24th Annual Keels & Wheels chalks up another big success

June 1st, 2019

Seabrook Mayor Pro-tem Natalie Picha, from left, Mayor Thom Kolupski and City Manager Gayle Cook, along with Economic Development Corp. President Paul Dunphey, can hardly contain their happiness as the rainstorm moves on and the sun comes out just in time for their Keels & Wheels kickoff party on the elegant yacht Liberty Belle at Lakewood Yacht Club.

By Mary Alys Cherry

The 24th Annual Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance, the weekend-long, nationally acclaimed classic car and vintage wooden boat show that takes place each spring at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, was another rousing success – even managing to dodge a damaging rainstorm that swept through the area.

This year’s proceeds will benefit Today’s Harbor for Children, which opens its door to abandoned and abused children.

It was an especially happy event for two Texans who held the winning raffle tickets for a new car and a new boat, donated by The Jon and Jacqueline Hodges Charitable Organization and Texas Coast Yachts – Jason Tieman of League City and Lori Hunt of Dallas.

As the Friday afternoon rainstorm that threatened the popular event headed north, leaving all the dashing Keels & Wheels automobiles snug as a bug in the rug under their protective covers until the event opened Saturday, Seabrook Mayor Thom Kolupski, Economic Development Director Paul Chavez and the EDC Board headed by EDC President Paul Dunphey got the party started on the Dunpheys 67-foot yacht, Liberty Belle, in Lakewood’s inner harbor just as the sun peaked through the clouds.

Among the dozens of guests at the kickoff party, you might have spotted Seabrook City Manager Gayle Cook, with her husband, Kevin; Mayor Jon Keeney of nearby Taylor Lake Village, Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther and his wife, Fabiana; Economic Alliance President and CEO Chad Burke with his wife, Shannon; Seabrook Mayor Pro-team Natalie Picha and husband, Darrell; and City Councilmen Jeff Larson and Ed Klein and his wife, Adel, along with hostess Amy Dunphey, to name a few of those munching on hors d’oeuvres and enjoying the cool bay breezes.

It was not until Saturday that Jason Tieman of League City learned he had won the 2019 Lincoln MKC SUV from BayWay Lincoln as this year’s official raffle vehicle, valued at more than $39,000. Dark Knight Motor Group provided a Cermamic Coating Package, valued at close to $5,000 for the Lincoln MKC, which includes Feynlab Self Heal Plus. Dark Knight Motor Group specializes in the aesthetic rejuvenation and protection of automotive and marine vehicles and is based in Kemah. Lori Hunt of Dallas won the 2019 NC 795 Jeanneau Power Boat, 24’4” with Yamaha 200 engine and air-conditioned cabin, valued at more than $100,000. Dark Knight Motor Group also provided a Ceramic Coating Package valued at close to $6,400 for the power boat which includes Feynlab Hydro Marine Ceramic Coating and the installation of Glassparency Hydrophobic Coating.

Another highlight of the event was the $100,000 dollar painting on display of “The Bugati in the Lake” provided by Gremillion Gallery and sponsored by Bay Area Houston and Gulf Coast Mariner Magazines.

Keels & Wheels, chaired by Bob Fuller, welcomes approximately 200 cars and 100 boats each spring, and has raised more than $1.8 million for local charities, while drawing thousands of participants and spectators from all over the U.S. and Europe.

Proceeds from the 2019 event will again benefit Today’s Harbor for Children, who mission is to provide a home and safe environment for abandoned and abused children and healthy, comprehensive care for children and families in crisis.