Larry Smith was the driving force and spirit behind the Grand Prix’s car shows in the early days. His passion for cars was exceeded only by his love for people and a desire to see them enjoy their cars. The 2,000 strong International Car Show at Schenley Park is the result of Larry’s work.
Each year in his memory we award the Larry Smith Award to the person who best exemplifies the spirit and commitment that Larry showed for many years. The ceremony is held at 3:00 PM on Sunday at the American Car Show Registration Tent.
Larry Smith Award Winners
2019 Cliff Laschon
Cliff joined the PVGP back in 2012 when he brought the Cars N Coffee display to our event. Pittsburgh Cars N Coffee is Western Pennsylvania’s Premier Exotic and Modern Performance Automotive Enthusiast Group and each of the last 8 years the exotic car show gets bigger and better and we have Cliff to thank for that. Cliff also serves on the PVGP’s Car Show Committee and Operating Committee.
John Kerr is the face of the Grand Prix at so many events it’s easier to list the events that he doesn’t attend and work behind the scenes…the only one we can think of is the Blacktie Gala. John is not a tuxedo kind guy! But he is the kinda guy who does whatever is needed from hauling generators to repairing golf carts. He always has the answer and can fix anything! Best of all, he has enlisted his family and their friends and the whole crew anchors the clubhouse team at Schenley.
Ed Rice was a fitting recipient of the Larry Smith Award during our 35th anniversary. Ed has guided the Porsche Club activities at the PVGP for many years and has been a supporter of the Allegheny Region of the Porsche Club of America. He was responsible for bringing the Janis Joplin Porsche 356 to our event in 2105 and has elevated the Porsche presence at the PVGP, which is hard to do when the bar is set so high! Speaking of bars, Ed’s law firm, Sherrard, German & Kelly, is also a PVGP sponsor. Ed also serves on the Car Show Committee and has a real passion for the PVGP mission and charities.
Anybody who has volunteered with the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix knows Cathy Dernorsek. The longer you’re with the organization the more you appreciate her. Always smiling and always ready to offer help. Cathy started with us back in 1985, 32 years ago! Cathy does so much, serving on the PVGP Executive Committee, managing our volunteers and supervising the security at Schenley Park…how does she do it? Cathy is passionate for our charities and her husband Jack is also involved too. It’s all in the family.
Greg has been a key part of the Grand Prix since 1997. He has served on our Executive Committee along with his wife Christine. Greg was also the Car Show Chairman for many years and currently is the captain of our ever popular Walnut Street Invitational Car Show. If there is a PVGP event Greg is usually there – although we never know which car he will bring, could be a Mustang, Porsche 911, maybe even his Mercury Cyclone GT!
2014 Meghan Speer
Meghan manages the Asian Car Show at Schenley Park and has an eternal smile on her face the entire race weekend. Meghan works year round on the management of the car shows with her parents, Bob and Mary Ann (pictured with her to the left). Meghan began volunteering in 2000 and each year she improves the Asian Car Show – now her father must find more room for the Subaru’s, Nissan’s and Mazda’s!
2013 Eric Zagrocki
Eric has been influential in the growth of the BMW Club and establishing the BMW car display as a premier show at Schenley Park as well as a major sponsor. His tireless work over the last 6 years has resulted in over $100,000 donated to our charities. It must be noted the Bill Permar, Brett Sutton and the rest of the Allegheny Region BMW Club work year round to bring in additional sponsors. The BMW show on German Hill has become a destination for spectators. Eric and the Club also host the BMW tent during our Historic Race weekend at PIRC and they bring in several dozen BMW racers to add to the excitement.
2012 Bud Osbourne
For the second year in a row Bud Osbourne, and his wife Cindy, stepped up to help with the Marque of the Year festivities. It is a year long effort and requires coordination of all activities related to MG’s during the PVGP Race Week. Jerry Longstreth, PVGP Executive Committee member who worked alongside Bud and Cindy said it best “For the past two years Bud has immersed himself in the Grand Prix. His leadership helped elevate our marque efforts to new heights. Mustang is the Marque in 2013 so unless the Osbourne’s buy a pony car soon it looks like they will get a break to enjoy British Car Day next year.
2011 Paul Miller
Paul handles the massive task of our car show registration. For the last seven years Paul, and his wife Sharon, have managed the database of over 1,200 cars that sign up for our International Car Show. Each entry includes endless columns of information that needs input on a timely and accurate basis. Additionally, Paul also handles the databases for all of our Race Week events such as our Blacktie Gala and our Kick-Off Rallye. As the event draws near the workload increases exponentially. Paul burns the midnight oil to get it done and never complains. Larry Smith would be proud to see how large the car shows have become and he would be equally proud of the attitude and passion that the Miller’s exhibit.
2010 Don Privett
Don is one of our hardest working and well liked volunteers. His enthusiasm for our event is incredible. You can find him volunteering or showing his MG at most events but he dedicates the bulk of his time to managing the Waterfront Car Cruise, Vendor Village and the Kick-Off Rallye. Don joined our volunteer team in 2008 and we’re sure glad he did.
2009 Bernie Martin
Bernie Martin joined the Grand Prix in 2008 and immediately jumped in with both feet, chairing the Italian Marque of the Year for 2008. He expanded on the concept the next year and established the highly successful Italian Cortile Car Show that grows each year. He also manages our growing social media program. His enthusiasm and efforts are boundless!
2008 Ken Merusi
The 2008 recipient was Ken Merusi. He captained the Walnut Street Invitational Car Show for many years in addition to assisting with the International Car Show in Schenley Park. Thankfully Ken has also continued Larry’s wonderful tradition of corned beef sandwiches for invited guests. Ken and his Auburn are always on the American Car Show Fairway on Saturday and Sunday at Schenley Park. Congratulations Ken and thanks for all that you do to make the PVGP Cars Shows something of which Larry would be proud.
2007 Jerry Longstreth
PVGP Car Show Coordinator Ron George (left) presents the 2007 Larry Smith Award to Jerry Longstreth. Jerry is active in many PVGP events and his wife Barbara assists with merchandise sales. Jerry has been a member of the PVGP Executive Committee and works tirelessly year-round on the car shows and the marque of the year. Jerry joined the Grand Prix in 1989 and his wife Barbara joined him in 1992 – what a team!
2006 The Berrington’s
PVGP Car Show Chairman Bob Speer (left) presents the 2006 Larry Smith award to Chuck and Jeanne Berrington. Chuck and Jeanne are longtime Grand Prix supporters and members of the Three Rivers Ford Model A Club. Sadly, Jeanne passed away on 1-3-14, she will be greatly missed.
We have lost track of the complete list of the previous winners if you can help us fill in the blanks please email Bob Speer.