As the end of the year rapidly approaches, It's a good time to take a moment to look back at the 2017 car show season. I had planned to write this year-end recap back in November, but family commitments, Thanksgiving, my spouse convalescing from a total knee replacement, and updates to the website delayed this by a few weeks.
Now that things have started to settle down a bit, let's look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2017 season.
I managed to attend 80 events from January through November. Of the 80 events, only six did I attend as a non-participant.
The list below reflects my opinion of the events I attended. In no way does it encompasses ALL the events that took place in Central Ohio during the season. If you attended a show or cruise-in not on my list that you thought was exceptionally good or bad, please share it in the comments. Feel free to also post a comment if you disagree with any of my choices.
Ok, so let's get started with the Good.
BEST REGISTRATION FEE CAR SHOWS:
- Champaign Cruisers 4th of July Car Show at Skelley's Lumbar Company in Urbana, Ohio. You can tell the Cruisers have been doing this for 20 years. The show is extremely well-organized. The club even goes as far as to mark off parking areas in the grass with spray paint. There were plenty of food vendors, nice door prizes, a unique venue, and great mix of vehicles from Ohio and Indiana.
- Vettes, Rods and Classic Car Show at the Creekside district in downtown Gahanna, Ohio. Hosted by the Capital City Corvette Club, this show has grown steadily every year. The Creekside district makes a unique venue for a car show. There are plenty of restaurants in the district to meet most everyone's culinary tastes. Judging is based on a point system, and awards are presented in two categories, one for the Corvettes and the other for the rods and classics.
- Cruisin' for a Cause at the Discover Church in Dublin, Ohio. This show raises money for a different cause each year. This year the cause was Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. In addition to the cars, there's also a craft show and model car contest going on simultaneously. Each year the show offers unique custom hand-made trophies. All vehicles are thoroughly judged and awards are based on a point system.
Honorable Mention: The Purple Door Cruise In at the Grove City United Methodist Church, Spring Fling All Corvette Show at the Polaris Parkway Quaker Steak and Lube, and Cabela's Charity Car Show and Cruise In at the Cabela's store on Gemini Place in Columbus, Ohio.
BEST NO REGISTRATION FEE CAR SHOWS:
- Rod Knockers Car Show at the Rural King in Marion, Ohio
- Cruisin' with the King hosted by the Mid Ohio Cruisers at the Marysville, Ohio Burger King.
- Jack Maxton's Friday Night Cruisin' at Jack Maxton Chevrolet dealership in Columbus, Ohio.
All three of the above shows are monthly events. The Rod Knockers and Cruisin' with the King happen every month from April through October. Jack Maxton's Friday Night Cruisin' is held on the third Friday of the month during June, July, August and September.
One could easily reverse number one and two on this list. Both are really good "free" shows with door prizes, 50/50 raffle, and unusual trophies each month. I gave the number one nod to the Rod Knockers just because they give out a few more awards. Jack Maxton would be right up there competing for the top spot if it weren't for the fact that it's limited to Chevys only.
- Der Dutchman Weekly Cruise In at the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City, Ohio. There's no question in my mind this is the best cruise-in in Central Ohio. From the manicured grass parking area to the food choices inside or outside the restaurant, this cruise-in offers a great way to spend a Thursday evening. Everyone who brings a car is eligible to win one of the many great desserts or a gift card to the restaurant that are raffled off at the end of each cruise-in.
- Columbus Cars and Coffee at Lennox Town Center in Columbus, Ohio. Located adjacent to The Ohio State University campus, Columbus Cars and Coffee offers a great way to spend a Saturday morning meeting other car enthusiasts. You'll see cars that are rarely seen at other car shows or cruise-ins. I've never left Columbus Cars and Coffee disappointed.
- Delaware Coffee & Cars at the Richwood Bank in Delaware, Ohio. A newcomer on the scene, the bank held its first event in August and planned to hold events in September and October. Unfortunately, weather canceled the September cruise-in. Despite only two events, the cruise-in got off to a good start. Participants can enjoy a free cup of coffee or latte at the coffee bar inside the bank, and door prizes are raffled off at the end of each cruise-in.
Honorable Mention: The Vintage Auto Club of Delaware's monthly cruise-in at Freddy's Restaurant in Delaware, Ohio, and the Chesrown Friday Night Cruise held the Friday evening before the downtown Delaware car show.
FAVORITE CARS AND TRUCKS:
I took more than 6000 photos throughout the season. Here are the top 10 cars and trucks that made me stop and say "Holy Cow"!
Ken Farmer's 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback
Larry Tisdale's 1940 Ford 2 door sedan
Steve Andrix's 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air
1958 Cadillac Limosine belonging to Jim Wolf
1929 Chevy 1 1/2 ton pickup truck owned by Joe Troyer
Mike Shirkey's 1966 Pontiac Tempest. Mike's car started out having 4 doors and painted white.
2017 Grand Sport Tribute Corvette belonging to Jeremy Wellborn. Jeremy and his son drove it all the way from Oklahoma to participate in the Dublin Arthritis Show.
1948 Buick Roadmaster owned by Scott Trogolo from Milan, Ohio
1939 Cadillic on display at the Goodguys PG Nationals belonging to Wes Rydell
And the car that blew me away the most this season was this 1959 pink Cadillac convertible I spotted cruising the parking lot at Wendell's Pub in Westerville, Ohio.
UNIQUE AND UNUSAL
Over the course of 80 events, there's a high probability you'll come across some unique and unusual vehicles. Here's my top 10:
Boats with wheels made an appearance at several shows.
