Seven halls in seven days
Florida pair ends their flight of fame at the NASCAR hall in Charlotte
Friday, Aug. 12, 2011
It's a guys' week for two Florida men - seven halls of fame in seven days, ending Friday at the NASCAR shrine in Charlotte.
David Burt and Arlen Stauffer, both private pilots, landed in Monroe on Friday morning. They will have logged about 3,800 miles when they return home today to New Smyrna Beach, Fla., after taking in the nation's top halls of the sports and musical variety.
Burt, 63, a semiretired film producer, and Stauffer, 57, a physician, decided to take Stauffer's Beechcraft Bonanza on a national hopscotch tour of various palaces of fandom.
"We love to fly and we're sports fans," said Burt. "It's all about the flying, to see what you can do."
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Mass.: A low-tech museum with an amateur basketball game going on in an indoor court. Huge Michael Jordan section. "It was all-inclusive," said Burt. "Even a section on high school coaches."
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y.: Most crowded of all the halls. "There were a lot of kids with their dads, more than anywhere else, standing there with their mouths open looking at the displays," said Stauffer. "Like a shrine," said Burt. "Very reverent. Most Americana of any of them."
Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio: Introduction movie from NFL Films was brutally impressive. Busts of inductees included Deion Sanders, added last weekend. But the doo-rag Sanders had added to his bust was already gone, a disappointment.
College Football Hall of Fame, South Bend, Ind.: Their approach to the airport took them over Notre Dame's stadium. Sparsely attended - they were the only ones in the large theater for the orientation film. "Not as broad or inclusive as the other ones," said Stauffer.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland: "They had videos that were like 90 minutes long," said Stauffer. "We spent three hours but needed a couple days." Impressive video display on the 13 Beatles albums. They rocked out early to catch an Indians game.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville: Like the rock hall in Cleveland, it also claims Elvis. Fascinating exhibit on Hank Williams Sr. and Jr. and their struggles. "Fascinating," said Burt.
NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte: Their professional lives have taken both of them to the races in Daytona, and they know their NASCAR. Seeing cars from the '80s brought back memories. Because of the nature of the sport, there's more diversity to the exhibits and interactive displays.
"Technology here is above all the others," said Stauffer. "And the seats in the theater are the best of any," said Burt.
They got a little taste of Southern hospitality here, too. When people at the hall found out about their tour, they gave Stauffer and Burt free tickets, the only freebies offered in the whirlwind week.
"They were all fascinating," said Burt. "Each has a personality."