News & Press: General News

Vice President's Message - July 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018  

Have a seat and walk around

With my quarter-century car hobby badge earned, here are a few observations and words of wisdom to those who plan, run, organize and participate in car clubs and car shows. Please know these musings are not directed at any specific group or person:


Have you ever felt or been told that a car club you had an interest in was unwelcoming to outsiders? That the club was insulated and cliquey? In many cases, the truth is that members of the offending club are actually very nice people and have no idea they have this reputation.

So, how did this happen and what can be done so your group avoids getting this bad rap? One symptom to look for is the “Circle of Chairs.” This sounds innocent and evokes images of happy campers sitting around a cooler, happily chatting about cars and perhaps enjoying adult beverages.

What could be so wrong? The circle sends a message that outsiders are not invited to join in. Conversations and the fellowship that goes along with them are exclusive. I am not accusing anyone of doing this knowingly and with bad intent, but this happens. You have seen it yourself!

The first step is to recognize how harmful this can be to their club socially and numerically. Assuming this is not an intentional act, then don’t sit in closed circles. Leave a few open slots, and, more importantly, invite your newer members to be part of the conversation. I also have a message to those offended by the circle of chairs; ask if you can join. Life is too short to be shy at a club function. I know you will be welcome into the conversation; just bring your own seat.


A few years back, I attended a small-town car show near where I live. The show was run by a religious group as a fundraiser for some local charities, and I knew a few of the guys running the show. In conversation, I uncovered what I believe is a most brilliant idea:

Me: “So, Matt, this is a nice show, what’s your job here?”

Matt: “Just walking around, making sure I talk to everyone and make them feel welcome.”

Yes, Matt’s sole responsibility that day was to say hello to the owners of each car that was entered in the show and to say thanks for coming and make them feel at home. Maybe other car shows have this task on their roster of volunteer jobs, but I have never experienced it. Since that day, my three recommendations, at minimum, to make your car show a success are: Charge an entry fee a little below what the market can bear, offer clean bathrooms and make sure you have someone Just Walking Around.

At Matt’s show, no one was going to be ignored, and that was pretty cool.

—Dave Rubin - past vice-president

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