What are the odds of encountering two front engine Corvairs.
Greg Nobis brought his Ghostbuster replica to the inaugural Delaware Coffee and Cars at the Richwood bank.
A Opel GT "rat rod" is a pretty rare sighting.
I bet there aren't many 4 x 4 Camaros out there.
This 1966 Grumman Stop Van turned up at a few shows.
This is just one of several "Buckeye" themed vehicles I came across during the season.
I never heard of a King Miget until I saw this one at the Friday Nights Uptown show in Marysville, Ohio.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS
For me, there were three memorable moments from the 2017 season.
- My grandson participating in his very first cruise-in at Der Dutchman
- Our good friend, Russ Annis, receiving the first Henry Spohn Award at the Dublin Arthritis show.
- The Cruisin' for a Cause show turned out to be one of those rare moments when you and your buddies all receive awards
THE BAD AND THE UGLY
With the Good out-of-the-way, let's look at the bad and the ugly.
Here are the five parking areas to make my bad parking list.
- City Barbeque on Main Street in Columbus, Ohio. The parking area had more crumbling chunks of asphalt than it had asphalt intact. I saw several people almost trip over the chunks of asphalt.
- NAPA Auto Parts store on Main
Street in Hilliard, Ohio. This was the location of the first Auto Smarts show of the year. While the surface wasn't in chunks like City Barbeque, it had some areas that were in pretty rough shape.
- Pastime Park in Plain City, Ohio, site of the Poor Man's Nationals. Participants have a choice of their vehicles covered in tons of dust or tons of tree sap. One poor guy's (no pun intended) black Corvette was gray with dust by the end of the show.
- Buffalo Wings and Rings on Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio. The past three years have seen construction on both sides of the restaurant. Heavy rains wash dirt and debris from the construction areas to the surface of the lot. It looks like a bunch of 4x4s just out of the mud drove all over the lot. I was unlucky to get behind a Corvette with tailpipes pointed downward as I left the show. Ugh!
- Colo's Classic Car Show at the Columbus Zoo. This show has gotten so large it's out grown the available parking space at the Zoo. Cars are packed in so tight in many areas that it becomes difficult to maneuver your vehicle into a parking spot. This year I ran over someone's soft-side cooler trying to back my car into a spot. Fortunately, there was no damage to my car or the cooler.
Related to parking, my car received a door ding at one of the final cruise-ins of the year.
I only have two complaints with the judging this year and both didn't having anything to do with the selection of awards.
- The Dublin Arthritis Show failed to have a first place plaque for the 2010 and up Camaro sub-class. With 18 cars, this turned out to be the largest sub-class of Camaros. The judges couldn't even tell us what car received the most points because the scoring sheets were left at the Crown Plaza hotel. It was a real kick in the teeth for the 18 of us who paid $35 to register our cars then spend another 2-3 hours cleaning them only to find out there was no award.
- The judges for the Cruise The 'Ville held at the Park of Roses in Columbus, Ohio insisted on judging my car before I finished cleaning it. I asked that they please come back when I was finished, but they insisted it had to be judged right then and there. It wasn't like they were up against a deadline or anything. Registration had been open for less than an hour. This is the first time this has happened to me in all the years I've been participating in car shows. I thought it was pretty rude on the part of the judges. If I pay to register my car for a show, I should at least be given the opportunity to clean it to my satisfaction before it's judged.
All but two of the shows I attended presented a trophy or plaque for awards. The downtown Plain City and the Medicine and the Arts Car shows passed out ribbons. I think I can safely speak for the majority of car owners when I say we would prefer our vehicles be recognized with something other than a ribbon, especially if we've paid to register our cars.
GOOD AND BAD FOOD:
Best tasting hamburger of the season goes to the fall On The Rocks show. Worst tasting hamburger was at the Trunk and Treat show in Hilliard, Ohio. I think the hamburger I got that day had been hanging around in the pan for a few hours. Needless to say It was kind of dry and tasteless.
Best food choices at an event goes to the Champaign Cruisers 4th of July show in Urbana and Friday Nights Uptown in Marysville. The Poor Man's Nationals at Pastime Park in Plain City gets the dubious distinction of having the worst food choices. There were only two food vendors for almost 300 participants. Only one of those vendors sold real food. The other sold ice cream treats. As you can imagine, there were long lines to get a hamburger or hot dog that day.
The Purple Door show at the Grove City Methodist church offered one of the better food bargains. Everyone that registered a vehicle was given a coupon to receive a second sandwich for free with the purchase of the first sandwich. Even better bargains were the River Rally and the Inn at Olentangy Trail shows which included food with registration.
While most events offered the usual hamburgers and hot dogs, a couple shows provided some unique offerings. At the Cabela's show, one could enjoy a bison or elk sandwich from the restaurant inside the store. A meat coma was a real possibility with the purchase of an ox roast sandwich at The West Jefferson Ox Roast show.
Overall, I give the 2017 season a solid A. I had the opportunity to see lots of great cars and make many new friends. I really can't complain too much about the weather either. For the most part, it cooperated throughout the season.
I really enjoyed reporting on all these shows and cruise-ins through this blog, and look forward to doing the same for 2018.
Look for more video content on the blog next year. My goal will also be to have more reports from shows south of I-70.
I want to thank everyone who regularly checked into this blog and those that took the time to leave a comment. Your support has been truly appreciated. Look for 2018 to be bigger and better.
As always, please feel free to leave a comment.