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Benedict Castle Concours Event Representatives

Christine Reed Nicholson

Growing up amidst concept car fabrication, concours events, vintage racing, and other grand prix, she loves shooting and sharing timeless design. Being the daughter of a world respected car designer, she learned the most while working for Stewart Reed Design during Lockheed Martin and Mullin Automotive Museum’s Bugatti Type 64 projects. She’s probably attended dozens of Pebble Beach Concours and hundreds of other automotive events. She’s held a unique variety of roles in automotive; historic race car sales, marketing and writing on automotive/design topics new and historic in nature, both in architecture and transportation/vehicles. She served as PR/Marketing Director for collectible car parts manufacturers and operated her own marketing agency for years, with mostly automotive clients. She’s written for a variety of automotive magazines and served on several concours/motorsports events boards or judged. For LACMA, Petersen Museum, and other charitable automotive initiatives she’s done Business Development, sponsorship design and sales and is presently working on a book and a startup to help restorers and those new to restoration.

Corky Coker

The 2023 Benedict Castle Concours and Car Show Grand Marshal!

Don Nicholson

Having grown up watching Great Uncle “Dyno” Don Nicholson win NHRA drag racing championships, Don developed a passion for cars and speed at an early age. He’s built and raced cars since before he had his driver’s license and continues to this day. After a ten year career at Meguiar’s, Don founded Elevate, creating Performance and Styling parts for newer Volvos. He’s currently restoring his parent’s 1967 Impala SS (the first car they bought new!). Don helps with administrative activities for the Benedict Castle Concours.

Gary and Kathy Garner

Kathy got interested in cars at a very early age helping her older brother work on cars, and was introduced to drag racing. She worked at the Orange County International Raceway in Irvine, CA as a bracket girl for many years where she got to meet many of the drag racing legends. She has always had a passion for hot rods. Gary got a job right out of high school as a welder and fabricator learning tube bending skills. He started building custom exhaust systems and off road buggy chassis. He also built and raced an off-road car for many years during the 70’s & 80’s. Gary is the former president and current advisor of the HB Car Club of Huntington Beach, CA, a 501-C non-profit organization where Kathy also serves on the board. Gary and Kathy have “his” and “hers” 1932 Ford hot rods that they take to many car shows and cruise nights around Southern California. Years ago they met Nicole Meguiar and were introduced to Teen Challenge and the Benedict Castle Concours Car Show where they have had active roles planning and promoting the show for the past several years.

Michael Stoops

Michael grew up in Detroit at the height of the Muscle Car era, and his father was an engineer at Chrysler. So, while you’d expect him to be a Mopar Muscle fan, his real love is classic European sports cars. His engineer father grew up in Europe and told stories of the Silver Arrows, Alfa Romeos, Maseratis, Jaguars and Ferraris racing on the great circuits of Europe. That led to Michael diving into the history of European sports car and Grand Prix racing, as well as that of the great coachbuilders of the pre-War era. If you see a classic Alfa Romeo Spider carving up the local mountain roads in Southern California, stop him and say hi! Michael assembles a large judging team each year to support his role as Chief Judge of the Benedict Castle Concours.

Patt Riley Nicol

Patt is a California native, and for the past 39 years has been a resident of Huntington Beach. Patt was a student of the fine arts and has always had a love for photography.

Patt spent 28 years in the graphic design field working as an in-house corporate graphic designer and later as a freelance designer. Her design work clients included Canon, Thermador, Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, and other well-known brands.

After retiring from graphic design, Patt was able to concentrate more fully on photography. Patt chose all things “hot rod” to photograph after she and her husband purchased a 1933 Ford Vicky and started attending car shows and car events.

Paul Montesano

Paul has more than 25 years of experience in Supply Chain and Operations Management and has worked primarily in the aerospace and defense industry. His love of cars started back in high school when he rebuilt his first engine in auto shop, and he has not stopped since then. He has become a Ford Mustang fanatic and currently owns a ‘65 Coupe, a ‘66 Convertible and a 2015 GT. His love of cars goes way beyond just Mustangs though. He attends and participates in over 40 car shows a year and became a Meguiar’s Ambassador with his 1965 Mustang Coupe in 2017. He is currently the President of the Orange County Mustang Club and been on the club’s Board of Directors for several years and the Executive Advisor to the HB Car Club. He has served on several car show boards and committees including the Benedict Castle Concours.

Sandee Christensen

As a teenager in high school Sandee was a cheerleader and to this day she is still cheering her way through life. She got the “car bug” while working as the Vendor Coordinator for the Grand National Roadster Show. Through the years, her love for cars and “car people” grew as she attended many car events in Southern California. She says she was born to do what she does as an Event Manager for Fairplex where she manages most of the car events at the Pomona facility. Her love for people and talent for problem solving makes her a valued volunteer. You will find her cheering for the beautiful cars on the grounds at the Benedict Castle Concours.

Von Hot Rod
Von Hot Rod was destined to be in the automotive industry. His dad Ben “The Rod Father” Valdez was a Drag racer and sprint car driver. As a kid Von soon found himself wrenching on hot rods. In High school he had already put his plan in motion to open his own hot rod shop.  At 22 years of age Von opened up Hot Rod’s of Norco, one of Southern California’s largest hot rod shops which he owned for twenty years. As a Christian, Von felt a tugging on his heart to work with teens which lead him to work with Teen Challenge. Von now travels the world and shares his story and his Hotrod Pinstriping art. With his experience in Event Management, Von Hot Rod helps produce the Benedict Castle Concours.

Bret Blackburn

Bret Blackburn
Married to Kathleen for 7 years. I provide Uniforms and Apparel to national companies. I’ve been building cars since I was 11 years old and now own and drive a ’32 Ford Hot Rod Truck. I have been to every Benedict Castle Concours except one.

Paul Ekstrand

Paul Ekstrand

Paul joined the Benedict Castle Volunteer Team in 2019 and co-owns Enthusiast, Inc. who has been building websites in the automotive industry and non-profit space among other industries for over 23 years now.

Paul also is a Past President of LA5 Rotary where he kicked off a vocational/trade scholarship program to help young adults enter the workforce improving their lives.