2008 International EOC/ROC Combo Meet Held In Columbus, Ohio
The 2008 International Combo Meet of the Element Owners Club and Ridgeline Owners Club was held in Columbus, Ohio from June 19-22. The combo meet was the first of its kind, as both clubs had held their own national meets in previous years. Eighty-four Element Owners Club (EOC) members and 25 Ridgeline Owners Club (ROC) members and their guests made the drive to Columbus for the festivities. In total, the members and guests (about 175 people) represented 30 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. One member drove nearly 2,000 miles to be in attendance at the meet!
On Thursday, June 19th, members began to arrive and the fun began when a large group of them drove to a Columbus Sonic restaurant and occupied most of the lot for a couple of hours. Later that night, the meet-and-greet continued in the official hotel parking lot.
There were two daily “big events” planned for this year’s meet. Friday included a trip to Honda’s East Liberty Plant where the Civic, CR-V and Element are built. One hundred and fifty lucky individuals drove in a long caravan from the hotel to East Liberty. They day began with lunch provided by Honda and several presentations about the plant, Honda R&D and the Honda Element. Participants were then taken on a limited tour of the plant which was followed by a tailgate reception in front of plant. This was timed nicely between shifts at the plant so that Honda employees could interact with the owners on their way into or out of work. It was a great opportunity for owners to thank those who built their Elements and for the employees to see how the Elements are used and how they have been modified or personalized.
Friday night was intentionally a “free night” with nothing on the agenda so that members could explore Columbus in groups or on their own. Many who had planned on dinner at a local establishment did not make it further than the parking lot of the hotel. As it turns out, one member had a BBQ grill attached to the hitch on his Element. He was flipping burgers, brats and pork chops and there was an array of other food selections to accommodate the meat choices. So, with a simple invitation and the favorable aroma of food cooking and fun to be had, many of us chose to stay at the hotel and eat outside in a large group. Thanks to those who were involved in getting the food and then being generous enough to share!
Saturday’s big event was indeed “big”. Our group was given the opportunity to visit Honda’s Transportation Research Center (TRC), which is located just south of the East Liberty Plant. Once we were parked inside the grounds, we boarded charter buses that drove us back inside of TRC. Our day would be spent at TRC’s Performance Dynamics Area, where there were several items on display, including demonstrations of the rock drop into the back of a Ridgeline, the 4wd Ridgeline demonstration and the cut white-body Ridgeline. Lunch, once again, was provided by Honda to our members. And after many had an opportunity to eat, other exciting demonstrations and demo rides took place. Members were lucky enough to get to watch the Honda Element D drifter burn through over $2000 in tires as it ripped and smoked its way around the lot. And, the Ridgeline engineers demonstrated some great features of the Ridgeline in a way that can only be seen at TRC. We were truly lucky to have had this opportunity. You can read more details about the Ridgeline demonstrations at www.PickupTrucks.com.
We closed out our annual meet with a buffet dinner and party at the Dave & Buster’s restaurant in Hilliard. It was a great way to wrap up our biggest meet yet. After a great meal and some great conversation, a short message was given to the audience by Tom McAllister, founder and community manager for Element Owners Club and Ridgeline Owners Club. Following the message, Tom and Larry (aka “spdrcr5”) held a prize drawing and gave away thousands of dollars in prizes to the members. There were enough prizes that every member took something home with them. With that in mind, a big thank you must be given out to our 2008 event sponsors, including:
- 303 Products
- 5s Dude Door Sills (and more)
- Backcountry Edge
- Cloud Rider
- H-and-A Accessories
- Honda of Marysville
- Mechanix Wear
- Meguiar's Inc.
- Murdock Industrial
- Portland Business Graphics
- Siteworthy, Inc.
- Southcoast Accessories
- Truxxx Lift Kits
- Tuttle Images
A meet like this one, with so many exclusive offerings thanks to Honda, may never be topped. It will be a memory that many of us will cherish forever. Thanks to the kind, fun folks at Honda’s East Liberty Plant for having us back again. And thanks to the Honda R&D crew who worked with us to make Saturday’s TRC visit possible. And thanks to the many members who made long drives with expensive gas prices to be a part of this exciting event.