Car Show Troubles.

Rat Rods Rule

Help Support Rat Rods Rule:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
Feb 7, 2018
CAR SHOW TROUBLES...another long story, enjoy.

Lately our monthly car meet in our quaint historic downtown has been...contentious?

The problem is with the businesses and the saving of spaces, on the stretch where we have been parking, which is what use to be the main road through the center of town, (one of those with the railroad going down the middle), but it is now a park setting. So we park for 3 blocks, we take the first block, and are allowed to use the lot at a bank at the other end. There is also the large municipal lot, where me and the crew use to park, but it was reconstructed for more spaces and they removed the larger trees in the process.

So we opted for the main street, under the majestic shade trees, especially in summer. Then there is another large lot, many trees, but it is on the other side of the tracks, and gets less foot traffic. So now that I set this up....

The car meet officially starts at 3 PM. The DJ gets there at around 11 to setup. One of the guys, Rudy, now deceased, use to get there at 730 AM, to get the best first spot, along the and set up chairs for the bros and save spots. The current guy, Bill, took over, has the little orange cones, and takes up a dozen spots, but on the park side, not the business side. That is because there were complaints about not allowing parking for customers. Both Rudy and Bill are members that go to the city chamber meetings, to keep feathers smoothed out. Some businesses enjoy the business the car show generates, some complain about the cars taking up spots.

So I too started getting there early, sometimes I take my truck with bike, save a spot, go pick up the car, and move the truck, which comes in handy to run errands etc. Sometimes I rely on the cones, Bill saves me a spot. So this day, We had our cones, 5 cars are already there, several others are making their way in. Along the park side there is a handicap spot we are allowed to use. There is another handicap spot in front of this candy shop. Well candy lady shows up, starts complaining about the cone in front of the other spot, on the park side, away from her shop.

"You know this show doesn't start until 3, you arent allowed to be here, you are taking up my handicap spot, yada yada yada". (but you have a spot in front of your store..). This is when she gets Karen on us. So Bill, to keep the trouble out of the chamber meetings, caves, moves the cone. I said, "we are doing this for our friends, if somebody parks there that we don't know, is that ok? She says fine. Sure enough, 5 minutes later, a 41 Ford convertible backs into the spot, We can see Candy Karen glaring out the window. A couple minutes later, the cops show up, I go to chat, thinking Candy lady called, but it turned out it was a hassle at one of the park games in the next block.

Fast forward to 11 AM. A lot of cars are starting to pull in. We had three more spots to fill, I got the call that two were on the way, not sure about the third. So this is a one way, but because we back in our cars, we are allowed to come in the opposite direction. Somehow, our 84 year old bro with a nice custom 51 Bel Air, bad vision, (shouldnt be driving this beauty) comes in the opposite (correct) way. A guy I will call Larry the cable guy, (because he looks like Larry the cable guy) is coming up the wrong way to back in. Larry is not well liked, he drives his loud built up Nova and revs the engine when parking, and over all not too friendly. So he comes up, nose to nose with the Bel Air, no where for anybody to go, Larry starts complaining about the cones to me, says get a life. I told him today my life is helping friends park. "this is first come first serve!" yada yada ... (he is correct) but it was a mess because of the late commers.

So to keep it cool, I still wasnt sure about the one no show, I directed him to one of the saved spots. I turn around, and the guy with the Bel Air is inching forward, This is when I my heart stopped, and I started waving my hands, yelling stop!....which he did. But with his bumper, actually an inch over, the bumper of an early 80's Riviera convertible, and about 4 inches from smashing head light to head light, meanwhile, another bro, is just in front of late commer bro, and I had to figure that out, fortunately, a customer had just pulled out, and all spots were snagged. A minute later, Larry apparently complained to the DJ, who is in charge, who anounced that if you see a spot with a cone, move it because its first come first serve.

So! If you want a spot, come before 10 AM, when its not as busy.

