Trio heavy lifters for Hilton Head motoring show

tbarton@islandpacket.comOctober 19, 2011 

For those who wonder what it is like to organize and run a week-long motoring festival that draws thousands, picture trying to stuff 10 pounds into a five-pound bag, says Hilton Head Plantation resident Tony Myers.

The key to planning and executing such a task? Volunteers.

Preferably dedicated ones like Myers, Scott Butville and Joe Elam.

"They provide critical support behind the scenes," Carolyn Vanagel, executive director of the Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance and Motoring Festival, said in a statement.

Myers, 65, Butville, 68, and Elam were recognized Dec. 21 as the organization's 2010 Volunteers of the Year at the festival's annual holiday party.

"These guys have some of the toughest, most demanding jobs, and yet they continue to come back and help every year," Tom Conner, who manages volunteers for the festival, said in a news release.

All three work year-round to help plan and run the festival, which celebrated its ninth year.

Myers has volunteered at the motoring festival for the past seven years. He manages all of the festival's Hilton Head events, from parking to security to positioning exhibitors to arranging free shuttle service to the event.

Butville has volunteered at the festival for the past three years, overseeing set-up and tear-down at the Savannah/Hilton Head Speed Classic vintage racing event on Hutchinson Island.

"I'm responsible for everything from tents to toilet paper," he said. "This year was particularly challenging because the set-up for the track was completely different. We had to do a lot on the fly.

"But it was an outstanding year. The viewing sites were better. We eliminated how far people had to walk by rearranging parking. It was more spectator-friendly."

Butville and Myers said they were surprised and humbled to be recognized.

"I think they probably could have given the recognition to 100 other people, at least, but it's nice to be appreciated," Butville said.

As for why they do it?

"It's an enjoyable time to see beautiful cars you've never seen or haven't seen in a long time. And it serves a youthful purpose by raising money for charities on the island," Myers said.

The Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance and Motoring festival enjoyed record attendance this year, with 13,000 visitors, nearly half of whom traveled 50 miles or more, according to festival organizers. About 20 percent stayed nine days or longer, with an average stay of four nights, creating an economic impact of more than $5 million, according to a press release.

The 2011 event is scheduled for Oct. 28 to Nov. 6. For more information, go to www.hhiconcours.com.

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