FORD: Experiencing the Boilermaker crowds from stage simply amazing

What a show.

This 40th Boilermaker Post Race Party was unquestionably the best one ever -- not that I’m biased.

Headliner Maxine Nightingale was awesome. I forgot about all her hits until hearing them again.

But to put what Boilermaker weekend meant in words would be difficult.

Like most participants in this great Utica event, I’m not a runner, just a local musician.

So, speaking for those of us who were blessed to perform with Nightingale, we felt as though we were representing all other local musicians and wanted to make them proud of our local team.

And Showtime did just that. In fact, they knocked it out of the park.

Justin Smithson, Jose Lopez, Joe Rossi, Jerry Crimmins and Mike Marro (as well as Marro’s son Alex on trombone) are the hardest working guys in show business.

Along with my band mates, Larry Desiato and Scott Rutledge from Classified (who I think we may have been the last local band to play this gig many years ago), we were able to “Utica Funk It Up” with Showtime. Then, Tim Moyer and Matt Gedritis, members of local band Gridley Paige, came up and rocked the house in their style as well.

I would have loved it if some of the stage performances had been televised as part of the event.

I heard none were. Too bad. I’ve never seen so many people stay and participate with the show going on. Seriously, the crowd never thinned out. And you know why? It’s because of the great entertainment -- oh, and the great Saranac beer, of course!

Put the two together and you’ve got the biggest party in Central New York all year, with an extremely well-behaved crowd.

To that end, our hats are off to all the public safety troops who worked in the heat to keep the rest of us safe. God Bless them today more than ever.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 4th Annual Boilermaker Stanley Concert featuring the Rick Zuccaro’s Billy Joey Tribute Show on Saturday night, sponsored by the Carbone Auto Group. It featured Rick, Mark Bolos, Chris Mandry, Julia Scranton, Ron Zuccaro, Scott Rutledge, Mike Galime (Utica Common Council President) and yours truly.

It felt as though we were playing for family and friends in their living room.

And, as of this show, we have donated 20 Yamaha digital pianos to local elementary schools. We thank the Observer-Dispatch, the Carbone Auto Group and Centurion Automotive for being piano sponsors that night.

Equally as important, we raised money for our beloved Stanley. There is no more noble cause for me.

And, finally, we must give a big shout out to former Boilermaker Race Director Tim Reed who decided that it was time to graduate and pass the torch.

The weekend was such a success because of his leadership.

Thank you, Tim. But we all know you’ll still be “backstage” next year.

Heck, maybe you can finally catch a Stanley Boilermaker concert!

Greeley Ford is a longtime Mohawk Valley resident and musician.

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