Then I fired myself from helping with this in the future, which is this Saturday. But will see, we told the saved spots to get there earlier.

Thanks, hope you enjoyed, hope to see thoughts and replies.
Last edited:
And that's why I prefer to go to Gruber's on Thursday nights. 20-30 people. Good food. Good friends.

When I go to a cruise or show I get there late and leave early. I park on the edge, walk in, sometimes with a folding chair and sit with friends. Driving back and forth is fun time with the car. I don't need to show it off. Life is short, especially mine, and I ain't got no time for hassles.
Bob, I prefer to sit away from the car and watch from a distance, not into saving so many spots, it seems to have gotten a little out of hand lately, may go back to where we use to park in the main lot. There is the old rail station with a roof to sit under during the hot summsers.
Last edited:
Power Parker’s everywhere. One show I sometimes go to they start to park on Friday night for the Saturday show! I always try to get there about 6am myself, it’s around a courthouse square block and the adjoining streets, if you don’t get a spot around the courthouse it’s almost impossible to hear the PA system.
Most shows here are in the warmer part of the year, so I look for at least enough shade to sit under. I really prefer shows that are on grass instead of pavement, at least you don’t get as much radiant heat coming up in your face.
Most shows I go to start about 9 am, so I try to be there about 7-7:30 to get a decent place, close walk to restrooms is always a plus. Doesn’t always work out, but most times it does. I’ve got a few buds who drag in 30 minutes to an hour after start time, they usually end up way away from concessions and restrooms, but they seldom have to wait in line to get in…

I’ve only got about 6-8 shows I even care about going to anymore. Most have been ruined by show politics, unlikeable people running things, poor organization and just generally unfriendly people. I prefer free shows, I hate having to pay for people to look at my junk! If the money is going to some special cause, then it doesn’t bother me. But if we take both cars, it can still run into $75 or $100 , a lot for a few hours of fun.
Sorry man.
My wife and I used to belong to a very active car club, it was not unusual for 15 to 20 of us show up at a cruise in or a show. We drew nearly 60 cars at our monthly meeting. As one might expect, parking as a group was nearly always difficult. The place we held our monthly meeting at was a pizza place in a strip mall where 10 other businesses were. On club meeting nights, we occupied nearly 3/4 of the strip mall's parking lot. The pizza place guy was thrilled, but the other businesses were not.

Some of the club members would get there early (at least an hour before our meeting start time) and would "save" parking spaces for other club members they expected to come. Some of the club members that had a space saved for them started showing up right at the meeting starting point, or maybe even a little late, or not at all. This really didn't go over well with the other businesses at the mall. They started putting pressure on the pizza place guy concerning parking.

The ultimate outcome was that the club made a few very important decisions. 1) There would be no saved parking of any kind for club members. 2) Every business at the mall would have two parking spaces in front of their stores reserved for their customers. 3) If club members were caught parking in those businesses parking spaces, they would be expelled from the club. 4) The club also extended those rules to be included at every event the club attended. Those new rules were voted on my the club members and approved.

The new rules didn't go over well with a few club members, and some actually quit the club because of the new rules. In the long run, the rules made the club stronger. When we went to most shows, we would park away from the crowd where we could all park together. Because we all pretty much came together it made it easier for the groups putting on the shows. Most of the cars in the club were very nice cars (mine was probably the exception), so when a large group of nice cars arrive together and park together, our club became a highlight at many shows. People will walk farther to look at a large group of nice cars. It just made everything easier for everyone involved. It was pretty interesting to watch some power parkers that had to have someone save them the best parking spot at the entire show, move their car to park near us. Many people would still walk past the power parking guy's car to look over our cars.

Funny thing about that club, many of the guys with the nicest cars in our club would pull their ID cards out of their windows before judging took place. We went to a huge show one time and the club president won the Best of Show Street Rod trophy. They didn't know his number, but they knew him and his car. When people would come up and tell the event people they couldn't find the number of the car they thought was the best and it was in with our club cars, they knew who it was. As he was walking up to get that trophy, he saw a kid there polishing his go kart. On his way back, he gave the kid with the go kart the 6' tall "Best of Show Street Rod" trophy. He said that that trophy is going to mean more to that kid then it would ever will to him.

