Judged vs Participant Voting Car Shows

In all my years of doing car shows, I’ve found that when it comes to who takes home the trophies greatly depends on what the people running the show decide to do… have a judged show, or a participant voting show. Each one has it’s pros and cons, but for the most part they both can be fairly intriguing to see which cars get what awards.

Judged car shows are for the most part are the most fair shows, as long as the judges know what they’re doing and can objectively view each car. This of course can be rare, since what defines a judge depends on what the show organizers can get. Most are just volunteers, whoever they can get to walk around a car show field all day. I’ve seen great car show judges, and very bad ones. The good ones take their time, gives each car an equal amount of scrutiny, and goes by the judging sheet. The bad ones just scan the cars in each class, picks out a few that they like and just looks at those.

My best advice to anyone at a judged show…. Make sure every molecule of you car is clean! Interior, exterior, undercarriage, engine bay; make sure everything is clean and polished. Have a car show board out with the important specs of the car out so that the judges know what they’re looking at too! Unless you’re at a specialty show having correct items is not that important, but if everything is clean and looks the part you should do well.

Participant voting shows are both liked, and hated in the car show community. These shows are really the result of show organizers needing a quick and simple way to give out away awards without the hassle of finding judges. The downside to these car shows… the best cars don’t always win! It’s all a matter of who knows who. If a lot of members from one car club come, they’re going to vote for each other! If there’s people with a lot of friends there, they’ll pool together and vote for the same cars so they don’t have to get up and walk around.

The best way to break out of this is to be attractive with how you display your car. Use mirrors to show off the undercarriage, engine bay… whatever aspects that people wouldn’t otherwise see walking by. Have a car show board out front to highlight the major features of your car, this goes a long way for attracting people to your car! When you can draw them into your car for a better look, they’re more likely to vote for you!

In the end, you should be at a car show to have fun! Yes, it’s nice to take home a trophy… but it’s not everything. As long as you get some time to spend driving the car you love and spend some time with your friends, that’s what a car show is really about!!

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