Words By Mike Nichols
Pics By Michael Corazzelli
Board shorts, Hawaiian shirts and flip flops in hand Amy and I headed east to Greenfield Center, NY. The 2016 Rolling Bones’ annual Garage Night was going to be our Hot Valentine’s weekend full of romance!
“Come to Garage Night, we’d love to have you”, they cheered, “the sun always shines in Greenfield Center”. That was the King Bone’s promise to us at the 2016 GNRS.
We like to support our friends and we could sense the authentic sincerity that in Ken’s tone. So we jumped on a plane two weeks later and we were welcomed with record low temps at -13 and a wind chill touching -40. Oh yea, the sun was out but someone upstairs forgot to turn on the heat!
Lucky for us we packed our long-johns, knit hats, and our wool coats and had an epic weekend with the best people the Hot Rod community has to offer.
I’ve read the stories of Garage Night before and I’ve heard the legendary drinking tales. All true, but the experience that I’d like to relay runs deeper.
These Bones’ guys, Keith Cornell, Ken Schmidt and his son Matt Schmidt are the heart of these legendary rods, in a wooden barn nonetheless. A barn rich in family history, one that has supported the Cornell family since it’s razing nearly a century ago. Ken is an accomplished artist and craftsman, having built his own home from the square nails on up, he doesn’t take shortcuts or waiver from his truth. The youngest, Matt was the humble workhorse, his hands shared the likeness of meat hooks. Strong. Keith, is pointed and focused, his 188 mph Y-Block happens to be the fastest on earth! Together they share Commitment, Heart, Tradition, Family, Roots, Passion and Legacy. These men are true Americans.
Like the men behind them, you know what you get with a Bones’ Hot Rod. The cars are intentionally designed with a 1950’s land-speed-racing theme; you know one when you see one. That is the artistry within this group of men.
The barn was shy of heavy equipment, in-fact I’m not sure I saw a drill press (of course my eyes were frozen in their sockets). There were plenty of hand tools and relics of past builds on the walls. What spoke to me was the basic and simple nature of the oven that beers these rods, and the focus of these men. It was inspiring and enlightening.
During the weekend we were welcomed into the “Rolling Bones” family. Bone’s Hot Rod owners, new, old, and even future owners were on hand. Even the original instigators were there, Tom McIntyre and Dennis Varney, the guys that told Ken and Keith, “I want you to build me a car”. They kicked this whole family off, the “God Fathers” so to speak. This family is first class, dedicated to each other, to the experience of life with these Hot Rods.
Well, after I got soggy from too many cokes and pizza, even I longed to own a Rolling Bones’ barn built Hot Rod. I’m not sure it’ll ever happen and it would be impossible to duplicate the experience of being a steel-blooded sibling with this crew. So for now I’ll celebrate the time we had just Chilling with the Bones’!