Curt Gendron is a computer programmer from Rogers, Minnesota. You might be familiar with the name. For us, he’s always been “that guy who organizes the ‘All Mitsu Cookout’ every year.” Well, we figured it was high time we learned a little more about this event. Luckily for us, Curt had a few minutes to tell us about this, one of the longest running Mitsubishi events in the world.
What Mitsubishi(s) do you drive? How long have you had it/them?
I currently own a 99 3000GT VR4, 95 3000GT VR4 Spyder, 95 Stealth R/T TT, and a 97 Eclipse GSX (daily driver). [WOW – Ed.] I’ve owned my Stealth the longest at 10 years. I’ve owned 3/Ses for 14 years and I bought my first Mitsubishi in 1990. (86 Mirage)
What are your build philosophy & goals for your Mitsubishi(s)? How do you use it/them?
I mostly do the easy/no-brainer mods to pick up some horsepower, but nothing big. I just don’t have the desire to spend a lot of time tuning and wrenching on them. I’d rather enjoy them. I’ve done a little drag racing and auto crossing, but mostly I do car shows and club events.
You organize an event. What’s it called? When/Why/How did it start?
I organize two big events every year. The weekend before Memorial Day I organize the Upper Midwest 3/S Gathering in Wisconsin Dells. We usually get around 50 3/Ses to this event. In late August, (August 28th this year) I organize the All Mitsubishi Cookout and Car Show. This event usually gets around 150 Mitsus together. Last year we fed 325 people at the Cookout. I’ve been doing the Cookout since 1999 and the Upper Midwest Gathering since 2000. If you really want to see all the events I’ve put on, check out: http://mn3s.org/gatherings.html
Who are your attendees? How many are there? Where do they come from?
The who and how many I just answered. Both events are regional. The UMG has 3/Ses come from MN, IA, WI, IL and MI. The All Mitsu Cookout has had people from MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, SD, ND and even Canada.
What’s the best part about organizing this event? The most challenging?
The best part is seeing all the people get together. For some of the real enthusiasts, they will have a grin from ear to ear when you see them at the event. That is priceless. Plus, I’ve always wanted an active Mitsu group in the Twin Cities, and by having these big events, you really provide the fuel for a good enthusiast base. The most challenging part is the time and money it takes to pull it off. A lot of people don’t understand that part or take it for granted.
How far in advance do you start planning the next event?
I usually try to get the date of the event out there about 3-4 months in advance. Serious planning usually begins about eight weeks before the event.
Can you tell us a little bit about how much it costs to put on an even tlike this? (Money and time?)
The Upper Midwest Gathering doesn’t really cost much money. It’s really the planning that takes up a lot [of time]. The All Mitsu Cookout is probably about $1,400 to put on. Depends on how many supplies can be reused from the year before. I usually have a couple of sponsors help to pay for things. This year Modern Automotive Performance and Brookdale Mitsubishi are our main sponsors. They really help keep the cost down. The rest of the money is raised by charging each person $5 to be in the show and for all the food they can eat.
How does this compare to the early days of the event?
The first few years of the All Mitsu Cookout, there were no sponsors or trophies. I gave away prizes for the different categories and we’d have the cookout at a park.
What advice would you have for anyone looking to organize an event elsewhere in the world?
I think knowing your audience is very important. I go to a lot of car events in my area and know a lot of Mitsubishi owners. I know what they want and try to deliver that. It takes planning and a little money to put events on. I’ve been to a lot of other car shows and other car events. I’ve learned a lot about how to put these things on by learning from others. Plus, I’ve been doing this for over 12 years, its hard to surprise me. LOL
Tell us about some of the special happenings at your event over the years.
Once in a while we get some big names show up to the All Mitsu Cookout. The very first Cookout had Brent Rau in attendance – and last year he came too. That is always fun to have a big name in drag racing show up.
How do you want your event to benefit Mitsubishi owners?
I want both the Cookout and the UMG to show Mitsubishi owners what is out there for other Mitsubishis. And also give them ideas on how to modify and take care of their cars. Plus I want them to see that there are plenty of other Mitsubishi owners out there trying to accomplish the same things.
What steps are you taking to make sure that happens?
Well, I’ll keep putting on events as long as there is good support for them.
How do you feel organizing an event compares to modifying a car?
Organizing an event, you pretty much know how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes modifying a car can give you a whole different result.
How has/have your car project(s) benefited from your involvement with this event?
Putting on events gets you in touch with a lot of different owners. I’ve made a lot of great friends over the years doing it. Those friends have been involved with my own projects. That has been a HUGE benefit over the years.
Consider the automotive community in general. Who or what inspires you?
That is a tough question. I’ve been doing it for a long time, so I’m not sure any one person inspires me, but I think the community as a whole might be the only inspiration I can think of.
Who has helped you the most along the way with your event? With your car?
It’s mostly the die hard members of my own club, Minnesota 3/S, that help the most. There is a group of about 10 members that come to most of my 3/S events. Those club members are my best volunteers. And most of those same people are the ones that help with any car projects.
Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Where is your home forum? How can people find you online?
I’m on Facebook. My home club and forum is www.mn3s.org I’m also on mitsustyle.com Mitsustyle is a Minnesota based car club for all Mitsubishi owners.
The 2010 All Mitsu Cookout is on August 28th. If you’re in the area, why not check it out? Grillin’ & chillin’ with a couple hundred of your Mitsubishi brothers and sisters. Get to know them.