The Unwritten Rules for Bringing your Car to a Car Show

 I had a hard time with this article. Because it forced me to look in the mirror a little bit. I even had a hard time with the Title. At first, I was going to name it: “How not to be an A$$hat when you attend a Car Show.” Another potential Title was going to be: “The XX Commandments for Showing your Car.” While both were “witty” titles both had flaws in that they forced upon me some “Absolutes” that I was not willing to commit to or for you the reader to commit to.

Let’s Look to ourselves now.

I mean we all know it’s fun to point out people’s flaws. And I know some of you who bring your cars to the Car Shows are getting a little steamed at me for forcing you to look into a mirror, but fear not, I will force the attendees to look into a mirror in a separate post.

Many of us have been in or around the car show scene for a long time now, and we believe we know how to act. However, I have many times bore witness to just what can happen when things get out of hand. Following these “Unwritten Rules” at the next local get-together will help make the event more enjoyable for everyone:

  • Show up On Time!
    We get it. You want your car to look Perfect. And you got stuck polishing that one blemish on your chrome. Did you get stuck at every single red light too? Your Wife could not find her shoes that match the outfit she is wearing. Things happen that can throw you off schedule – but there’s a simple fix: Wake up and get going earlier. Plan for it.Arriving 30 – 40 minutes after the gates have opened to the public and expecting a premier spot for your car will only entitle you to one thing; being labeled as: “That Guy.” Be grateful for any spot available and or the one you’re given, and direct that anger to the person that really deserves it – the one behind the wheel
  • Notify Event Staff if you need to leave early!
    Things come up – It happens to everyone. But if you show up to an event at 10:00 AM, nab one of the prime spaces right in the middle of the show, knowing full well you have to leave by 1:00, you’re being “That Guy.”If you know you’ll need to leave early, let the staff know to keep you near an exit. It might not be the perfect place to show your ride, but it’ll help keep you from running late or inconveniencing the rest of the attendees. Because leaving a car show as it is packed with spectators looks bad – and it certainly isn’t an easy process. Not to mention it’s dangerous, particularly with children or pets running about unpredictably.
  • Listen to Staff Directions and/or Requests!
    The staff that man your favorite event are usually volunteers who enjoy being around cars and perform these duties for little if any pay at all. Never lose your head or give them a hard time While you are giving them a hard time for simply doing their thankless job you are probably holding up another person from parking as well.If you think you’re in the wrong spot, park there anyway and then go find the show director and ask for help politely! Laying into the guys or girls directing traffic probably won’t end up in your favor. You’ll most likely eventually meet the show director – but instead of him or her lending a hand, they’ll probably be asking you to leave.
  • Do Not Take Up 2 Parking Spaces!
    Everyone knows that their car is a special little snowflake. We’ve all dumped endless amounts of what we each consider a lot of money into it, wasted many a night lying awake thinking up next steps, and scoured junkyards and swap meets from around the country looking for that special part that defines our rides as the special snowflake – to us.Just like everyone else. At every show, you’ll see “That Guy” – sometimes taking up more than one parking spot. You may think your ride is better than his or hers, but that doesn’t mean you deserve extra room as well! Suck it up and park your snowflake straight like the rest of us.
  • Do Not Drive over 5 MPH inside the Show area!  EVER!!
    Just like I said in one of the above “Unwritten Rules” navigating in and around a Car Show event and/or venue certainly isn’t an easy process. Not to mention it’s dangerous, particularly with children or pets running about unpredictably. Getting into or out of the Show and/or Venue quickly while may seem like you are doing everyone a favor put more risk not only to those other folks attending but more importantly, it puts your own snowflake at risk as well. Be respectful of not only those attending but to your own ride and keep it slow.
  • Do Not Kill, Maim, and/or scream profanities at those who touch your car!
    Yes, it’s true that we are all in agreement that spectators should keep their grubby little hands to themselves, yes? But – what happens when they don’t? Yup, it Happens.I’ve seen it all from leaning up against the car to just rubbing at that one spot and I’m here to tell you that killing them with kindness goes so very much farther than blind rage and a verbal berating. We have to remember that not every spectator who attends your average car show understand how seriously we take our vehicles.Politely explaining how much your car means to you is usually all it takes for them to get the picture. This holds especially true for children; teach them, don’t punish them. And this is Really Important: Because helping to raise a new generation of enthusiasts that don’t purchase Camrys – or think that people who take cars seriously are jerks – is essential to continuing our culture!
