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Part of RPCGI


Contacting L.T. Performance

"But that's why I had independant judges..."

Advice to Car Show Promoters or Hosts

So You Want To Have A Car Show?

For our purposes of discussion, "promoters" and "hosts" are the persons who are responsible for the show.  Yeah, I know, a host can have a promoter take care of the advertising about the show.  The big shows hire a promotional or marketing firm to handle getting the word out.   But, in most cases, the promoter and the host are one in the same.  It may be an individual or it may be a team.  Either way, the promoter is usually carrying out the desires of the host.

Promoters or hosts are responsible for the success or failure of a car show,even moreso than the judges.  And the majority of failures are due to poor planning. 

- How many shows have you seen get great publicity, but nobody shows up? 
- How many shows have you seen where there was virtually no publicity but it drew a good participation? 
- How many times have you seen shows in the same area held on the same date?
- How many times have you gone to a show being hosted by one of the clubs where only the members of the club get awards?
- How many shows have you participated in where only cars at least 25 years old received awards?
- How many shows have you participated in where only the import tuners receieved awards?
- How many shows had so few classes that stock and modifieds were in the same class?
- How many shows have you participated in where the same people win year after year?
- How many shows have you seen where only the local receive the awards?

All of these things should be considered when preparing a show, because these are the things participants complain about and end up causing many not to participate in the next show.

Planning or Lack There Of

The lack of planning is probably the number one reason a car show will fail.  This is also the most time consuming, especially for the first couple of years you have the show, that is provided your first attempt wasn't a total failure and prevents you from making another attempt.

- Is it to be a fundraiser?  Which charity?
- What kind of show do you want?  Cars, trucks, motocycles, new, old, etc.
- Will there be awards?  Judges, participant voted, spectator voted, combination.
- Where do you want to hold it?  Parking lot, grass, private, public, etc.
- How many cars do you hope to get?  Will you have a cut-off?
- How do you plan to handle registration? 
- What date are you looking to hold it?  Does it conflict with anther show or major event that may limit or increase participation?  
- Will you need a rain date?
- How much time do you need to market the show?  Most club newsletters only get published monthly, and few are very timely.
- Where are you going to advertise?  Newsletters, websites, blogs, etc.
- What's it going to cost you?
- What's it going to cost the participants?
- Will you be charging the spectators?

A lot has to go into a show.  If you don't plan it right, it's not going to happen, at least not successfully. 

Picking a Good Cause

Some car shows are held as fundraisers for car clubs, and that's fine provided that the participants know that.  Do not claim the proceeds are going to a charity and then forget to send the check to them.  First, if you get caught, that's fraud.  Even worse, when the word gets out, and it will, it will be the last car show you hold.

Many car owners are more likely to participate in a show where the money raised goes to a particular charity.  Recognized charities, especially those tied into medical assistance or research, always draw good participation.  Churches and schools are also excellent charities for which to use car shows as a means of fund raising.  Veterans organizations and civic groups are also good charities that can benefit from car shows.

As the promoter you should make sure the participants know what charity the show is being held for, and how much of the proceeds are going to that charity.  The last thing that needs to happen is for the word to get out that the show brought in $1000 and expenses were $999, so the charity for which the show was held got a buck.  Bars and clubs are famous for this type of 'proceeds' work. 

If you are having a car show to raise money for a particular charity, don't cut yourself short by limiting the field.  Bring in as many cars from as many classes as you can.  Contrary to what a lot of people think, the majority of income from car shows is from the participants.  Few car shows charge admission to the spectators, but asking for donations is quite a good strategy.  A show that limits the entrants to 100 and charges a $10 registration fee is only going to collect $1000, and that's if they get that many.  Too many promoters have made that mistake accepting poor information from a limited source of ideas.  Shoot for a hundred cars, limit it to pre-1976 cars only, and see what happens.  Unfortunately, noon on the day of the show is not a good time to open up the show to any vehicle hoping to get the 100 you were hoping for.

What Type of Show To Have

One of the most controversial topics regarding car shows is, "to whom is it open?"  I am a firm believer in classes, provided a show promoter can handle them.  I also believe there should be shows specific to certain vehicles.  Street rods, for example, should be able to have shows only open to street rods.  There should be Corvette shows only open to Corvettes.  The same for Mustangs, MOPARS, tuners, etc.  The one thing that should not happen is, for example, a Corvette club open up their shows to anybody just to boost the number of entries and only gives awards to Covettes.

Last year, the National Street Rod Association, NSRA, may have committed suicide for the organization.  The owners of NSRA committed a terrible injustice to their membership by changing their rules to allow any cars up to 1980 in their events starting this year (2010).  This decision was made by the owners of NSRA, not by the members.  By their own definition, a street rod is any vehicle based on a manufactured date pre-1949.  This covers the cars manufactured in 2008 that look like a 1948 even though nothing on the car was from an original car from that era.  The NSRA Street Rod Nationals have always been great events.  But now the members are revolting by not renewing their memberships and boycotting the events.  The change was supposed to increase revenue and size of the events.  From the sounds of things, it doesn't sound like NSRA's new memberships are going to fill the void created by those who have quit.  I liked going to the NSRA events and I'm not even a member.  If you go to our Pics pages you'll see that I like any kind of cars.  But will I go to the NSRA events to see a bunch of Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros, and yes, even Challengers?  Don't bet on it.  I can see them at the other shows.

I have some reservations about the definition of Street Rods.  There is a lot of hypocricy in these clubs and associations and those people who invite owners with cars of certain ages to be members.   As I said above, the actual definition of a 'Street Rod' includes any vehicle that appears to be a certain year vehicle manufactured prior to 1949.  Too many of the cars allowed to register as what they appear to be are far from being that actual car.  Imagine a car built in 2008 with parts manufactured between 2006 and 2008, being registered as a 1940 just because it looks like a 1940, and being judged as a 1940 right next to an actual 1940.  Fiberglass wasn't used in cars in 1940, yet a fiberglass reproduction manufactured with modern technology gets the same consideration as if it was a 70 year old car.  I'm waiting for the various Motor Vehicle Administrations to realize they are being bamboozled and that these 2008 cars that look like 1940 vintage cars are running 2008 engines under the same air pollution standards that existed in 1940, which were zilch.  Yet again, put the same engine in a 2008 car and see what that same MVA wants to do to you.

Anyway, if you're goal is to have a show for Corvettes, or Mustangs, or pre-1949, then don't leave it open to everybody just to boost your profits or numbers.  If you are going to have an open show then be prepared to have the proper class break-down.

Think about this; if you are using the car show as a means of raising money for a charity, why do you want to limit the number of participants "donating" money to enter?

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Success or Failure, It's Up To You !