The JCNA "Biennial Meet" was the product of more than one club member's imagination. As the club grew in stature during the 1960s and 1970s, members in every Region looked at the annual championships held by other British car clubs and thought: "We can do that too!"
The event came together for the first time in 1983 when the Rocky Mountain Jaguar Club decided: "Now or never!" They picked a date, booked hotels and got in touch with JCNA headquarters for a sanction. The result, held at 8,000 feet in Snowmass, next door to Aspen, was the first Biennial.
1983 - Snowmass, Co: The first JCNA Biennial hosted by the Rocky Mountain Jaguar Club. Close to 100 Jaguars were entered. More than 200 people came to work, spectate and enjoy themselves. Most of the worker bees were from the Denver/Colorado Springs area but the chief judge came from San Francisco and teams of three judges often represented three different clubs. Although with an accent on the Western half of the continent, it was JCNAs first true "national" show. Not only did we have a concours, filling three parking fields up a slope at the base of a ski run, but there was a rally and a timed event at a small nearby road circuit.
1983: Jaguar recognized it as such. The speaker at the banquet, held outside under a tent under Rocky Mountain stars, was Graham W. Whitehead, president of Jaguar in North America. Slides of the entries were shown throughout the dinner, reminding everyone of the caliber of the competition and the guests understood that they were taking part in a special event, the beginning of a tradition. Most expressed the hope that it would be repeated regularly in future, bringing JCNA members and cars from thousands of miles apart, together in companionship and competition. Their hopes have been realized, every other year since, bringing us to Phoenix in 2003 for the eleventh biennial event, now known as the JCNA Challenge Championship. Look at the Jaguars on the field at the various biennial meets, some of which may have been on the field in Snowmass, Colorado and picture where this show has been held since that momentous weekend in
1985 - Lake of the Ozarks :Hosted by the Heart of America Jaguar Club, Barry Greenstein as meet Chair of this Biennial offered Midwest hospitality, water-skiing on the lake, rallying around mountain roads and a cascade of Jaguars spilled around the edge of the Tan-Ta-Ra resort golf course. Our guest speaker was Rivers Fletcher, famous author of Jaguar books and vintage racer. More folks came from the east for this and the number of cars was about the same but there was plenty of talk about where the next one would be. It was time to go further east.
1987 - Boston, Ma : Biennial number three took place outside Boston in the midst of an August drought! Never did concours entrants spend more time dusting, and dusting again, and again and. We had a New England shore dinner in Boston Harbor. A larger group of cars was entered from the many clubs in the Northeastern USA and eastern Canada. For many members, the guest speaker was the main event. F.R.W. "Lofty" England had been Jaguar racing manager at Le Mans in the 1950s and rose to become chief executive of the company on Sir William Lyons' retirement. Lofty told racing stories for an hour, giving us a treat that, unfortunately, would not be repeated. The Jaguar Association of New England did a superb job as hosts.
1989 - Bend, Or : From Boston Harbor, still looking faintly like tea, we went far west across the continent to the Inn of the Seventh Mountain in Bend, Oregon, once again in the heart of a ski area, surrounded by mountains. The distance involved held down the number of cars entered but the quality of competition was high and there were a significant number of entries from Canada. Sightseeing included places like Crater Lake. We were housed in resort condos. At Bend, the slalom an important part of the program, supervised by Jim Brown and, for the first time in a sanctioned JCNA show, using the figure-eight format that has become our championship standard. The Jaguar Owners Club of Oregon, based in Portland, hosted the show under the guidance of Barbara Grayson. Guest speaker was Paul Skilleter; editor of what has become Jaguar World Monthly, the world's leading commercial Jaguar publication.
1991- St Louis: Stepping back across the country, the 1991 Biennial went to the Midwest under the auspices of the Jaguar Association of Greater St. Louis. The location was a first; in the heart of downtown instead of out in the country. Shiny Jaguars were ranked in rows under shade behind the restored central railroad station and not far from the famous Arch by the Mississippi. Members from the heart of the country brought a sizable number of entries and Jaguar took the opportunity to display, for the first time, the re-styled 1992 XJS. Guest speaker was Jaguar's then Public Affairs vice-president, John Crawford. He startled the audience by announcing that, by the end of the year, the historic relationship; between JCNA and Jaguar Cars would be severed and the club would become an independent organization, beginning in 1992. With dinner on a riverboat and Missouri hospitality, this was a memorable show.
