I joined Northwest Nissans in November of 2002, fresh out of high school. My
Nissan 240SX was my first car and I was out to have some fun and meet some
like minded people.
My first real ‘meet’ was Golden Gardens in March of 2003. 23 cars showed up
that year and it rained all day. Yet we had a blast and told everyone we knew!
Yes… It’s true. Matt used to drive a Nissan. this picture is straight out of 2004….
Oh yes… THIS car is still around to this day, it has competed in FD. Can you guess who it is? it would be Mr. Nikolay Konstantinov!
I have been very blessed to meet a number of amazing people over the past 10 years
This was one of my first meets with NWN members, it was the Christmas party we had in Dec. 2004. You’ll see some VERY oldschool members from left to right Mikel (Johnny lunchbox), Chris (Angry Slide), Earl (Angry Earl).
Over the next few years I got a little more involved and met hundreds of new
people. A few noteworthy ones were Colin Grieg, Ben Konkin, Vincent Tong,
Ron Tucker and Jeff Bachman. Most of you probably have no idea who these people were but they were huge inspirations to me and I learned a lifetime of knowledge from them all.
Ended up out with some local guys after I got all my goodies installed in the car , you’re looking at the only 2 sets of bronze LMGT4′s that i’ve ever seen in North America.
Unfortunately my car was taken from me in Feb 2005 which meant time for something a little different.
A few years later
Late in 2005 I took on a moderator role with Northwest Nissan to help with the
forum and help out at the events. Over time some of the older moderators and
club founders started moving on with their lives and getting out of their cars so,
naturally, when they moved on we needed some fresh blood to bring the club
back to life. Apparently I was that “sucker”….
Along with my role with NWN I joined the board of directors for DNBC (Datsun/Nissan Enthusiasts of BC) which lead to many more life lessons and more knowledge than I could handle. After a 2 years on the board I was voted in as president of the club and ran 2 years of our annual weekend event in Vancouver, BC. I have to mention the rest of the clubs involved as they were a HUGE part of making this event as good as it was.
Although the car was gone….
I was still driving a Nissan and sporting an NWN sticker.
I had no idea what I was in for when I took over the operations of NWN.
Thankfully Colin was still around to help with the technical side of things but
Getting up to speed on everything that happens was a steep learning curve. And
I would not have traded it for anything!
In 2008 we realized that our meet at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle was
growing very quickly; that year we had more than700 cars come out to the event
in a parking lot made for 600. On top of that we had approximately 1200 people
at the event which made it too busy for the location.
For a non-profit group, the trick is to find a venue that doesn’t require $10,000
in advance. I spent lots of time talking to my contacts at various venues to see
what we could do to move the event. Sadly nothing seemed to work quite right so
we kept on going back to the park. But, although Golden Gardens was a great
place, it was just too small for what we needed.
In 2011, some new owners took over Evergreen speedway and our continued
involvement with the Evergreen Drift program got us a foot in the door; we were
able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. We had found a venue! Now for
the fun part…
Early in 2011, Bryan Wright, who had been helping out in the EVD program for
a number of years, joined our Moderator team. After talking to him, he offered
to help me organize the even, which at this point was only known as the “new
Golden Gardens”. A few months later he took on the role of coordinating the
EVD program, taking over after Russell O’Connell stepped down. Needless to
say, Bryan’s workload doubled which put a lot of work back on my plate in order
to make sure this event happened.
The Planning Begins
After an Evergreen Drift event in summer of 2011, Bryan and I sat down to start
to put together ideas for the new event. As we started talking and writing things
down we realized exactly how much work this was going to be… it was a bit
daunting to think about.
We tossed around a lot of ideas and threw away many of them before we came
up with a rough plan and a confirmed date for the event. The time had come for
a name… who better to ask than our members?
That is a bit about my involvement with the the NW community and how Nissan Fest came to be!