Most car guys attend car shows but a much smaller number of them organize and set up the shows from front to back.
One of the biggest reasons is that car shows involve hours and hours of detailed, hard work with zero pay.
Fortunately there are people who accept the realities of behind the scenes work at a car show and take it on for the good of the community because most car shows are fundraisers disguised as great events.
The Metuchen, New Jersey Rescue Squad Benefit Car-Truck-Motorcycle Show is a textbook example.
Ben Deutschman had an idea ten years ago “ The Metuchen Rescue Squad Benefit Car-Truck-Motorcycle Show was a brainchild of mine that came to fruition 3 years ago, which was 10 years after I first proposed the event, and hit its stride this year”.
Clearly Ben’s perseverance paid off in 2012 but like many start-up ideas there was a learning curve as he explained, “ The genesis of this event was actually a Car Show I helped organize for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the town of Metuchen. That Show was held in the Summer of 2000, and after the show, I proposed that we continue the show thereafter, as a benefit for our local all volunteer Rescue Squad”.
Ben ran into a road block that is eerily familiar to many organizers, “Unfortunately, it seemed I was the ONLY one interested in doing such a show, and thus, without anyone to help me, the idea stayed just that, an idea, that is, until 2009, when I became friends with the Dad of one of my son’s schoolmates, both of whom were going to be graduating in June of 2010”.
Because of their mutual link to the school Ben and his newfound friend set the 2010 show up with two goals, “… At first, my partner (Allan Regen) and I, decided we’d split the Show’s focus between something called “Project Graduation”, a series of chaperoned events for the graduating Seniors of Metuchen High, funded by the parents of each graduating class, and our local Rescue Squad, hoping that a broader appeal would benefit both the Show, and the charitable recipients. So much for the easy part, thanks to some bureaucratic red tape, we didn’t get our site approval for our 2010 Show, until 2-1/2 months before the August Show date”.
Battle-scarred veterans of car shows will recognize the red tape part of the equation because bureaucrats are definitely the “stick in the spokes” for many car shows but Ben’s show did take place, “Somehow, g-d only knows, we pulled it together, with the help of my Son (Martin) and his friends”.
The 2011 show changed the focus from two goals to one, as Ben explained, “Our 2011 Show focused solely on our Rescue Squad, and despite bad weather for the day of Show, and an abysmally low participant turnout, we went from our previous year’s donation of $630.00, to a little over $800.00 for 2011”.
Ben learned from the first two years and the 2012 show gained some serious momentum, “Our 2012 Show, as described in the attached write-up, blew away our first two year’s participant attendance totals, and after expenses, we are on track to donate around $1,200.00″.
Most car shows are based on community efforts for community causes and the Metuchen Rescue Squad is no exception. Ben looks at this show in its most basic terms, “I feel that helping our all volunteer Rescue Squad certainly is a great cause, cause when you call, they come, no matter what day of the week, or what kind of weather”.
The other part of the car show equation is this, in Ben’s own words, “The answer is simple, I’d like to see this show grow and grow, and hopefully pick enough help along the way to make that possible. The bigger the Show gets, the more we have to donate to our Rescue Squad”.
This is exactly how most organizers view their shows because the bigger they get, the more the community benefits from the success. Hard work, volunteers and buy-in from the local car guys are why every community car show on the planet works for the local needs.
Many thanks to Ben for his insight into the car show process and here’s a link to the Metuchen Rescue Squad website-and have a look at a few of the cars from 2012.