The car and truck scene today has definitely opened my eyes as we become more mature (a nice way to say we are getting old) as we experience the different communities that ultimately make up the automotive aftermarket industry. Whether you are into racing (track or drag racing), hot rods, classics, imports, tuners, classics, trucks, mini trucks, 4x4s, no matter what your preference is, there is a place for all of us to fit in, in some capacity.
Since the beginning, my passion for anything on wheels has driven me to give back to the community and contribute in some way. That’s how the creation of carshowz.com came about. Unfortunately for some people, along with that passion, comes the burden and stress of trying to make everyone happy. A rookie mistake but, as we make our way through life, lessons are learned; and sometimes that means the hard way, but in the end we learn and move on. The advantage of getting older is we learn how to overcome, adapt and move on which translates to being able to filter out the BS.
Now I have to warn you, this is a touchy-feely type of post. I am willing to bet there’s a high percentage of people out there within the car/truck scene that has felt down and out. If not, you are lying, cause I see the endless posts on social media complaining about the scene, F this, F that, I’m selling my car / truck and getting out of the scene, etc.
For me personally, I felt I needed to make a change, otherwise I am going to continue to get sucked into the suckness of everyone else and their suckiness. So what am I doing differently and what is my opinion of the car and truck scene today? The scene is thriving and it’s bigger and better than ever, it always has and it always will; quite frankly it hasn’t died down one bit. Sure there are spurts of large venues popping up here and there and then they disappear. That could be a result of the economy or someone trying to make a fast buck off of the enthusiasts for a couple of years by “starting” a show series; whatever it is, there is and will always be “car and truck people” doing their thing. You have to know where to look to find it and don’t give up until you do, because it’s out there.
This year, 2017, I have decided to focus on myself and those who are important around me. After some hard lessons learned over the years, whether it was to look out for a so-called friend, dumping an insane amount of money into a build, supporting car shows or whatever it is, my #1 priority now is ME. It sounds selfish, but I am so much happier and that happiness has transitioned my thought pattern into something more positive on my outlook for the car and truck scene entirely. I was entirely focused on making other people happy. No matter how hard I tried, how much work I put in, it was never enough. I felt that every ounce of passion I had, was being squeezed out of me. We have a tendency to gravitate towards the things that make us feel the most wanted. Whether that is joining a car club, a show you want to help work for / with, whatever it is, it’s natural to feel that way. But what you need to do is sit back and figure out what ultimately makes you happy. Do the things you want to do and set goals you want to accomplish. Not for anyone else, but for you! Start your own project you’ve thought about doing for years. In the end, the goal is to work towards making yourself better which than translates into making the community and the industry around you better. What will happen is you will bring the best out of other people and they will want to support you no matter what and they will be by your side. That is being a positive influence and being able to give back.
The Car and Truck Scene Today – Where to Travel?
At the end of 2016 I attended SEMA. Although the keyboard warriors can sit home and completely bash the event with their comments of bolt-ons, fender flares, what have you…it’s a trade show, those type of products are expected. The manufacturers entire mission is to design a product that can be easily mass-produced and installed by “almost” anyone. Regardless if you don’t like bro-dozers, lifted trucks or cars with ‘just’ rims. If you pay attention to the majority of the builds out at SEMA, they are amazingly executed with a great amount of detail, design and engineering. If your argument is that they don’t drive and / or run, that’s nonsense. Until you witness the Friday evening roll-out parade to SEMA Ignited, you just need to sit home, in your moms basement and continue to soak up all of the negativity from social media. SEMA pretty much re-energized me, not only being out in Las Vegas is always a great time, seeing the passion in others for the industry and being surrounded by like-minded people is always a great motivator. Also being around the pioneers of our industry is a great feeling to be apart of it. You can check out our SEMA coverage, here.
