180 classic Fords and at the same time hosting the Inaugural Millennial Mustang Registry Mini-Meet. Several of our SMMC members have since joined MMR as well, showing that there are active Mustang owners in the next generation of fans, and that many of these young people already have some great rides to show off.”
Jason Stark, MMR member #099, is also a member of SMMC and learned about the MMR through Karen. Jason said that when he first heard about MMR, “I thought it was such a great idea -- having a group that celebrates the younger mustang enthusiasts and tries to get them more involved. So, of course I was excited that our Show-Me Stampede would host the first Millennial Mini-Meet!”
“The show itself was amazing,” Jason continued, “as the MMR had special parking at the front of the show. All-in-all it was a great day and a strong showing for MMR's first official show.”
Jason added that he “looks forward to being a part of this group and proving that the future of the Ford Mustang is well taken care of.”
MMR show parking for a dozen cars at the Rally filled quickly, so after the 12 were in place others were spread throughout the show field. With additional MMR sign-ups by afternoon, the Mitchells offered more news: “Congrats to Bradley Belcher on hitting a milestone of 200 members during our Show-Me Stampede All Ford Rally!”
That second milestone MMR had celebrated was special to Bradley. MMR was founded with just four charter members, and in five short months it had grown to 200 members, now including 36 states and four countries. “MMR is proud of our growth to date,” Bradley said, “and with the help of established Mustang clubs like Show-Me, we remain committed to seeking more members to share the love of Mustang with all generations.”
Karen was pleased to see young people at the show mingle with the SMMC members and event celebrities. “It was an exciting day for all,” she said. “They got to see John Clor from Ford Performance; the Ford merchandise trailer; Scott Hoag from MRT and author Tony Alonso signing their new book on the 2001 Bullitt & 2003-04 Mach 1's; the MMR Inaugural Mini Meet; and TV Celebrity Guest Judge, Charles Crews, from the hit Velocity show Speed Is The New Black. We provided a great venue for Mustang and Ford people of all ages to meet and talk cars. Plus our raffle proceeds benefited the Toys for Tots program. What a great day!”
SMMC President Mitch Mitchell summed it up this way: “We want to extend a huge ‘Thank You’ to all of our guests and participants. We hope that you will all join us again next year, and we would be honored to again host another MMR Mini-Meet.”
As for the MMR and Bradley, the Rally offered both success and encouragement. “Thank you to everyone that made this first Mini-Meet so much fun,” he said. “Our goal will continue to be “Fueling Mustang’s Future,” just like it says in the MMR logo!”
For more on Bradley Belcher, check out his story HERE. Then sign up on the MMR website, check it out on Facebook, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Better still, come meet up with Bradley and the MMR at their next Mini-Meet. If you’re a millennial Mustang owner, then by all means JOIN the MMR today.
As for the 2018 Show Me Stampede and Rally itself, our own Ford Performance Enthusiast Communications Manager, John Clor, took some time away from tent duty just before the show’s awards ceremony to stroll the show field and shoot photos of some of the outstanding vehicles that were on display there. He shares some of his favorites for you to enjoy in the gallery below:
FORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS / COURTESY JOHN CLOR