I recently interviewed a former boss, a courageous woman who once hired me as an intern. She’s now affiliated with the Milwaukee Masterpiece, a high-end car show.
Meet Bev Jurkowski, my mentor – and the woman crazy enough to ask me to be a "celebrity judge" this weekend at the show.
OnMilwaukee.com: So how did you get involved in the Masterpiece?
Bev Jurkowski: I’ve been a gear head for a long time. It started with my days at Miller when I worked with the sports marketing group and got to meet race legends like Danny Sullivan (the guy who did a 360 at Indy – not intentionally – and still won the race), and NASCAR greats Bobby Allison and Rusty Wallace. I’ve been involved in car clubs since the 1980s. A few of my friends in the Porsche Club are working behind the scenes for the Milwaukee Masterpiece and they drafted me to join them.
OMC: What can people expect to see when they attend the Masterpiece this year?
BJ: It’s a two-day event. On Saturday, Aug. 23, you’ll see cars and motorcycles shown by anyone who wants to bring a vehicle down to the show field in Veterans Park. Spectators will pick a People’s Choice winner. Saturday is a prelude to Sunday. That’s the real deal when the show field will be occupied by 230 vehicles that the Concours Committee has invited to compete for awards. These vehicles will be judged in 29 different classes. Each class will have a first-in-class winner. Prestige awards will be given as well including the Chief Judge’s award and the granddaddy award – Best of Show.
The lakefront provides the perfect setting for this family friendly event.
OMC: This sounds kind of stuffy.
BJ: Not at all. The people who own these unique vehicles are down to Earth. They’ll talk your ear off if you indicate the slightest interest in their vehicle. Stop and talk with Jack and Annie Bonham of Shawano who will be there with their 1941 Packard 120 Convertible Coupe. Jack spent 14 years working on the restoration.
OMC: Some of the vehicles are quite special, right?
BJ: There will be several cars on the show field that are valued at more than $1 million. There’s the 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom I Torpedo that was built for film star Marlene Dietrich.
A 1956 Mercedes Benz Gullwing Coupe is also a show stopper.
OMC: Where are these vehicles coming from?
BJ: Surprisingly, there’s a wealth of outstanding vehicles in Wisconsin, including some classic and rare Ferraris, Jaguars, Excaliburs and muscle cars. But that’s not all. Many of the vehicles you’ll see on Sunday are from out of state, including California, Texas and the Midwest.
OMC: What do those judges look for?
BJ: Well, if you’ve never watched a concours judge in action, it’s a sight to see. They wear white gloves and poke their fingers into places you never knew existed on a vehicle. They’re looking for dirt. They’ll shudder if a blade of grass is caught in the tread of a tire. And then mark points off on their scoresheet.
OMC: You’re celebrating the anniversaries of the introduction of three cars – the Pontiac GTO, the Excalibur and the Ford Mustang. Tell us more.
BJ: These three vehicles each hold a unique place in automotive history. Spectators will see some incredible examples of each of these on Sunday in their respective classes. We’re delighted to feature a special guest as well. Jim Wangers, the Godfather of the GTO, will be on hand. Wangers was in his 30s when he came up with the marketing scheme for the GTO. He’s legendary among GTO owners and advertising history buffs.
OMC: What car are you most looking forward to seeing?
BJ: It’s gotta be the 1959 Dodge Custom Royal Super D 500 Convertible. Despite my love of German-engineered cars, I’m a Mopar nut to the core. Tell your friends to come on down. Tickets are available at the event. $15 for either day or $20 for a two-day admission ticket.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published March 4, 2015
When Brewers fans talk to me about Spring Training, I always see the same look in their eyes. "I've always wanted to do that," they say wistfully, like Arizona exists in some far-away land, where you sit right next to the field and talk to the players in between in innings. Well, actually, most of that's true. Except for the far-away land part.
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Doctors are very clear with their warnings that alcohol will not warm you up in the dead of winter. So, obviously, unless you have a Saint Bernard with a little flask of brandy, you should not drink to thaw yourself out during these subzero temperatures in Milwaukee right now. You may, however, drink to take your mind off winter. And it being Bar Month, we tracked down some excellent cocktail recipes from our sponsor brands.
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Karen Leahy, a CPA and Milwaukee native, doesn't really talk about her other career - something she's been doing straight through since the '80s. "I'd rather be known for brains than beauty," says Leahy, who is also a successful part-time model. "I should have been a boy," she says, nuzzling her dog in her chic Downtown condo. "I like cars, sports and sex."
Published Feb. 9, 2015
As we trudge through another winter, thinking we've got it the worst - and we hear about it the most on TV - industry insiders say that's not quite right. Everyone, everywhere complains about their city's weather and its weather coverage. Yet for the most part, every TV station reports on it the same way. Here's an in-depth look at the changing face of Milwaukee weather.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
There aren't many bars in Milwaukee where no money changes hands, you don't order your own drinks and all of the imbibing goes on in the middle of the day. But that's the world of Lisa Semerad, a bartender at the Miller Inn, the last stop on the Miller Brewery Tour at 4251 W. State St. Her customers are always in a great mood, and for Semerad, Miller is a family tradition. No wonder she loves her job.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
I remember helping a friend out in college after his grandmother died, and one of our tasks was going through her old photos and deciding what to keep and what to toss. This was a really sad task, and I felt like I was intruding on someone's life, throwing away memories that meant nothing to me. What will it be like for our generation?
Published Jan. 6, 2015
I remember back in college, I came to the realization that several different versions existed of me. Those different versions of me continue to this day, but nowhere are they more pronounced than on social media. I embraced Twitter long before Facebook and Instagram, but now active on all three, you'll experience a totally different Andy Tarnoff if you only look in one place.
Published Dec. 30, 2014
These year-end lists are always fun to write, because they are so open-ended. So bear with me if I skip the regular categories and think outside the box a little for this one.
Published Dec. 29, 2014
As you can imagine, it's not easy being a four-season bike shop in a state where it's possible to see snow on the ground for eight months out of the year. But Steve Whitford, co-owner of South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy, says he knows no other way.
Published Dec. 22, 2014
I remember vividly how hard school was. Not just the homework, but the routine of waking up early, navigating its social intricacies. Granted, my daughter is only in K5, but still, she works hard - so I like to reward her with plenty of family fun when seasonal school vacations come around.