It’s been one week exactly since the GrimmSpeed team packed our rental with burgers, hotdogs and drinks for 700 people and only now are we coming down from the excitement and enthusiasm that we have for the Wicked Big Meet 2015 weekend. Held in Stafford Springs, CT, Wicked Big Meet is the largest Subaru festival in the world. In the world. In fact, it’s difficult to see just how big it is while your there, because in a single day, it’s not possible to take a look at every car on the grounds.
As is now tradition, on the Saturday before Wicked Big Meet, the GrimmSpeed team and ECS Performance team up to host a Pre-Meet GTG where ECS opens their shop up to the public and GrimmSpeed mans the grill and provides BBQ goodies for all in attendance. This year, two of us manned a large commercial grill for 5 hours straight, grilling over 500 burgers and 300 hot dogs. This event has become a great way to kickstart the Wicked Big weekend and is a fun, relaxed atmosphere for us to shoot the breeze with our favorite people. At 7pm when the event ended, we had just run out of food and packed up out trusty tent and tables in preparation for a long day on Sunday.
Bright and early on Sunday morning, we arrived at Stafford Motor Speedway and began setting up our booth. Despite the already sore feet and tired voices, this is, perhaps, the most exciting part of the day. The hustle and bustle of all of the vendors settings up their tents, the rumble of Subaru engines far and wide and the growing line of show-goers, eagerly awaiting entry.
Folks that opted for premium tickets with early entry come pouring in at 9:00am, catching all vendors by surprise, but it’s the push we need to finish setting up and settle in for 8hrs of talking, teaching, learning and laughing. In our booth this year, we were joined by Khanh’s 2015 STI, outfitted with every GrimmSpeed product that fits and Robert’s wicked STI swapped forester. These are the men behind the madness and their cars are perfect evidence that they truly are ’bout dat life’. We were also thrilled to have Howie back with his super clean WRB GR STI. Howie also joined us at Boxerfest, earlier this year in MD and is somehow on his third set of wheels since then. Last, but certainly not least, was Caleb’s crazy BRZ. Caleb is a long time sponsored driver and those in attendance last year might recall his ‘incident’ with a track wall during the Autox event. He was back badder than ever this year in his race-prepped BRZ and booth-goers loved poking around his caged setup.
The day was a blur and before we knew it, the crowd had migrated over to the awards and raffle. If you were part of that crowd, you probably missed the fun moments while vendors have some time to catch their breath and stumble around in a daze, wondering what had happened in the last 6hrs hours. We take stock of the product that we have left and begin tidying up the booth in preparation for the sprint to the finish. After the crowd has left, we tear down our booth area in record time, say our goodbyes and head back towards the hotel to clean up and find some dinner.
A single blog post can’t possibly explain just how awesome this event is, so a quick list of highlights will have to do. We chatted with Hiroshi Mori (Director of Product Development with STI) as he admired the GrimmSpeed parts in Caleb’s engine bay. We saw a whopping 5800 Subaru enthusiasts come through the gate next to our booth. David Higgins, legendary rally driver, came straight from his win at STPR to give ride-alongs in the Subaru STI S206. Afterwards, he made his way to the GrimmSpeed booth to sign Khanh and Caleb’s dashboards. We saw $25k+ in raffle prizes given away. Subaru debuted the newest exciting color – Hyperblue. STI brought their 2015 24hr Nurburgring car to the states for the first time ever. The list goes on, but the only way to understand just how awesome this event is is to attend. Make it happen in 2016.
Finally, we owe Robert Champion, Khanh Hoon Duong and the entire WBM crew of volunteers a massive thank you. Around GrimmSpeed, WBM weekend is our Super Bowl. Although we do like to joke around and participate in the weekends shenanigans, we take the opportunity very seriously and there are no words to show the amount of appreciation that we have for what you guys put into this weekend each year. We’d also like to thank all of the other vendors and sponsors for their participation in helping make WBM the massive success that it is. Of course, WBM wouldn’t be what it is without you crazy Subaru fans (and I do mean crazy). The excitement and enthusiasm that we saw coming through the front gate all day is contagious and no amount of sales/profit/growth/etc could possibly overshadow the satisfaction that we get from seeing that. THAT is why we do what we do and you can expect to find us at Wicked Big Meet for as long as our feet and voices will allow it. See you next year!