We visit one of the oldest Corvette events in the world to find out.
Chevrolet unveiled its all-new 2020 Corvette Stingray on Thursday, July 18th. As luck would have it, more than 400 Corvettes and about 1,000 Vette fans rolled into the small western town of Spearfish in South Dakota Black Hills Corvette Classic that same day. Organized by the Sioux Falls Corvette Club, this annual event attracts Corvette owners from across the country to enjoy an incredible mix of mountains, canyons and open prairie roads through the region. The four-day festival is not the biggest celebration of the American sports car, but it's one of the oldest that lasted almost as long as the Corvette. I hold Motor1
.com's Western office in Rapid City, just 50 miles south of the events. More importantly, the Black Hills Corvette Classic is a driver event – the vast majority of participants arrive in Corvettes from the C5 generation, and yes, most of the owners are retired. In other words, this group is the main audience GM wants to achieve with the new C8. Anyhow somehow. More about this soon, but here is a teaser. My findings from this event can be summed up in two words: Cautious optimism.
When I attended the Spearfish Show-and-Shine event in downtown Spearfish, I had the opportunity to speak with Barry Konken, board member of the Sioux Falls Corvette Club. In addition to selling Corvettes and a deep Vette passion he inherited from his father, Konken is very active with both the club and the Black Hills Corvette Classic as an organizer. 2019 marks its 33rd year at the event, and this time the group's arrival at Spearfish coincided with the unveiling of the C8. The livestream ran on a big screen for the participants of the group's Hotel Congress Center, and according to Konken, he was unlike anything he had seen.
"We never had the conference room full on the first night when we got out of here," he said. "We have a banquet and entertainment program on Saturday night that attracts a lot of visitors, but for the revelation was the room the congress center completely full. 800 to 1000 people? The space was at maximum capacity. "