Saturday, August 4, 2012

5th Annual Classics in the Park Show in Mount Pleasant, TN - Aug. 4, 2012

Car Show Review for Mount Pleasant, TN Car Show

Summary of the show.............. 155 Cars & Trucks.  Some of the 155 Cars & Trucks were "Club Cars" and the club cars were not registered for the show. Registered vehicles were just short of 150. They also had a handful of motorcycles at the show (4-6).

Mount Pleasant, TN is a small town located 12 miles west of Columbia, TN. The town is 11.1 square miles in size with an approximate population of 4,500. The car show was held at Williams Spring Park in Mount Pleasant, TN. The show location was very easy to find and is located directly off of US-Hwy 43 S coming out of Columbia.

This was the fifth year for "Classics in the Park Show" and was the largest turn out they have had to date. For the last two years, it was typical to see a turn out that was just under 100 registrants. The charities that benefit from the show’s revenue are mostly local to Mount Pleasant. For example, in the years past they have taken money raised at the car show and donated to the local fire department to help finish some building projects. They have also donated money to the local school system. From what I understand, the club has even donated funds to help a few families that have had sudden and unexpected deaths.

I had originally decided not to do any car shows Saturday. The weather forecast had indicated possible rain around 1:00 p.m., and I had decided not to get the cars out in the weather. Mount Pleasant is also just outside of my hour and a half general rule of thumb for driving to a car show. But, late Friday night I had decided to take our '06 Mustang GT daily driver and go check out the show. My wife gives me a hard time every now and the regard of, just going to see a car show. Her words are "We don't have to participate in every one of them.” To be honest, my entire thought process on that remark is "Where is the fun in that?" I thought this would be a good show to kind of meet her in the middle. While I had no plans to merely walk around, I would go to the show and leave my competitive hat at home. Figured I would drive the '06 Mustang through a car wash along the way, take my detail bag, and knock off some dirt when I arrive. It would also give me an opportunity to pass out car show flyers for the upcoming event in the hometown where I grew up.

I got up Saturday morning, printed off 150 flyers for the car show in Westmoreland on September 22, went outside to start the car, and remembered that I haven't cleaned up the "splatter" left behind under the hood when I buffed out some clear coat scratches a few weeks ago on the '06. So, before starting the car, I grabbed the water hose and a bucket of car wash soap, popped the hood, and quickly started spraying and washing off the left over compound that worked between the fender and hood seams. This actually turned into a bit of a job. I spent about 30 minutes cleaning the engine bay. I had already spent more time cleaning on the car than I originally had intended. But, I figured there was no reason the old girl had to look like a pig on the field. I could at least dress her up a little bit and insure she was at a minimum "presentable" even though I didn't have any anticipation that she would bring home an award.

You could feel the humidity in the air Saturday morning. While the outside temps were in the low 80's, the air was still fairly sticky. The drive down to Mount Pleasant actually went pretty quick. I simply left Gallatin, TN and headed down hwy 109 over to the 840 bypass, looped down to Interstate 65 South, and got off of exit number 46 from 65 South. I made a right hand turn onto US-412 / TN-99 at exit 46. This is actually where the road that turns into US-43 South. So, after making the right hand turn off of exit 46, I simply stayed on that road and drove 19 miles to the park entrance that was on the right side of the road.

I did make one detour along the way. When I came into Columbia, I grabbed my GPS and did a quick search for "Car Wash." I found one and drove the '06 Mustang through it and vacuumed out the car. Then, I proceed the remaining 12 miles to the show.

As with most shows, registration was a breeze. As you pulled into the park, they had two lanes to pull up into. This was the "staging" area for you to park while you walked over to the designated awning and registered your car. There were plenty of people around to direct where to go. I don't recall my exact registration number...but, I think I was car number 85. Either way, I had at least made it in time to receive a dash plaque that was being handed out to the first 100 cars. At the very least, I was going home with something in hand.

After registration was finished, I pulled forward and followed the marked off path that lead onto the field for parking. As I pulled up on the field, they had some very nice folks letting me know where to park. As I was pulling into a spot......I was told "you can move over more if you like and put more space between you and the other cars."

The show field was huge...... In the last three years...I have never been told that! I am always the guy trying to put more space than allowed between me and other cars. I have on the other hand...been told more times than once that I needed to readjust and take up less room. This was a nice treat at the event. After being told I could take up much more room.....along with the sun in full effect with clear skies, I had started to regret not bringing out my good cars. Be that as it was, I got the little '06 Mustang nestled into her spot and began to unload my chairs and detail bag. I was actually fortunate enough to spot our good friend, Semekia's 2011 Roush and had parked in the row directly behind hers. Almost directly behind her car! Another the temps were slowly climbing to the higher 80s and the humidity was starting to rise along with it, Semekia had stopped and picked up a tent this morning. She already had her "set-up" established behind her car and was in the middle of her "detail ritual" for the show. I thought to myself...”this was going to be a breeze of a day”.... I was going to relax, set up some chairs, and just kick back.

