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Story by Lois Grace
Photos by Melissa and Jerry Jess

Well! I guess it's about that time of year when you all are digging out from under the winter blanket of snow or rain or whatever it is you get where you live, and you're probably thinking about the upcoming VW show season. We here in the far West are lucky that way; since our winters are mild they end sooner than in other places, and our show season starts sooner too. In fact, it kicked off with the big Vintage VW Spring Meet at Kelley Park.

My club, the Golden Gate Chapter of the VVWCA, is the group that puts this show on, and I've been a part of it since 1986. Gee, if I really want to feel old I could tell you that some VW fans weren't even born yet when I started helping out at this show! Anyway, I've done it for so long that this year I decided to take a break and not go at all. It helped that some friends of ours wanted to take a week with us and go camping (something else we can easily do this time of year in California), so we took off the day before the Kelley Park show and were on the road when the big weekend took place. And, to tell you the truth, I did not miss Kelley Park one bit. And I call myself a vintage VW fan! This is a show that I wouldn't have dreamed of missing a few years ago. But lots of things have conspired to make it a big headache for me, instead of the fun it used to be. And that, my friends, is why I'm writing this column.

Someone I knew once said that a VW show is only as good as the people who come to it. Or something like that. And, he was right. Without spectators, what kind of show can you have?! But as a spectator or a car-shower, you have responsibilities. The main one is not to give the people putting on the show a hard time. In other words, those who choose to do a show decide where and when you get in and how much it costs. If you don't like their decisions, then GO HOME! Don't stand outside the gate and whine about how it costs too much, or how the other gate would've been better because it has more room (or whatever), or why do I have to wait till 8:00 to get in when I've been in line since last night? Just pay the fee, wait your turn, and go in when the gates open, whatever gate it might be. So stop whining, you big weenie!

Your next obligation would be to obey the rules. Every show venue has rules, and you are bound by admission to obey them. If the flyer says NO DOGS please don't show up with your twin pit bulls and expect us to let you in. None of us want to be "gate nazi" and have to be the one to tell you to go home (especially when you are holding two pit bulls). Just read the flyer! If it says NO ALCOHOL, leave the beer at home too. Ditto for BBQ's. Why do these people think they can come and just do whatever they please? At the San Jose Historical museum, where our Kelley Park show is held, we pay over $12,500 every time we put on a show there. Yes, you read correctly. That amount goes, off the top, to the park as rent for our event. Any damage done to the park by either us or our attendees is on top of this. In addition to the rent, the park gets a cut of each admission we charge. So, if you figure a percent of the fee we charge 3,600 people to get in, plus any damages done (like by the pinhead in the slammed Beetle who did burnouts on the back lawn one year and ruined the sod - or the idiot last year who dumped out his burning charcoal on the grass when told to leave because of the BBQ), PLUS the $12,500 fee and you have a big chunk of change. We don't do this show for financial gain or to "swell the club coffers". We do it for fun, and for the fun of everyone else who shows up for a good time. Please don't ruin it with your stupid behavior and risk jeopardizing future shows. See, if they think we are simply too much trouble, it's very likely they will just tell us to find somewhere else to hold the show. And that could be a big problem.

Finally, there is nothing worse than a sore loser. This seems to happen every year too, and frankly, I am so tired of dealing with it that I am thinking of not even going to Kelley Park the next time. Oh wait: I already didn't go to Kelley Park. This must be why, or one of the reasons why. Let me explain: if you enter your VW in a show, do you expect to win? Or, do you HOPE to win? There's a big difference between the two. Those who show up expecting to win something are going to be very disappointed, more times than not. The ones who show up and either hope to win or don't care one way or the other, will have FUN. And, isn't fun the main goal of a VW show anyway?

We had a Crybaby at Kelley Park this year again. Now, mind you, this is a grown man with a restored VW, and he was so put off by his third place win that he wrote our club president an email to express his displeasure. The guy just couldn't believe that, since he'd driven a rare car 2 ½ hours in the rain that day to be at our show, a mere MILITARY vehicle had beaten him at a first place win. The military vehicle in question was also a seldom-seen, rare restored model. He went on to say that there "must be something wrong" with our judging system if a military vehicle was able to beat his car in a class win, and even suggested that our vote-counters were somehow responsible for some hanky-panky in "adjusting" the vote! Now, whine if you want and cry "foul" if you must, but do NOT accuse our honest and trustworthy club members of somehow manipulating the vote! I swear, if I'd been there in person this year I would have gladly given this guy something else to worry about other than his lack of a first place trophy. And, I would have driven him to the hospital afterward too. Cooler heads prevailed that day though, and the guy was given his say. Even after our club president explained our criteria, this crybaby wasn't satisfied. It quickly became clear that this guy had driven the car to our show that day expecting an award, and when he didn't get the one he wanted, it meant that there was something wrong with our system.

I'd like to state here, for the record, that our show does not involve JUDGING. People need to remember this, if they're going to whine about not winning. Our show is a People's Choice show, and that means that each car entered gets a ballot and a number. The car owners vote for the cars they want to win which award. In other words, if I enter my Single Cab, I get ONE BALLOT (not any more than that, as this helps to prevent ballot box stuffing) and I mark the numbers of the cars I like the best on the ballot, next to each class. When the ballots are counted, the counters tally a NUMBER, not a name. They have no way of knowing who the car belongs to when the vote is counted. So, they can't slant the vote in one direction or another. Furthermore, being a People's Choice show, it doesn't come down to whose car is more "correct" or more 'nicely done". It comes down to whose car the voters like best! If your car didn't win anything, then not enough people voted for it to make it count. We have no points sheets, no people in white gloves checking cleanliness, no one with mirrors to see if you used the correct bolts and nuts. The only people "judging" your car are hobbyists like yourself who either vote for your car, or they don't. If you're upset that your car didn't win anything (or the wrong thing), then yell at the other show goers, not us. After all, this isn't up to us. Just a thought.

There isn't a whole lot more I can say on this subject, or a whole lot more you'd probably want to read about it so I'll wind this up by saying I'm through bellyaching about rude VW people and whiny sore losers. For them, I have one final thought: Grow up, Crybaby!


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