This article was published in the Louisville Courier-Journal:
THE BRYCE IS RIGHT
CORVETTE HOMECOMING MERGE AT FAMILY-RUN MOTEL NEAR BOWLING GREEN KY
By Nikita Stewart
When Bob and Jackie Lightfoot bought the Bryce Inn, they knew they couldn't compete with the big chain hotels in Bowling Green Ky. So they decided on a different track in hopes of luring Chevrolet Corvette owners who travel periodically to "homecoming" rallies for owners of the classic sports cars made at the Corvette plant in Bowling Green.
And in just a few years, the Lightfoots have turned the simple 25-room hotel in Smiths Grove into a quaint and quirky stop that gets rave reviews from owners of $40,000+ Corvettes. A daily car wash is set up for proud Corvette owners who want to keep their cars clean and shinny.
There are no fancy security locks, bellboys or monogrammed towels. Just old-fashioned Southern hospitality. "That is what a Corvetter needs" said Don Otto, president of Corvette Coventry of Southwestern Michigan, based in St. Joseph, Mich.
"They treat you like family," said Roger Thomas, governor of the Corvette Coventry and a regional representative of the National Corvette Club. More than 40 members of the club - the largest in Michigan - will stay here for the 5th time for the Annual Corvette Homecoming at Beech Bend Raceway Park.
At least three Corvette sites on the Internet feature the motel as the best place to stay in Bowling Green area. The motel's billboard humbly reads: "Quite possibly the cleanest place to stay." But Corvette owners said it's other, little things beside the newly remodeled rooms that make the Bryce Inn a draw for them.
For the Lightfoot's, playing host to Corvette clubs began with the Kalamazoo (Mich) Corvette Club. Elana Siebel, governor of that club, was trying to woo her Corvetters during the 1994 grand opening of the Corvette Museum. "I tried the bigger hotels in Bowling Green, but they we all full," said Siebel, who owns a '78 frost blue Corvette.
"I picked up a brochure the said something about caves, Corvettes and something else," she said referring to the motel's advertisement. "Just a great place for antiques, Corvettes, caves and hospitality." It was wonderful. The club plans to return to the Bryce Motel.
"You drive 8 hours. You have homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting for you," said Otto. "You got a water hose, a gallon of water and soap." A club like Corvette Coventry usually caravans in on Thursday.
The Lightfoots don't think they do anything special. "we enjoy it as much as they do," Bob Lightfoot said. "We feel sad when they leave. When their fun weekend is over, ours is too. The Corvette Coventry helped the Lightfoot's daughters with a show-and-tell at their school by driving 15 Corvettes to the school and placing them on display. "If you've never see 500 kids oohing and aahing at one time, it is a sight", Bob Lightfoot said.
And Siebel said the trip doesn't end when Corvette owners leave Sunday morning. The Lightfoots "call and make sure everyone made it home."