After getting my "nest" set up under Semekia’s tent, I started to do some detailing to our little late model Mustang. Even with 100K on the clock, she deserved to have some attention and clean up. I popped the hood and trunk. began to clean off the brake dust on the wheels, cleaned off the few bugs I picked up on the 12 mile drive over from Columbia, and applied some "plastic & vinyl" conditioner to the underhood items. All in all, she cleaned up to look respectful enough for display on a field that was filling up rather quickly with some amazing cars.

The show field was level for the most part and pretty clean. It did not have any harsh "bush hogged" effect to the landscape. This was also something that is rare to find at a show that could easily accommodate another 150 cars on top of the 150 cars they already had. Actually, I would guess the grounds for this event would be able to handle north of 500 cars with plenty of space left over for spectator parking and trailered parking.

Below are a few pictures of the field. Unfortunately, I was not able to take any from a high vantage point to truly reflect the open space.

Front Line of the show field.

Here is a picture taken while I was standing in the same spot as above. I simply panned to my right to take a picture of where the motorcycles were and also shows the awning where registration was held when you pulled into the event.

Here is a picture taken on the other side of the show field from above, except this picture is taken from behind the first row.

Here is a picture showing more space available to the left side. Also take note of the golf cart. This was one of a few carts that were traveling up and down the rows of percipient handing out free bottled water that was nice and cold.

Here is a simple picture showing the available parking for trailered cars. I was a bit close for this picture. As you may have guessed, the site actually had much more room to accommodate even more trailered vehicles.

Apparently my wife was bored! For some reason she felt a need to take a picture of the restroom accommodation. While I think this is a noteworthy attribute for any car show coverage, it doesn't necessarily have to capture me traveling to utilize the facilities!

The show had a handful of vendors on site. As you will find out later in the post, due to weather..... I was not able to take time out to truly investigate the vendor offerings.  Before the weather interruptions that came later in the day, I had made a mental note to check out a few booths. However, because of the weather...I just wasn't able to do it. I do recall a few vendors that had some good old fashion "gear head" type stuff for sale. They also had a few arts and craft booths for those of a female nature. Like any good car show, they had great food at a very reasonable price. I recall a cheeseburger for $2.50 and a coke for $1.00. They also had more than one option for concessions.

The vendor I stopped at for my car show cuisine was located in the corner of an "L" shaped setup for the vendors. While in line to order up my cheese burger, I took one picture down the row of vendors and pivoted 90 degrees to my right snapping the second picture down the other row of vendors.

While the next picture isn't of the highest quality, I did feel obligated to take a shot of the grill that responsible for those tasty burgers and dogs!

Before getting something to eat, I had actually gone around and placed my car show flyers in the cars. This was actually the first time I had passed flyers out at a car show. It was pretty uncomfortable at first. It really felt like I was violating someone else's car when I simply reached my hand into the open window, much less the awkward feeling of when I released the flyer into the seat. I have to admit....I couldn't keep doing it. I let my wife take over that job. It just felt too violating for me, but I really wanted to try and promote my hometown’s car show. So, while my wife respectfully placed flyers into the cars, I took a picture of each and every car. This turned out to be a very large undertaken. While It didn't feel very hot outside, the humidity was high enough that you would have thought I was a water tower that had sprung a leak!

After taking pictures and getting some rest, Semekia came back to the tent and had been asked to help with the judging. At first I felt sorry for her....they had a lot of fantastic cars on the field. However, this provided a silver lining for everyone. Now, I have a chance to report back to the method of judging used for the show. Semekia is also a great person for judging cars. While she has a passion for Mustangs, she is very fair and loves all cars. She is also about as picky as I am when it comes to a car being clean and in good working order. As you can tell from the pictures, Semekia's role was undercarriage. Whoa is the person that forgot to clean under their car! As luck would have it, Semekia did not get to judge my car. So much for an insider’s advantage. Even though I had already come to terms with not actually being at the show to compete, it’s still hard to turn it off!

Judging was as follows: They had two teams of judges. Each person was responsible for a section of the judging sheet. Semekia had undercarriage and only reported the points for undercarriage. Then you had a person for interior...another for forth and so on.. Pretty standard stuff. They appeared to be very organized. It was  announced when Judging was officially started and reminded everyone to have hoods up and trunks up. As you can see from the above pictures, they did have mirrors to check under the cars. Judging looked to be pretty thorough.

