Historic fort in Texas to be site of inaugural Groesbeck Festival of Motoring

Concours and closed-road time trials featured in new Labor Day weekend event

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Large arrow is adjacent to Fort Parker and marks the finish line for the Grand Prix time trials | Mike Satterfield photos

It’s likely that you’ve never heard of Groesbeck, Texas, or its neighboring community of Mexia, which with about 7,500 residents is nearly twice as large. But Groesbeck is where Mike Satterfield has decided to set up shop and is organizing the inaugural Groesbeck Grand Prix Festival of Motoring, a collector car and vintage racing festival that will include the Mexia Concours. 

The dates are September 5-6, the middle of the Labor Day weekend holiday, and Satterfield says he expects to be able to keep those dates and plans to start ticket sales sometime in July.

The concours, limited to 50 selected vehicles, will be held within the walls of the historic Fort Parker. The vintage racing part of the festival will involve a 1.5-mile time trial on a closed section of Texas highway.

Satterfield’s goal is to create an affordable and grassroots version of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but in central Texas. For the orientation of non-Texans, Groesbeck is located around 100 miles south of Dallas and about 40 miles east of Waco.

If Satterfield’s name seems familiar, it’s likely because of his website, “The Gentleman Racer: Life at Speed,” or perhaps because you’ve been a customer of M&P Speed Shop or The Original Cowgirl clothing. He’s also the creative director for clothing maker RBR Inc., which is based in his native Southern California.

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Though a SoCal native, Satterfield grew up on his family’s cattle ranch 60 miles from Los Angeles. Doing a lot of travel as an automotive writer and photographer, he grew tired of 5-hour drives to catch flights at LAX. So a couple of years ago, he put his possessions in storage when he accepted a 4-month assignment in Japan and decided to relocate when he got back to the U.S. 

Old Fort Parker will house the concours within its grounds

He wanted a small-town atmosphere with no more than a 90-minute drives to a major airport and discovered Groesbeck, where he’s in the process of renovating a century-old building. In addition to working with a team to stage the car festival in early September, Satterfield and his fiancé are planning their wedding for the end of that same month.

Many car events — from local shows to major concours — aren’t fun or accessible, Satterfield said, and are not attracting anyone except those already committed to the car hobby. 

“There’s no shade. No food. Nothing to do so if you’re taking anyone who is not a hardcore vintage car person; after 30 minutes they’re asking ‘when are we leaving’?”

Satterfield promises that the Grosebeck and Mexia events will not be “a parade for old guys.” 

“We’re trying to expand to another generation,” he said, adding that car clubs in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio are planning road rallies with the festival as their destination. 

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The festival also will be a fund-raiser for the Drive Toward a Cure charity that supports Parkinson’s Disease research and patient care.

Fall car-show calendar filling quickly

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the fall car-show and concours calendar continues to evolve and fill to overflowing some dates. Here’s the updated schedule, based on official announcements, as of April 14, 2020: 

August 9-16 — Concours at Pasadera, Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals, Street Rod Nationals Southeast (Kentucky), Goodguys Great American Nationals (Pennsylvania)

August 19-20 — London Concours

August 21-23 — Morgan Adams Concours d’Elegance (Colorado), Geneva (Illinois) Concours d’Elegance, Street Rod Route 66 Nationals (New Mexico), Goodguys West Coast Nationals (California) (plus the Indianapolis 500)

August 27-30 — Corvettes at Carlisle, Fountain Valley (California), Artmobilia Weekend (Carmel, Indiana) (plus the rescheduled New York International Auto Show)

September 4-7 (Labor Day weekend) — Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance, Lime Rock Historic Festival, Groesbeck Grand Prix Festival of Motoring (Texas), Crescent Beach Concours d’Elegance, Sonoma Speed Festival, Foothills Motoring Festival (Pinehurst, North Carolina), Royal Concours of Elegance (England)

September 11-13 — Goodwood Revival, Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance, Vail Classic, EyesOn Design, Goodguys Colorado Nationals, Wisconsin Dells Automotion

September 18-20 — Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, New York City Concours, Dayton Concours d’Elegance, Oregon Festival of Cars, LaJolla Concours d’Elegance, Street Rod Nationals Northeast (Vermont), Arizona FuelFest (plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans)

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September 25-27 — Salon Prive (England), Telluride Festival, Ironstone Concours d’Elegance (California), St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance (Maryland), Goodguys Lone Star Nationals (Texas)

October 2-4 — Audrian’s Newport Concours d‘Elegance, Fall Carlisle, Street Rod Nationals South (Knoxville, Tennessee), Goodguys Del Mar Nationals (California)

October 9-11 — Chico Concours d’Elegance (California)

October 16-18 — Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, Keels & Wheels, Lake Mirror Concours d’Elegance (Florida)

October 23-25 — Las Vegas Concours d’Elegance (plus the Mille Miglia race/rally)

October 30-November 1 — Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance, Copperstate 1000 vintage rally car show, Western Street Rod Nationals (Bakersfield, California), Luftgekuhlt 7 (Durham, North Carolina)

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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