48 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE
The judges of the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance come from various walks of life and from all around the United States. They range in age from 30 to 90 and include some of the most knowledgeable and capable individuals in the antique and classic boating community. Some are professional restorers, some are amateur restorers, but, most importantly, all of them have a passion for wooden boats and have been actively involved in the use and presentation of them for years.
Concours tries to align the judges and escorts with their area of expertise, and with so many different boats in the Marque class, the talent is spread across the entire field of boats.
THE POINT SYSTEM
The Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance strives to raise the bar each year, earning its reputation as the most prestigious boat show in North America. The show uses its own 100-point system. Each boat is judged on its own merit and multiple 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place awards can be won in each class. Boats are compared to each other when selecting Perpetual Awards. The collective goal is to reward those who have restored their boats to the authenticity and standard as they appeared when they were shipped from the factory.
The judging process begins long before the exhibitor boats pull in to the docks at Obexer’s Boat Company. Each year the panel of judges review the previous year’s show to confirm what the previous judging teams have learned, what discoveries have been made and, most importantly, work on forming a consensus about what constitutes a fair deduction for a certain flaw or incorrect item. The teams of judges also do extensive research to get to know each boat and get an upfront and personal look at its history. They assemble reams of documentation to substantiate and validate how each boat was built including build sheets, vintage literature, and original photographs.
In addition, Concours has a team of technical advisors comprised of experts who inspect each boat as well as a team of operational checkers to ensure engines, gauges, lights and other accessories are all operational. This information is provided to the judges and is incorporated into the score sheet.
Concours Chief Judge Terry Fiest stresses three things:
- Judge what is in front of you today – not what it used to be or might be one day.
- Base your decisions on what you know to be true – not what you think you know. Facts are verifiable, opinions are just that – opinions.
- This should be fun for all involved! After all, at the end of the day it’s just a “boat show.” One of the best in the country, but still just a boat show.
MEET THE JUDGES
Foundation Committee Member
Terry Fiest has been a judge at the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance for 23 years. He has served as Chief Judge for the past 11 years. Terry graduated from high school in 1960 and enlisted in the Army. During the Vietnam build up, he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. He went on to attend the Army flight training program and flew Helicopters in Vietnam. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Tampa and a Masters Degree from Central Michigan University. He retired from the Army in 1986 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with over 26 years of service and settled in Newport News, Virginia.
Terry is a retired businessman and lives in Orlando, Florida. Terry and his wife, Bobbie Fiest, have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Over the past 35 years, Terry has immersed himself in the hobby of restoring his own boats. His restorations include engine work. He is a recognized ACBS judge. Terry has judged at Algonac, Clayton, Coeur d’ Alene, was the lead judge at Lake Winnipesauke for two years, and has been the Chief Judge at the Keels and Wheels show for the past six years.
Terry initially joined the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of ACBS, and helped found the Tide Water Chapter in Hampton/Norfolk Virginia. When his job transferred him to Orlando in 1995, he became involved with the Sunnyland Chapter. He is a past President of the Sunnyland Chapter and, for the past 22 years, he has been the Chairman of the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival, formerly the Mount Dora Show. Through his leadership, this show has grown into the benchmark for ACBS shows. He is also a past Director at Large for the Antique and Classic Boat Society, and a Past President of the Chris Craft Antique Boat Club. In March of 2017, he was inducted in the Hagerty Hall of Fame.
Terry considers himself a hobbyist and attributes his success to a mentoring process of learning and teaching others. Terry’s philosophy is, “The hobby is really about people and the boat is the common bond.”
Boat Entry Qualifications
Brian Robinson is a noted antique and classic runabout historian, restorer, and consultant from Southern California. He serves as the Chief Judge for ACBS International (The Antique & Classic Boat Society). Brian was a frequent contributor to the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club quarterly magazine, The Brass Bell. Brian is dedicated to the research and documentation of vintage speedboats, specializing in the prewar Gar Wood, Hacker, and Chris-Craft marques, and has a passion for historical accuracy. Brian and his wife Michelle live in Fallbrook, CA, and own Robinson Restoration, a renowned restoration shop which caters to high-end vintage boats all over the country, also in Fallbrook, CA.
2021 JUDGES COMING SOON
Winning an award at the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance is the embodiment of fulfilling a dream and receiving recognition which will remain an everlasting benchmark in boating history. In addition to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place “in class” awards, Concours presents its Perpetual Trophies, which are bestowed to the most meticulously-restored, highest-point boats each year. There are now 17 trophies in all, the oldest having been awarded every year since the first Concours in 1973. It is the highly-coveted silver Overall Best of Show, and it is why we say “to the winner goes silver.” One of the newest, first awarded in 2003, is an elegant glass pedestal bowl with wooden base for Best Original Tahoe Boat. All of the Perpetual Trophies are made possible by the generous assistance of endowers, many who have competed and won their own share of precious Concours silver, crystal, and mahogany over the past 48 years of this event.
One of the most sought after-awards at the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance is the People’s Choice Award. Every year, show attendees get to become a judge and vote for their favorite boat. The votes are branded tickets that are given to each person as they enter the show. After walking the docks, these amateur judges drop their votes in the ballot box at the center of the Concours Shops. The votes are tallied over both days. The winner is awarded during a highly anticipated announcement right before the conclusion of the show and the fan favorite Roar Off.