I miss that club! Great people.
Gene, We also had a pizza night at a strip mall. Once a month two free slices and a drink with car, 20 percent off if you bring a car and picking up the pie on any night. In this case the DJ puts out the parking cones, when a store customer leaves a cone would save the spot. Only one shop owner complained, but recently the pizza shop sold to a new owner, and we saw it coming, after 8 years that show has just been cancelled.

This show I go to, gets anywhere from 150 to 400 plus cars depending on weather. My car isn't pretty enough to get the attention, (but yet it does for the old schoolers) in fact, my nickname is "primer guy", given to me when I first started showing up. So I try to put it in a spot that isn't 'first". but occasionally it happens, (actual Youtubes of mine, first spot, and I wasn't even there! It was a rainy day, not many showed up, I was helping a buddy with his Bronco).

The intense heat in the summer keeps some away, that is why parking under the trees desired. An open parking lot is like a toaster oven. I use to save spots for one, maybe two as long as they show up quickly. but this one incident where I was asked to help got out of hand, so since its cooler, (going to be in the 40's this Saturday) Its back to the other spots By the way, the large city lot, non show cars use to have to move at 3PM, they havent enforced that lately, so there is the door ding risk.

If I get a door ding I just use Rustoleum 2X flat black to repair it. Also covers cat prints and bird crap.
Last edited:
I've really grown tired of the shows...... all day in the hot sun to get an 8.00 plastic trophy. I used to love it, and was always hoped up to get a trophy. These days I prefer a cruise night.....couple hours in the evening under the lights, some good conversations and home. Maybe once the new project is on the road I may try a few shows again.


  • Summer20100591.jpg
    102.8 KB · Views: 0
Yeah Couper, I’m pretty much the same way. I’ve got trophies dating back 10-15 years that I’ve won with several different cars, and most of them I don’t remember which car it was. I used to go to a once a month cruise in on the first Saturday of the month, then they had to move the venue and I despise where it’s at now. It was in a large paved parking lot, easy to walk around, several eating places in the mall it was at. Now it’s held around the courthouse square on the closed streets, up hill on two sides making walking difficult, plus only a couple of high dollar restaurants to eat at that really aren’t that good to me. We went once or twice after they moved it, and haven’t went back. Not much room to set up chairs, hard to get around and see everything, just not as much fun.
Yeah Couper, I’m pretty much the same way. I’ve got trophies dating back 10-15 years that I’ve won with several different cars, and most of them I don’t remember which car it was. I used to go to a once a month cruise in on the first Saturday of the month, then they had to move the venue and I despise where it’s at now. It was in a large paved parking lot, easy to walk around, several eating places in the mall it was at. Now it’s held around the courthouse square on the closed streets, up hill on two sides making walking difficult, plus only a couple of high dollar restaurants to eat at that really aren’t that good to me. We went once or twice after they moved it, and haven’t went back. Not much room to set up chairs, hard to get around and see everything, just not as much fun.
I chucked all my trophies out....had a couple garbage cans full and the garbage men went crazy. There are a couple shows in town square that I do like to go to but they are in the evening as well. I much rather be laying in the hammock or floating in the pool if I'm not in the shop.
The best part of going to a car meet is the drive. One time I was merging from one interstate to another, and I happened to merge between a buddy in his 40 Ford coupe and another guy with a muscle Dart Swinger. We got to the meet and the buddy says he looks in the mirror and was like where the hell did he come from.....?

I too use to enjoy the shows, but after 5 years many of them lately have the rice burners and daddy's money bought Stangs and Challengers.

