Another year, and yet another excuse for us to leave natures bio dome that is Florida. Do you know what it's like living in a state where you only have one week of winter and the rest of the seasons are called hell? Not to mention the only nice scenery we have is on the Golf Coast or down south. So when the month of May rolls around, we all start to get a fit of butterflies in our stomachs and a strong hankering for whiskey and or beer. That's right, this can only mean that Southern Worthersee is approaching. Hell it's already come and gone. But instead of dwelling on what went wrong this year, we're gonna share with you guys what went right and what we loved most. We're not gonna go over what went wrong, simply because there is no one person or multiple people to blame nor should there be. SoWo has gone from being an event that had 180 cars/people, and has now grown into an event with around 28,000 attendants. As much as we love Helen, we all know it couldn't have gone on forever at the rate it was growing. But fear not, as we have high expectations for what the future will hold for this event. Only time can tell where the new location will be, but as for now lets get into what we loved this year about Southern Worthersee 9.
Nine years of running a show, and making it grow into something that people will remember time and time again, is not an easy feat. For 5 years we've been attending SoWo, and for the first time we were able to vend at the outspoken event. We would like to start by thanking everyone who stopped by our booth over the weekend and supported us throughout the event. A huge thanks goes out to Paul Barney and Wes Henderson for allowing us to have their cars at our booth! Wes especially. The man brought the car down on Wednesday still in pieces, but with the helpful hands of some amazing people he was able to get the car complete by Saturday morning. An even bigger thank you goes out to Tony Marlow, because without him we more than likely wouldn't of had a booth or any merchandise at the show. Thank you so much for being able to transport our gear up to Helen. It's the supporters, enthusiasts, and good friends within the European/VAG community that put a smile on our faces.
For us, SoWo is an opportunity to catch up with all the people we have met and built a friendship with through cars. It's like a Tyler Perry reunion movie for the people within our community. The only bad part is when the party is over and the time comes to go home. But the memories that you make over the course of one weekend will last a lifetime.
So what was different about this year, versus the 8 years prior? Besides another year of even higher quality cars, new faces, and enough liquor to fill grain silo's. Not much. As per usual the town was chalk full of a plethora of European and VAG cars. The back street was filled with people in the streets and cars packing parking lots as far as the eye can see. One thing we did notice was the large turnout of air-cooled cars. Although we have a soft spot for almost every water-cooled car, it's always a breath of fresh air to see a 60's beetle or bus.
Besides the main show, there were a ton of smaller off-shoot meets scattered all around the county. If you can even call the area a county considering its the size of a town, literally. One of the newer meets, staged near the Uniconi Lake, was hosted by the fine folks at Kill All Fenders. For their first meet it was incredible to see the high amount of quality cars. From Michael Kulesza's bagged MKVI GTI, Zack Strauss' bagged Audi AllRoad (which made for some excellent ass shots), Carlos Quinones and his bagged NMS Passat with its newly and exquisitely executed front bumper were in attendance, along with Josh Smith and his bagged GLI. Not including the plethora of cars, there were a ton of familiar faces. Including Mr. Internet himself Mike Newton, Rodrigo Cruz from South Florida, Orlando natives Roman Shahpouri as well as Marc Doucette.
The MKIII GTG, hosted this year by our great friends over at Burn All The MK3s and ourselves, was an excellent turn out with a ton of excellent cars. Between Eric Cash, Kole Grove, Danny Otero, and Hector Mendez it was impossible to tell who had the better golf. And even then, there was Omar Rodriguez's Watermelon Vento, DJ Mac's bagged GTI, Dmytro Ostapovych and his silver arrow GTI, along with Megan Greeno's Ginster GTI and Lynn Machelle's Jetta that looked equally as clean. Least we not forget the wizard himself, Mr Jake Sawczyk and his freshly revamped GTI. Another big thank you to those who pre-ordered this years 2015 MKIII GTG tees.
All in all SoWo was the same event it has been for years. A meeting ground for like minded people with similar personalities. Sure, there are some bad apples with the bunch. But when have you ever heard of or come across a perfect orchard? SoWo is never going to die down or become an event that people stop coming to. To quote Tony Marlow on the ride home, "2015 was only my second year attending and I will never stop attending because I love the community."
There are not many shows left that share the same camaraderie as that which is shared among everyone at SoWo. And for that simple reason, we will never stop attending. We cannot thank all of our supporters enough for your continued loyalty. But we would especially like to thank the SoWo staff and Matt Bounds for throwing an amazing event for 9 years straight. It's become a symbol of what our close knit community can become and grow into. A staple for all other European/VAG events to live up to. SoWo 10 will be the beginning of a new era. A new chapter in our tight knit community. We hope to be able to see you all again this year, whether it be at H2Oi or Simply Clean 7.
Photos by Alexander Martinez, Chris Lunau, George Malioras, Rodney Ruiz, Skyelar Pifer, Tyler Nelson
Words by Sean O'Connor