The Crowne Plaza in Louisville, Kentucky played host to the 17th anniversary of UCE Car Club. UCE Car Club was originally founded as “Uso Car Club” in 1992. The word “Uso” means blood brother in the Samoan language, and is a reflection of the club’s mentality and family-like support system.
The founding chapter was formed in the Harbor Area of Los Angeles, California, and although Uso is a word borrowed from the Samoan language, a mixture of races and ethnicities made up the initial membership base. This diversity has remained, and still can be seen today within the different backgrounds of the club’s participating members. Uso prided itself on representing a wide variety of different cultures and backgrounds, and following that formula has helped the UCE C.C. to become one of the largest lowriding car clubs in the world.
The club chose to throw this year’s anniversary in Kentucky, in order to centralize the location in the best way possible to allow an equal distance of travel for the geographically diverse group of members and attendees. They simply wanted to make it easier for everybody to come to this year’s banquet. Midwest Regional President Sean Rosser, and his wife Lisa, organized the event in the luxurious hall of the Crowne Plaza. The elegant hall was big enough to hold four of the club’s finest cars, which were on display for all to see. These cars hailed from the different chapters of UCE, and included Bert’s ’62 Impala from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin chapter, Pat’s ’67 Cadillac from the Lima, Ohio chapter, and two rides from the Kentucky chapter; Jesse Smith’s ’86 Regal and Sean’s ’68 Coupe DeVille. These cars were admired by over 200 members, who came from all over the U.S. to support the event.
The celebration started off with a prayer by founder Kita Siliva Lealao, followed by a comedy routine featuring KJ of Cali Swinging. Once the buffet-style dinner ended, it was time to honor founder Kita, Eric Jimenez of the Harbor Area and Vince Merideth of the San Diego chapter, who all were inducted into the USO Hall of Fame for their service and commitment to the club. Other prestigious awards that were given out that night included two Colonel Awards, which are the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian in the state of Kentucky. To Kita’s surprise, the first was given to him for his commitment and dedication to the club. The second Colonel Award was given to Saul Vargas, for the years of support and photography he has provided UCE, while documenting the club’s events and success, since the club’s inception back in 1992.
The long night came and went in the blink of an eye, much like some of the memorable car shows that we have all attended in our lifetime. The club would like to thank everybody that attended, and would like to also send an extended thank you to Sean and Lisa for helping make this another UCE successful event. Plans are already underway for the twentieth anniversary gala, which will be held in San Francisco in 2012.