A club called the Lakeland Cruisers was kicked out of a good venue, because new Stang guy thought it would be cool to do a 20 second burnout in front of a Sushi bar with outside seating, filling the entire restaurant with burnt rubber. Now they have been invited to a village style mall, by a barbecue joint, this is a weekly Friday night get together, so far so good.

The second best thing is when they offer free food to participants.
The now gone pizza night, and a sports bar called JF Kicks, (featured on a bar rescue episode), free burger, dog or drink. It is in a shopping center that mingles the old with the grocery getters, door ding city no matter how hard the DJ puts out the cones.

Then there are my favorites, the mega church shows, usually 400 to 700 cars. One of them gives you all the burgers and dogs you can eat, and one that has the wild game cookout, free samples of hunted wild game. Never had bear meatballs until I went to that one, a yearly event..

So lately, I do the one car car show. A couple of bars and pubs, nice 15 minute drives, I can park in a good spot and watch from inside.

Going to those places gives me a reason to drive the car, driving the car gives me a reason to go! 🙃
Last edited:
Shows used to be a date that I had to finish a car by, and that worked well. It was great to get feedback from the crowd when the car was done. But I get it, and don't attend shows nearly as much as in the past.
I'm not big on shows really. There are some small ones locally that I'll stop in, do a round thru and mosey on. I'm not big on crowds in any venue anymore. I'm one of those that needs to be a little loose and unconfined. One of the local shows in my area was one that I made a few times and stayed a while. It got too big and I quit going. The last time there had me in fight mode over something simple. I was only going to stay a short time because of prior commitments but wanted to make the show because it was one that guaranteed meeting up with some of the people I know. Out here you don't see many friends unless you go visit or get visits. With everybody "just living" the visiting is limited.
I parked out near the road to ensure I'd be able to get out when the crowd got big. I hugged up close to a big oak tree. In rat fashion, threw both doors open for the curious and wandered off to the BBQ stand. That was one of the other draws of that show. A buddy of mine made the best BBQ around and a couple of his sandwiches would make my week. I'm making my way back, yacking with buds and checking things out and get to my truck and I'm surrounded by cars and trucks. I've got only one guy beside me on my exit side but cars on all 3 other sides and not much room. They had started jamming cars close to make more room. OK, ya'll know how it goes. Not much room but people start breaking out the tables and chairs and the "little room" turns into "no room". I stopped the guy waving them in and made a plea to get loose from this before it got worse and he did. I got to my truck and kindly asked those around me to make a little room. I've got row after row ahead of me and beside me on the passenger side and tree to my left. The guy behind me moved his chairs and his truck a few inches which gave me enough area to move back and make a start at turning around the tree. In order to do that, the front of the truck has to move right a little. Now before I go any farther I want to say "no offense" to those who want a spectacular, shiny car. The guy to my passenger side did not want to move his chair. The guy behind him did not want to move his chair either. They are the only obstacles in my way. I get out, walk around to their chairs and move them myself. Ok, I get back in, and as soon as I did, the guy beside me positions himself between me and his car. The guy behind him does the same thing as he puts his body in the way. I suddenly have some guy standing at my bumper, attempting to guide me back giving directions. That dumbass didn't know that where he was standing was in a position to where I couldn't see anything but his shirt front and hearing him above the noise was out. I got out once more and kindly advised him to move, which he did. Then I again turned to the other two and mentioned the idea that being willing to trade a kneecap for a fender was a fool's choice. They decided to stay their course and so did I... With what little room was left between my wheels and their flesh I eased it around the oak and backed into an area big enough to turn around. At this point, I beat that little demon that was sitting on my shoulder. I wanted to make one last part of a turn and shower them with Model A fodder!
We used to go to shows at least one day a weekend, often 2 and a cruise night. Now I go to 2-3 a year, maybe. I go to the local weekly cruise night as often as I can. Usually 2-3 times a month through the warm months.