Close to the time judging was finishing up, they announced a weather advisory had been released for thunderstorms coming in our direction. After the announcement, we starting hearing the rumble of V-8’s firing up. The ones that had been judged and were local to the area began to start up their cars to take them home and come back to the show later. All of the trailered cars got wrapped up and tucked away. We also began to pack up our little nest. At this point, the sky was still clear. A little bit of wind had started to kick up  but noting to give indication of a storm about to sit in.

After we got everything packed up, let the hoods and trunks down with the windows up, we made our way over to the area where the awards would be given out. They had already announced earlier in the day that the awards would be held on the left side of the park under another pavilion. Again, I am still impressed with how well organized and laid out this event was. Most car shows are limited to not only how much space is available to host and show case the vehicles….but, they also have even less space for the awards ceremony. At the Williams Spring Park, they had  three pavilions, and the event organizers utilized each of them. One pavilion was used for car registration as you arrived into the park. Directly opposite of that location on the other side of the grounds was a pavilion that had been set up with audio equipment and displayed the “Best of” trophies. While at the back of the park, they also utilized the third pavilion as an area to tally all the scores for the car show results. While everyone was slowly packing everything up and preparing their cars for the weather that was supposed to move in, Semekia become our storm tracker   and was checking the storms current conditions on her phone. As she was reading through the advisory…..she saw an advisory for possible hail. At this point, I told Semekia that I was going to stay for the awards and if she needed to leave…then do so. If she wins anything, we could meet up later and make sure she receives it. Semekia took me up on my offer and left to take her Roush north to Hendersonville.

Within the next 30 minutes, the weather around us started to change, and you could smell the rain coming. This was a time that was actually a blessing. The temps had hit the 90s and humidity was out of the roof. With the overcast starting to sit in and the wind kicking up a bit more, it really started to cool things off.

When the rain was a light drizzle and all of a sudden......the bottom dropped out! You can see from the pictures below. When the rain let just poured down.

At this point...all of us are really getting to know each other as we squeezed in under the awning inside the pavilion. Admittedly so, I have to say that the award ceremony was actually fun. While we were all huddled together in the pavilion and trying to stay comfortable making room for everyone to stay out of the rain, it actually wasn't that uncomfortable. The announcers starting talking and letting everyone know that the awards will be passed out very soon. It seemed to keep everyone at ease, and no one appeared to be getting to anxious in the tight quarters.

As the flyer for the show stated, they passed out a first, second & third place plaque for each class. I sat and actually paid attention to what cars received an award for each class. This was a very different feeling. Usually, I wait eagerly for the announcer to get to the class I am in. I typically have a feeling of excitement and nervousness to find out how my cars may have fared against the competition...hoping and praying that I was fortunate enough to be awarded for all of the hard work that I have poured into my car, while at the same time mentally processing the competition I had in my class and constantly going back in forth with what I might have missed before the judging started.....Well, not this time. This time I was able to simply enjoy the show. While listing to the winners, I would try and recall a mental picture of the cars that won an award.

It did take a community effort for passing out awards. When someone’s name was called, the plaque was passed back to you, and everyone of course showed respect and applauded the winner for each placement.

While I was not waiting for my class to be called with the same vigor of most car shows, I still had to make sure I paid attention to the winners in class 18 (Mustang Original). They finished up Class 17 and was about to start on class 18. I was waiting to hear Semekia's name and thinking of how funny it’s probably going to be when everyone hears the name "Semekia" and then see a 5'10" middle age, overweight, balding white guy stand up to accept the award. Of course I kind of snickered to myself and think of how large Semekias's personality is...I figure everyone will actually still be looking around for her when I stand up becasue...I'm sure at some point, she has chatted with everyone with her great personality that isn't soon forgotten.

I hear my name said, and I look at my wife because I was off daydreaming. At first thought....I was thinking she had said my name to remind me to pay attention. Well, as it turns was the announcers calling my name for the 3rd place award in class 18. I was in more shock pulling 3rd place at this show than when I got a best of show with my real car! With a feeling of being "awestruck," I stood up and accepted my award. Within seconds of accepting my award, they called Semekia for 2nd place. While I had a bit of mental comical relief prior to them calling winners for class 18....I was still in shock of winning an award and simply said I'm accepting that one too.........

As I sat back down and still feeling a bit of confusion from being taken off guard with an award, the gentlemen in front of me turned around and said..."It didn't look like you thought you were going to win that." All I could say is..."You haven't seen my car.."