  • Respect Others and their Rides!
    Everyone has different tastes. Everyone has different budgets. Just because the car next to you doesn’t have perfect paint, Or is a newer car, or features some discount brand parts, doesn’t make it any less deserving of its owner’s pride. Don’t like his or her style? Keep it to yourself – because there are probably plenty of people who don’t like yours either. And here’s the important thing to remember:  Do you care what they think? We’re guessing not.This is especially true when it comes to folks to the scene. Offering real advice or help instead of put downs helps make for a better community. Not everyone has the means or experience to create a 100-point show-winner.However, their story might be far more interesting than that of the guy with unlimited funds who just dropped a bare chassis off at the local restoration expert and told them to make it perfect. Either way, BOTH deserve all of our respect
  • If the Event is Judged Respect and Abide by the Judges Decisions!
    The competition at some shows can and more often than not is very fierce as any professional sport out there. Everyone wants to win – and that drive is what makes for some of the most stunning vehicles at any show. With that said, no one is being paid millions to perform.  Whether you’re the attendee or the judge. Feel like you were overlooked or misjudged? Don’t cause a scene during the awards ceremony, Leave that to Kanye West on the Music Awards Show In other words: Don’t be “That Guy.” There will always be another show – most likely less than a few weeks later. If you didn’t take home a top prize, seek out one of the judges after the event, and ask what you could do to improve. Don’t lose your cool if you don’t like their suggestions though; with the exception of certain Concourse-level shows which apply strict point systems, most of this stuff is subjective. The judges at the next one might love what you’ve got and chances are that Judge may just Judge your car with a better eye because of your inquiry.
  • Do Not Burn Out or Drag Race when leaving the event!
    Sure, we all love a good burnout. It delights every sense; the sound of a roaring engine, the acrid smell of rubber, the exciting sight of a barely-restrained 2-ton missile… And thus, therein lies the problem. The only thing keeping your car from rocketing into a classic Bel-Air – or worse, a spectator – are your front brakes. Please keep the showing-off contained in a controlled environment, with nothing but open space in front of you. Those 20 seconds of being an “Attention Whore” aren’t worth the lifetime label of “Certified Jackass” should something go wrong. This also goes for Drag Racing! Because Remember: the increased traffic that a car show brings is noted by local police. That guy in the loud Hemi SRT might be asking for it. True, but racing on the surrounding streets before, during, or after an event brings all the wrong kinds of attention down on you and the rest of us fellow enthusiasts. (not to mention the show organizers!) It’s a quick way to get what should be a celebration of our passion nixed, and yourself a big, fat ticket.
    If you want to race, New England Dragway – or almost any other track across the U.S. – sets aside specific nights for street-driven vehicles to come show each other up. Don’t turn yourself into a statistic, or be “That Guy” and ruin it for all the rest of us.
  • Engage and Answer questions by both young and old attendees!
    If you brought your car out of the garage to show it off. And – you don’t want anyone asking you about it? Well – you really should have just stayed at home with your door locked and all the windows bolted up. With that attitude, you must be a blast to have at a cocktail party. People who are interested in your car will want to speak to you about it. They will ask you all manner of questions and have all manner of personal experiences. Even if you think the inquiry is dumb, have some patience. In today’s “Social media fueled hide behind a keyboard day and age, it takes at least some amount of courage to strike up a conversation with a stranger. You’ll come off the much bigger person than the gruff, standoffish ogre acting like even rolling out of bed that morning was barely worth his time. Don’t want to talk about your car? Then don’t show up. Tell your story about how you found that one part, Share how much your car means to you and as I said before: this holds especially true for children; teach them, share with them. Engage with them and if they are especially curious and polite? Let them sit in your car or show them why you love the little unique aspects of your car.
    And I’ll say it again: This is Really Important: Because you are helping to raise a new generation of enthusiasts. Maybe someday that future enthusiast will talk about the good version of “That Guy.” He or She may tell his children someday at another show 20 years later about “That Guy” who shared and enriched their love of the Automobile.

Remember above all of this, is that you are a guest of the show’s host. What you do while at the venue ultimately will end up as a reflection on the coordinators and hosts. Everyone wants their shows to stay around – so be an active part of making sure your hosts want you back!

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