In my nearly 22 years of driving life, I've been to a ton of shows. I find it to be very simple, if you want a certain spot show up early. If you want to park with your buddies, show up together. I've got a bunch of stories of old guys and car clubs trying to push myself and others around to park together. One particular local club shows up to shows, vote for their friends together in a circle of lawn chairs, and clean out all the trophies. If you're where they've decided their parking area is, they rudely instruct you to go elsewhere (even if the show organizers say you can park anywhere).

Where I live now, I have direct access to hundreds of kilometers of nice paved country roads, some treed, some open prairie, a lot of softly rolling hills and nice views. I'll take that over sitting in a hot parking lot looking at the same cars as last week any day. The joy is in the drive and visiting with friends.

This fall I was at the local cruise night on a very busy night. After doing 2 laps of the parking lot, I found a spot where people just left. It just happened there were 3 spots in a row, and on the one side was a 70's F150 with two kids playing in it. The other spot was closer to the grocery store. Not wanting the door dings when the kids got out and not wanting to inconvenience shoppers, I parked in the middle. As I'm walking away a guy younger than me in what I think was an 80's Chrysler Conquest dries up and asks me to move. I saw the bright red car he was in parked in a spot when I did my loops, but he and his buddies wanted to park 3 in a row (they all already had parking spots close together). He motioned that I could park "over there" where I had circled through and there were no spots. I said "I just made 2 laps, I'm parked." and walked away. It's a cruise night, you want to park together show up at 5. Don't ask me to move when I just parked and it's a packed night.

I'm getting more and more exhausted with the people at cruise nights and car shows. I just want to see some cool cars, see my friends, and drive my junk.
We probably only do 3 or 4 shows a year, and maybe take in a few cruise ins at local fast food joints. The cruise ins usually are places to catch up with friends. We did more car shows when we were part of active car clubs, but I haven't been a member of a car club in years. My wife and I would much rather go for a ride then sit at a car show. Probably the main reason our hot rod sees 10,000 mile a year.

I have never been a trophy chaser, my stuff has always been a bit on the rough side of things., I build drivers. I tell people that if I win a trophy, they didn't have enough cars at their show. When we first started entering car shows, it was because it was less expensive to be a participant then it was to be a spectator, I had 2 kids. As a participant, we could bring in chairs, be close to the action but still have a place to stop and rest. We could bring in a cooler to keep us and the kids hydrated and fed, and didn't have to lug the kids and stuff from (and back to) where ever the spectator parking was, we parked right on the show grounds. The car entry usually covered two adults and kids were free, where with spectator admission we paid for each of us and often had to pay for the kids entry as well. My cars may not had been very popular at some shows, but that didn't bother me much. I knew it drove to where ever the show was, and it was going to get me back home again.
Thanx for inputs, I learned a few things about the car show goers.

Yesterday was the PC monthly show, nice turnout, in the 40's in morning, warmed up to a sweltering 58 degrees.
Cones were out, But no troubles as everybody got there before the DJ.
Interesting that the show is supposed to start at 3, but the DJ starts at 11, the lots are almost filled by then.
Then some leave before or at 3, spots are soon taken up by the later arrivals. Lots of foot traffic.

This one is less than a mile from my house, will continue to go, not so much the distant ones. There are a couple really big ones, far enough to see what others got, too far to deal with the road warriors.
Went to a Tin Dusters show in Quincey IL once
The show is downtown and crazy as it seems, we parked the night before the show to get a good spot, never went back.
Our Back to the Fifties show draws around 11,000 cars. The Fairgrounds is big but people line up in the evening waiting for the gates to open early the next morning. All to get a "good" spot. I show up at 10:00 am and never have to wait in line. I'm there to look at stuff and visit with friends, not sit by my car like a detached hood ornament.
Our Back to the Fifties show draws around 11,000 cars. The Fairgrounds is big but people line up in the evening waiting for the gates to open early the next morning. All to get a "good" spot. I show up at 10:00 am and never have to wait in line. I'm there to look at stuff and visit with friends, not sit by my car like a detached hood ornament.

Latest posts