Open Air Tours - A "Top Down" approach to touring!
Open Air Tours - A "Top Down" approach to touring!
Meet the Organizers 
Open Air Tours - A "Top Down" approach to touring!
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Who are these people and
why do they look like they're having so much fun?

OpenAir Tours was officially launched in January of 2006. After 13 successful years organizing tours for the Wisconsin Convertible Classic, organizers Gary and Mae Knowles of Madison, and fellow enthusiasts Mike and Donna Peroutka of Green Bay joined forces to keep the sprit of Topless Touring alive in the State of Wisconsin. Another long-time veteran of the WCC who will be working on the team is Greg Nametz of Madison.


Together, the team selects destinations & hotels, set routes, direct the tours and oversee promotions & operations. We'll all be working on the tour to ensure that you have a great time!

Gary and Mae Knowles
   

Gary was the co-founder (1993) and co-director of the recently ended Wisconsin Convertible Classic and the Wisconsin Sports Car and GT Classic. A life-long auto enthusiast and former rally driver, he has traveled every red and blue highway in the state and region.

Gary served as Director of Communication for the WI Tourism Division from 1979-93 and edited the award winning Wisconsin Auto Tours Adventures Guide. Trails Books published his guide to driving the back roads, The Great Wisconsin Touring Book - 30 Spectacular Auto Tours which is currently in its third printing. Known to Madison’s WMTV-NBC Ch. 15-TV viewers as “Friday Gary” he produces The Weekend Starts Today segment recommending weekend events and he edits the free weekly events e-newsletter GarysGetaways.

 

Gary owns a marketing communications firm in Madison, Wisconsin and is a marketing consultant in the hospitality industry, Asst. VP at the Joseph Huber Brewing Co. and a freelance travel writer.

MaePatrice Knowles served as an Administrative Director of the Wisconsin Convertible Classic from 1993 until it ended in 2006. She began her discovery of the bounty and beauty of the State of Wisconsin as the director of Wisconsin’s agricultural ambassador program, Alice in Dairyland. Mae can tell you why there are tents over those fields in Marathon County, where to find the world’s largest grower of horseradish and how to shop for cheese curds. She will gladly swap prize winning recipes for cranberries, potatoes, honey and yes- Cheese Fudge!

The Knowles Family
 

Mae and Gary co-author the popular “All American Getaways” series, which appears regularly in Madison Magazine. They are the parents of Alex and Carleigh. Their current fun rides are a '93 and ‘95 Olds Cutlass Convertible, a '61 Buick Electra 225 rag-top and a '’01 Olds Silhouette Van.


Mike and Donna Peroutka
Mike grew up in a "convertible family." His first car was a '72 Cutlass convertible which he sold (regrettably) after high school to join the Navy. After completing boot camp, he sweet-talked his parents
out of their 66 Olds 98 convertible, and spent many hours touring the eastern seaboard with his buddies. Making his way back to Wisconsin to attend college, he rewarded himself with a new '95 Chrysler Lebaron GTC Convertible after finishing school.

He met his wife Donna through their common interest in convertibles, and together with their sons Andrew and Matthew (born on tour!) they continue to explore their wanderlust as the next generation convertible family. In 2003 they added another '66 Olds 98 convertible to their stable for more family fun.

Somewhere south of LaCrosse...


Today, Mike gets paid for his other addiction as a computer geek on the IT staff of a local Green Bay municipality. His expertise managing technology is helping OpenAir Tours become the premier touring organization in the State of Wisconsin. Donna is project manager for a major food manufacturer in Green Bay. She assists with membership and administration of OpenAir Tours (and loves going topless!)

Mike & Donna's personal time machine captured them in their first convertible ride together in the picture at the right.

Mike & Donna's First (virtual) convertible ride together.

Greg Nametz

Working on all aspects of tour promotion, planning and coordination is our friend, veteran of eleven WCC tours, former champion go-kart driver and auto-enthusiast, Greg Nametz.

A native of the road racing epicenter of Wisconsin, Elkhart Lake, Greg comes from a family with strong ties to the state’s racing history. His father, Everette Nametz, was one of the original visionary founders and organizers of Road America Race Track.


The Unsung Heroes (there are many!)

There have been many behind-the-scenes heroes over the years helping to keep us safely on the road. Volunteers, family friends, local officials, law enforcement officers, business owners, good Samaritans, and fellow enthusiasts have made success a key component of our tours.

With their help, continued encouragement, and support we strive to make your adventures memorable! Thank You to each and every volunteer, past, present and future! You help keep the wheels spinning!

Everyday heros



 
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