Lone Star Throwdown
Moving into the 2017 season, we decided to make the trip to Texas to visit our friends at Lone Star Throwdown. Visiting LST continued the positive momentum for me personally and us as a team to continue to drive us to continue to do what we do. We had an amazing time and you can check out our write-up and coverage of the Lone Star Throwdown show, here. In 2013 we (CarShowz) were a small part of LST and the show and the show hosts Lonnie and Radar are the most humble guys I know. Their show has grown to be one of the most known truck shows around. Getting out and seeing what else is out there, outside of your region is a must do! Especially if you are not satisfied with the quality of the shows / events in your area. Not to mention it was cool to be able to chat with KC.
I now have the opportunity to travel more now that our girls are a bit older but, I have also surrounded myself by positive people. I would say the people who you interact with either on a daily or a weekly basis is the important piece to this puzzle. Being able to have a positive conversation about events or the scene in general will help keep you motivated and moving into a positive direction.
Minitrucker Lifestyle Video
To continue the positive momentum for 2017, we received a phone call from East Coast Minis asking us to work on a video presentation for them to be presented at the 2017 OC Car & Truck Show. I’m no film major and I’m definitely not a videographer, but to continue to grow you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. There’s so many positive points that can come from an opportunity like this. Not only is it forcing me to work with new camera gear, editing software, etc., but it’s an opportunity to put ECM in a positive spotlight in addition to contributing to the OC Car & Truck Show who has 17 years of roots within the industry. So, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. The result may not always be a positive one, but you can always learn from the experience and grow. You can check out the Minitrucker Lifestyle Video, here.
Other Events & Activities
There are a ton of other activities you can participate in and keep active within the scene. Car meets are becoming a norm and more and more meets are popping up. We participated as a vendor at The Mid-Atlantic Mega Meet this past Spring and had an awesome time. There are a ton of charity cruises and events throughout the U.S. where you can volunteer and help make a difference. Do your research on the events first and ensure it is for a legit cause and the money is being managed properly. Being able to give back and contribute one way or another is refreshing.
So what’s my secret?!
To survive within the car and truck scene today, what’s the secret you ask? There isn’t one, but get out there and force yourself to visit other shows within your region and / or beyond, if you can. The scene has a ton of positive like-minded people who are looking to #makecarshowsgreatagain. The best part about that is, there are high-caliber builds out there waiting to be seen in-person. Builds that are not typically blasted all over social media, literally waiting for you to drool over.
So get out from your backyard and be willing to get out there and visit other cities to see what’s going on. Kill the buzz / hype on social media. Immediately delete all of the people who constantly have something negative to say. This advice alone will instantly rejuvenate your love for anything (not just cars or trucks), by alleviating the nonsense, is an instant relief. Unsubscribe to the useless car groups that are constantly bickering about mods, whose build is better or the constant bashing for scene points.
The truth is, those who over-hype themselves or dump 100k into their ride will be bankrupt and will disappear from the scene in a couple of years if not within a few months. That goes for self-proclaimed super heros who think they are building the worlds first something and want to brag about it on social media. If you cannot be humble, people will see right through your talent and skill (or lack thereof) and your big-headed personality will ruin all of that hard work. So do yourself a favor and filter all of the negativity out now. Trust me, there is no benefit to holding on. There are too many supporters out there in the world that will support you no matter what. Your perception can be quickly tainted by subjecting yourself to everyone’s negative thoughts. When you spend the time to get to know someone and learn their mindset, you quickly grow a level of respect for that person and want to support what they do. It’s almost like a marriage or a relationship, it’s really no different. But the key is, you have to be willing to spend the time to get to know the person. If you feel it’s not worth your time, then don’t waste it. Just keep in mind you cannot allow a couple of sour apples ruin your decision making process moving forward. Try to keep a positive attitude and also realize some folks may have bad days. So don’t go to ape sh*t and purge everyone in your life. You will learn over time who is there for you and who is there just to milk you for everything you have.
There are a ton of positive attributes within the car and truck scene today, take advantage and enjoy it!