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Antique MG car owners assemble for weekend in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — This past weekend, approximately 175 owners of vintage MG sports cars gathered in Middlebury for a New England MG T Register sponsored event featuring a rally, educational tours and entertainment.
The New England MG T Register, or NEMGTR, was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. The organization was co-founded by 84-year-old Dick Knudson, a native of Mechanic Falls, Maine, and the late Frank Churchill, formerly of Middlebury, who died in a car accident in 1999. The event began on Wednesday, June 18, and ran through Sunday, June 22.
“For our 50th anniversary it really made sense to come to Middlebury to honor Frank’s memory,” said Knudson, who first contacted Churchill about starting an MG club in 1963 after seeing a picture of Churchill’s MG TD  in a magazine and knowing he had found a kindred spirit.
Later this year, another NEMGTR gathering, which members call Gatherings of the Faithful, will be held in Knudson’s hometown in Maine to honor his half-century of commitment as well.
“The name sounds geographically limiting,” said Knudson in regards to the “New England” in the front of the club’s name. “We didn’t anticipate that the organization would be so successful.”
NEMGTR currently has more than 13,000 members from all over the world. Although the visitors at last weekend’s gathering were mainly from the Northeast, some travelled from places as far-flung as Florida or California to be there.
Check out a slideshow of the MGs here.
David Sander of Richmond, who is the Chairman of the NEMGTR Board of Directors, did much of the event organizing.
The commemorative, celebratory weekend was “a fabulous success,” said Sander, thanks in large part to good weather, the helpfulness of the Middlebury Inn, the generosity of Middlebury Union High School for donating parking lot space, and the assistance of Middlebury police for traffic support.
The weekend featured a visit to Shelburne Museum, a covered bridge tour led by local Register member and MG owner Beth Wright, and a “wear what you wore in ’64” themed party. Members also had the opportunity to tour Restoration and Performance Motorcars, a shop in Vergennes that focuses on old cars and is owned by Peter Markowski and his son, Steve.
“Peter (Markowski) was a good friend of our co-founder Frank Churchill, and was very kind to open his shop to us. We utilized his lift to inspect our cars, and we found some safety related issues that we were able to rectify, allowing the cars to be safely driven home,” reported Sander.
On Saturday, festivities largely consisted of MG related events at MUHS. About 90 MGs were on display in the parking lot, and many owners participated in driving events. Afterwards, there was a valve cover race, where participants made mini racers out of MG valve covers and raced them on a track.
One special moment of the weekend came at the awards ceremony, said Sander, where members of the Churchill family presented a memorial award in Frank’s honor. Frank’s brother Raymond Churchill, Raymond’s wife Theresa, and their son Kelly were all in attendance. An award given to honor exceptional passion for MGs was presented to Rick Smith of Dedham, Mass. 

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