Researched and related by Joan Thomas, NCCC Webmaster


At the September Governors Meeting in 1969 a Standing Rule was passed to declare that
The official NCCC mascot is VETTE, a dolphin from Marineland.

Most NCCC Members are aware of this fact that Vette, the Dolphin, is NCCC's official mascot. Many Members have also heard the story of how Vette became our mascot. The part of the story that in 1969, soon after the attendees at the NCCC 1969 Convention at Daytona Beach, FL visited Marineland as part of Convention week a dolphin was "born" turns out to be partially true. That Marineland decided to name the dolphin “Vette” as a tribute to the enjoyment they experienced from NCCC's visit is very true.

In preparation for NCCC's 50th Anniversary celebration I decided that the story of Vette should be included with the displays at Convention 2009. So I began my search for the facts of Vette's story and to discover any NCCC memorabilia that would support the story. I had already heard the 1969 story and knew Vette officially became our mascot in 1969 so I first looked to that time period.

I had gathered a collection of old Blue Bars issues and looking through the 1969 issues I discovered that the November 1969 issue contained quite a bit of information.
  The Cover included a picture (shown above) of Vette.
  Page 12 showed the letter from Richard W. Edgerton, Director of Public Relations at Marineland, to Maxine Smith, Convention Secretary from North Florida Corvette Association. The letter related how Marineland enjoyed our visit and the arrival of a dolphin they named "Vette" because he was "sleek and streamlined and really built for speed" and more.
  On Page 3 as part of the September 27, 1969 Governors Meeting minutes, I learned of the motion made by Larry Merow (South Shore Corvette Club) and seconded by Sal Gurriero (Empire Corvettes) that Vette be accepted as the Official N.C. mascot. Motion was approved.
Historical Note: NCCC was commonly referred to as N.C. or N.C.C. in our earlier days.
  On Page 1 (in an article) and on Page 3 (in the same noted September minutes) I learned about the Contest that was held to create a special dolphin patch to commemorate our new mascot.
Historical Note: The January 24, 1970 Governors Meeting minutes appearing in the April, 1970 issue of Blue Bars shows that Walter Last of the South Shore Corvette Club won the special dolphin patch contest and received two free registrations to the 1970 Convention in Louisville, KY as his prize.
Historical Note: A picture of the patch has not appeared in any issue of my Blue Bars.

In my history search for NCCC Charter Members I had made contact with Terry Tetzlaff from the Michiana Corvette Club who had moved to Washington State. My husband Jim and I were going to be in the Seattle area in October 2008 so we decided to set up a get together. We both had a marvelous and informative visit with Terry. He was very helpful, had saved quite a variety of NCCC memorabilia and I was able to learn some new NCCC history from him. While we were looking over the many patches on his "special NCCC jacket" I spotted a Vette the Dolphin patch. Of course I didn't expect Terry to give me his only patch so I took this scan of the patch until such time as I could acquire an actual patch for the NCCC archives.
Historical Note: Still looking for one!!  (January 2011)  Update: The NCCC History archives now has an original Vette the Dolphin patch in mint condition thanks to long time NCCC Member William (Buck) Rapley of the Kalamazoo Corvette Club in Michigan.   (June 2011)

Jim and I were also planning to spend some time in the Northern part of Florida in November of 2008 so we planned a visit to Marineland to see if we could discover what might have become of “Vette” over these 40 some years. In checking their web site before we visited, I learned that Marineland was the home of “Nellie” an Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin born at Marineland on February 27, 1953. I began wondering if Nellie just may have been the dolphin that gave birth to “Vette” in 1969. Marineland is more of a research facility now but we enjoyed watching the dolphins feed and play during our visit. The person we needed to talk to regarding Vette's history was not there that day but we were given contact information for Terran Rosenberg. I made phone contact with Terran in December and we had a very nice exchange of helpful information. Terran had access to the Marineland archives and would see what she could find out from their records. In turn, I would send her whatever I had accumulated that she could add to their archives and Vette's history.

Terran's research of the Marineland archives was very helpful and shed new light on Vette's story. With her results, the information that I had discovered and additional information and memorabilia I received from Cliff Payne, 1969 Convention Director, I have concluded what is probably the "true story" regarding that day in 1969.
  Vette was not born at Marineland on July 9, 1969, the day that NCCC visited.
  Vette was a young Atlantic Spotted Dolphin that arrived from the ocean that day through the efforts of the Marineland collecting crew.
  The term "arrived" in the letter from Richard W. Edgerton is just that...arrived!
  The July 10, 1969 Western Union Telegram supports the arrival.
  The dolphin pictured on the Cover of the November 1969 issue of Blue Bars and shown at the top of this page appears to be an older dolphin aboard what is most likely the collecting crew boat. This first picture of Vette came with those included in the letter from Richard W. Edgerton.   Marineland was not able to verify whether Vette is still living or not in 2008.

Whether still living or not, Vette will live forever through NCCC. Parts of his beginning history have been misunderstood by many of our members since 1969, however, the acknowledgement over the years that he is a worthy mascot has never been disputed.



Info & Pictures from the Convention Marineland Outing
Western Union Telegram
Richard Edgerton Marineland Letter
November 1969 Blue Bars
OCT/NOV 1969 Corvette News Article
Marineland Research Communications
The Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Facts
   
2011 Blue Bars Article
   
NCCC & Vette through the years
   



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