The annual PacNW Supra Nationals was held a few weekends ago and I was pleased to cover the event in Vancouver Washington…not to be confused with Vancouver, BC. Supra Nationals consist of a drag day (Friday), dyno day (Saturday) and a show day(Sunday). Before this event I was unfamiliar with what PacNW Supra Nationals is and I needed to know more about it. I ran into one of the OG’s who has been doing this since PacNW Supra Nationals started. Keith Hart was more than happy to answer a few questions I had.

What made you guys decide to form the group?

“I got a Supra back in 1996 and saw that there was a Bay Area Supra group and figured why the heck not. So in 1997 I just started one. I also started the annual Supras Invade Las Vegas events that same year. It was a great way to get like-minded people together in some way – mostly online but also in person at various gatherings”

When did PACNW Supra start hosting their own meets?

“July 19, 1997 we had our first fun run and did quite a few over the initial years. I think the first PacNW Supra Nationals was in 2001 or 2002. They have never drawn the #s that SILV drew but they are a LOT of fun!”

So did invade Vegas start with a cruise to Vegas or was it just a spot everyone flocked to?

“That was a spot people flocked to. At that time, the largest Supra event was drawing about 70 Supras to a single location. That was over on the east coast. I wanted to top it. So in 1997 we drew about 40 Supras, mostly from the west but had one Supra driven in from New Orleans and some owners flew in from Texas and other parts. Then in 1998 we doubled to about 80 Supras – hitting my goal. In 1999 we nearly doubled again to more than 150 Supras. Smashing that goal and setting SILV as “The Largest Supra Event on the Planet. In 2004 or 2005 we hit 200+ Supras. And then did that again in 2008 – the best SILV event ever.”

This event was different for me as it was to be hosted where I work. All the events I have been to thus far, I show up do what I need to do and go on my merry way. It’s different to see an event put together behind the scenes when so many of us never see what goes on for events like this. Being a part of it I learned a lot and it was a great learning experience for myself and others who helped set up the 2017 PacNW Supra Nationals event. Vancouver Toyota’s General Manager, Phillip Cianni, was nice enough to let us host the event at Vancouver Toyota which is a big deal to some of the Supra guys…even Toyota enthusiasts. I wanted to see what his thoughts were on the show.

I believe this was the first event Vancouver Toyota has hosted like this before, is that right?

“This is the first event such as this Vancouver Toyota has hosted and by the feedback I have received, it will not be the last.”

What was the overall goal for hosting Supra Nationals at Vancouver Toyota?
“The overall goal was to not only support Supra and auto enthusiasts in general but to generate some awareness or activity among the individuals who participated, our staff and gain some community interest and involvement. With this occurring, it opens up doors for future opportunity and to increase the number of attendees as well as participants and even vendors.”

Do you feel that event will bring more customers to the store in the future?

“I feel this event will increase our client base by offering up different events and generating more awareness of the dealership as well as support we offer to auto enthusiasts. Activity breeds activity.”

Will Vancouver Toyota Host more shows/meets like this in the future?

We will definitely host more events, hopefully growing them and increasing the number of individuals involved. It is good for our staff to have the autonomy to organize market and coordinate the logistics of these events as it grows that individual showing their passion or interests outside of dealership life. “

“All involved did a great job with this event, in the future, more marketing and advertising is crucial so that our internal and external clients are aware of the event taking place. Communication is key so exploit these events so we can maximize attendance and awareness. Great job overall…grow it moving forward. “

Words & Photos: Chris Haas