1993 - Mahwah, NJ: The Jaguar Touring Club organized this biennial at Jaguar's North American headquarters in Mahwah, New Jersey. Close to 150 entries were there, setting a record for the concours, staged in Jaguar's parking lot. A Slalom was run in a separate section. Cars on hand included the famous Green Hornet prototype, once the personal transportation of John Lyons, son of Sir William. Everyone attending had a chance to tour the headquarters building with its unusual architecture. A unique dinner evening was arranged on board a tour boat, which circled the Statue of Liberty and cruised partway up the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge before turning around and offering the spectacle of lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center, which still dominated the skyline. Old friend Rivers Fletcher was guest speaker again.
1995 - Milwaukee : The association of a car club and a zoo could have negative connotations but Wisconsin Jaguars Limited, hosts of the biennial meet in Milwaukee, had a better idea. They staged their own concours and the 1995 biennial at the Milwaukee zoo. Classic Jaguars were dispersed along walkways and outside cages of other exotic beasts. Zoo visitors wandered freely among the Jaguars while judges took notes and checked for authenticity. It was a successful show, which also offered, naturally, a brewery tour and a taste of Lake Michigan whitefish. Surprisingly, it was at Milwaukee where a number of more unusual Lyons products were entered, including two Austin Swallows, a C-type, a D-type and an XK-SS. Jaguar Cars sponsorship as more in evidence with a special booth set up for Select Edition Jaguars.
1997 - Stratton Mountain, Vt: The Jaguar Association of New England once again took up the challenge of organizing the biennial event but moved well away from the August heat in Boston, basing the show at the Stratton Mountain ski resort in Vermont. Entries came from as far south as Florida and from Ottawa to the north. The resort featured a quaint replica of a street in Switzerland with little shops and restaurants, all of which were available for shopping and recreation during the meet. Concours entries were parked strategically throughout the facility and tucked in corners near the shops, offering tourists a good chance to check out the beauty of the cars. Slalom fever had struck the club by then and the famed figure eight course was set up on the upper level of the hotel-parking garage. Vermont countryside and local brand-name outlet stores kept the shoppers busy. As it turned out, this was the last show to have the name "Biennial Meet."
1999 - Colorado Springs :
The growth of the Biennial meets through the years had made them more and more difficult for a single JCNA affiliate club to set up and operate. In 1998, the Board of Directors named Barbara Grayson from Oregon as Special Events Coordinator and gave her the task of managing the 1999 biennial, which was called "The International Jaguar Festival." She based the show at the historic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, marketing it as the vacation of a lifetime for JCNA members and families. Her volunteer organization made up of members from several clubs, set up a rally on mountain roads, a slalom in the parking lot of Pikes Peak Raceway and a group tour up Pikes Peak with the road closed for us!
Closing the week was the concours where Jaguars were arranged on a grassy golf course slope 2500 feet above Colorado Springs. Everything from an SS 100 formerly owned by Dave Garroway to the newest XJ 220 glistened under cloudless early-autumn skies.
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(courtesy South Florida Jaguar Club)
2001- Franklin TN :
Following the Colorado Springs event, JCNA re-named the show the "JCNA Challenge Championship. "The 2001 organizational assignment went to Jerry and Kathy Nell from Wisconsin. In search of history, they found Franklin, Tennessee, site of a major Civil War battle and offering a fully restored 19th century downtown area surrounded by modern hotels and only a few miles south of Nashville with its music and night life.
On the day of the concours, more than 175 Jaguars were on hand, lining the quaint streets and arranged in a circle in the central square. Featured was the largest number of Jaguar C and D-types ever assembled in one spot and including some famous cars with long lists of racing accomplishments.Once again, a rally and slalom drew big entries. Most folks also visited the nearby Jack Daniel's distillery as well as hitting the music bars in Nashville.
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(courtesy South Florida Jaguar Club)
2003: Phoenix, Az.
To celebrate the tenth edition of the event, Phoenix and the surrounding scenic desert and mountains seemed a perfect choice. The rally visiting the famous Sedona's Red Rocks, a taste of the old west at a ghost town and the concours held in Phoenix's Heritage Square were some of the highlights enjoyed by well over 100 jaguars driven from as far as Canada and the East Coast. In charge of making it all happening, "local" Dennis Eynon, JCNA director Lisa Hendrix and the Jaguar Club of Central Arizona crew elevated the JCNA biennial meet to new standards of organization.