Winning an award at this show actually reminded me why I love entering car shows and why I enjoy them so much. I have evolved over the past few years into looking at car shows as a competitive sport (and still do deep inside)...but this show brought back that feeling I first got when I won my first car show award. I grew up figuring that I would never be able to afford a "Car Show" worthy vehicle. I always had a passion for all things automotive and would flip through car magazines like Hot Rod, Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords...even Classic Chevy, thumbing through them like it was an old Sears catalog at Christmas. I admired the feature cars and studied the pictures of an engine bay while paying close attention to the small details in those articles that made the car special enough to be in the magazine.

When I won my first award with the 1999 Mustang GT....after I had 95% of it rebuilt, I had an emotion and thought of "I have finally arrived." I had become a member of an elite group of automotive historians and preservationist. With a car’s not always about being the coolest cat on the block. It’s also not always about the person that was able to spend the most amount of money. A car show to about showing your dedication to taking care of a car and being able to maintain, restore, modify with attention to detail. While I feel I have always taken care of my vehicles regardless of its intended service...daily driver, work truck...ect., ect., ect., winning an award today, informed me that I have truly learned how to take care of my car...Doing the car show circuit has taught me how to properly maintain a vehicle outside the bounds of running it through a car wash and proper mechanical maintenance. Rather, I have learned how to not only maintain a car....but, also how to take care of a car for the long haul with 100k on the clock.

Today's award is being dedicated to my Father. It took 36 years for me to understand that maintaining a car was not the same thing as taking care of a car. He always said to pour 100% into everything you do regardless of what it is. While I felt I was not going all out with my car today, it does look like I gave it 100%. For that, my dad would have been proud.

I think it also brings back to the matter what you have..whether  it’s a car, house, job, family...take pride in what you do have and take care of it. Regardless of the condition and/or state things are in, take care of what you do have and you will be rewarded (or in this case...awarded).

Normally I like to take pictures of the people I am with along with the awards with the cars. But, today...the weather just didn't allow for that. Below is a picture of the "Best of Trophies" and a picture of my plaque. The "Best of Trophies" were HUGE!......

After they finished with the plaques and trophies for the car show, they began the cash prize drawings. First they did the 50/50 with a take home pot of over $200. Then they began a drawing for the big money. When we registered cars, we all got a red ticket. This became the "Red Ticket" drawing. I was getting fairly excited. mainly because they were going to have a five $100 drawings, two $250 drawings, & one $500 drawing for a total of $1500 to be given away. I normally don't get excited about any of the "cash" drawings...mainly because the odds of winning a very low. But, with this was only for the folks that registered cars. We all had an equal footing at an opportunity to take home some cash. While I was getting excited about the drawing and possible anticipation of winning, I had leaned over and told my wife..”When I was registering for the show and they handed me the ticket. I said I would donate the money back if I win.”  It’s fair to say, she wasn't on board with that, we come to a compromise. Since she technically owns 100% of everything I got....oh, I mean 50% of everything I got, if I did win a cash prize...I could donate back 100% of my share...basically, 50% of the winnings. As luck would have it, I didn't win and probably could have kept my mouth shut about giving back the money. However, it was a great time and experience eagerly waiting to hear the drawing results.

As a wrap up to the report, this car show will be put on my list of "Essential Car shows" to attend. Obviously, it has grown year after year and has a ton of room to grow in size. It is very well organized. It’s for a great cause and over all gets an "A" for the event. In the future....if they move from plaques up to trophies, that will net them an "A+" from me. As anyone that knows me....knows I like my double-posted tiered trophies. Overall, great experience and if the weather looks better next year, I will go ahead and break my golden rule of drive time for a car show and bring out the modified 1999 Mustang next year. If they do happen to bump up to an actually trophy for the regular classes....I'll most certainly drag out my wife and her Camaro as well. I'm pretty excited about doing the show again next year and look forward to reporting back with hopefully what will turn out to be an even bigger event!

5th Annual Classics in the Park Show in Mount Pleasant, TN Mustang Turn out 

Last but certainly not least...A horse with a different name. I think all of our hearts go out to a well done Maverick.

The next series of post. Will be of each car in each row. The first picture will be a shot I took looking down the row of cars.

Here is the Front Row...Row One.

Row Two

Row Three

Row Four

Row Five

Row Six

Row Seven

Row Eight

Row Nine

Row Ten only had two cars in it. I skipped the step of taking a "Row Picture" with this one.



Now that I have completely covered the Car Show.

Here are a few more pictures of the cars that may have made me do a double take or I thought were a little unique.

KY Car Show, KY Car Shows, TN Car Show, TN Car Shows