16th Apr2015

Import Spring Showoff: The History

by Michael Chandler

ISS 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (53 of 125)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

This coming Sunday is the Import Spring Showoff, one of the largest shows/meets in the state.  This year it is going to be held at the Maverick Center, which is a physically larger venue than the Davis County Fairgrounds that have held it the past couple of years.  Every year this event keeps growing, and it’s amazing to think that this all started as a simple barbecue at Barnes Park.

Utah Acuras Spring 07 meet

Back in the days of MySpace and forums, the Teknik crew of northern Utah would gather at Barnes Park in Kaysville and celebrate spring.  It wasn’t a massive, sponsor laden affair.  It was the crew and some friends just hanging out.  Soon after these little meets is when I popped into the picture.  The little Teknik barbecue had become the Eliterides meet, and subsequently grew in size.  They still weren’t massive, but they were bigger. This was the way it was for a few years, but by 2007 some of the Teknik members founded Utah Acuras and turned the little barbecue into a decent sized meet.  The little parking lot on the west side of the park was too small for the needs of the meet, but the southwest parking lot was perfectly sized.  This was the home of the meet for many years, but when Utah Acuras evolved into Utah Hondas things began to change.

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2008 through 2010 saw a lot of growth, and plenty of non Hondas in attendance.  By 2010 the meet had outgrown the southwest lot, and attendees were lining 200 North.  The Spring Meet was going to be changing again, but it wasn’t going to be moving too far.

UH Spring Meet 2012-1

In 2011 the meet filled the northwest lot, and spilled into the surrounding parking lots.  There were sponsor booths, and raffles!  It was looking like the massive event that we know it as today.  The next year the meet grew even more, and the organizers ran into some problems.  Some BIG problems.  First, the parking lot was full 45 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin.  Secondly, and more importantly, Kaysville City PD shut the meet down early because the staff failed to get the proper permits and make the proper reservations.  According to Jeff Woodyatt “It was then that we realized (along with more non-Honda’s in attendance than Honda’s) that it was time to turn the spring meet into a legit event for all makes and models.”  2013 was the first official year of the Import Spring Showoff, and it was held at the Davis County Fairgrounds.  Permits and reservations were acquired, and the rest is history.

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As the meet evolved things were added and removed.  The most notable addition were the awards given by the attendees and staff.  Some have faded from our memories, but there’s one that some will never forget.  Yes, I’m talking about The Ghetto Award.  First given out to a Civic hatchback that was very slow and rather haggard, it was given to a Civic coupe with a bird drawn on its hood in primer the next year.  In 2007 Dave, yes our Dave, got a hold of a small steel wheel and got creative with a can of spray paint and a sharpie.

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The idea behind the award was to recognize the most haggard, beat up, and generally terrible car that came to the meet.  It was meant to motivate the recipient to make their car less offensive to everyone, and it usually happened.  That hatchback wound up making 500 horsepower, and the coupe got painted.  However, the winner of the 2007 award never actually received it.  In 2007, at the joint Utah Acuras and HondaTech meet, it rained.  It always rained at HondaTech meets, and this year was no different.  A lone, multicolored Eclipse rolled through the meet.  Everyone was in their cars, avoiding the rain and watching the harlequin DSM slowly roll through.  One man, a hero, could not let this car leave without a physical representation of the recognition he earned.  Dave lept out of his car, hoisted the award above his head and began chasing the Eclipse.  Not knowing what Dave wanted, and not eager to find out, the Eclipse quickly left the parking lot while Dave gave chase.  Tragically, that was the last time the award was given.  It’s probably for the best, as I doubt that anyone would A) be able to take it as the joke it is and B) fix up their hoopty.

Now that we know where we’ve been, and how a humble meet became the juggernaut that it is today, we need to take a look at how this meet happens every year.  In part two of this story, we’ll take a look behind the scenes so you can see everything that goes into making Import Spring Showoff happen every year.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

24th Mar2015

The Problem with Meets

by Michael Chandler

EDITORIAL Problem With Meets Michael CHandler CAMautoMag

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

 

There was a long, long period of time where I didn’t go to many of the local meets or get togethers.  Mostly it was because the usual group of guys I would see at these had moved on to bigger and better things (marriage, children, moving out of a house with 7 dudes sharing 3 bedrooms and into their own house, careers), but it was also because I kept seeing more and more idiots at these meets.

What do I mean by “idiot”? Well take the winners in the picture above for example.  This was at the Utah Japanese Classic Car barbecue.  It was a mellow day, where everyone was just hanging out when suddenly we heard something approaching from over the horizon.  It was the Forester, which sounded like it was in first gear for the sheer sake of being in first gear, with the Impreza in tow.  They pulled in and did a couple of laps against the flow of traffic, in first gear the whole way.  After stopping to hop out and talk to someone who was leaving (which blocked traffic by the way), they took another lap.  Unable to find two parking spots next to each other, and unwilling to be separated, they did douchiest thing I’ve seen this year: they parked behind two cars parked in the handicap stalls and got out.

They parked behind two cars that were parked legally in the handicap stalls.  The intrepid Subaru owners just made their own spots by blocking in two cars, and made their way off to peruse the classic J tin.

Now, I used to own an Integra and I was pretty cool about it for the most part.  I didn’t try and race everything on the road, I didn’t do burnouts or rev my engine at meets, nor did I have any sort of body kit on the car, but people still looked down their nose at me because I was in a Honda.  Why? Because there were plenty of idiots in Hondas who were more than willing to reinforce the “ricer” stereotype.  It’s been many years since I’ve owned my little Integra, but there are still plenty of people who are more than willing to reinforce the stereotypes of old.  Unfortunately they’ve changed their flagship make.

I was in high school when Subaru gave the US its first WRX.  During our senior year Trent (the co-founder of this site) picked himself up a brand new to us all STi.  That was over ten years ago, and now these cars are cheap enough for today’s youth to snatch up.  And they have been in droves.  It pains me to say this, but the Subaru kids are the new Honda kids.  They come to meets and do painfully stupid things, they try and race everything they see, and they’re more than willing to jump on whatever trendy bandwagon that pops up.  And the situation remains the same: for everyone cool owner like David (Gumball WRS) there are hoards of people who want to slam their cars and show off the fact that they spun their $600 coilovers all the way down.

Maybe I’m getting old.  Well, old compared to the latest crop.  I’m pushing 30, and it seems everyone I talk to at these things is 25 and under.  Most of the problem folks look all of 16 to me, but anyone under the age of 20 looks like a 12 year old.  I might be getting old, but I still remember what it’s like to have that first awesome car that has honest to God aftermarket support.  The excitement to install fresh parts and to show them off, but a wise man once said “Discretion is the better part of valor”.  Yes, you’re low and you have an exhaust.  Guess what?  You came to a meet to show off your hard work, or easy work, or the previous owner’s work.  You don’t need to lap the parking lot, just park!  Can’t park next to your friend?  That happens, but I have some terrific news for you: you’re still at the same meet!  It’s not like one of you is in Layton, and the other in Herriman.  Even at the big meets and shows (ISS, Slammed Saturdays) you’re never more than a two minute walk away from your buddy.  And in the case of ISS, if you both paid for spots you’re always within eyesight of each other.

I like going to meets and seeing the new builds from people I’ve never met, and seeing old builds I remember from way back when that have been tucked away for years.  I like talking to people about them, and setting up cruises and get togethers.  I like encouraging people to come out to the track, and at the very least watch a few sessions.  It’s hard though, when you run across people who care about themselves and their friends more than anyone else at the meet.  Meets are wonderful things, it’s a chance for people to get out from behind their computers and see what everyone has been working on, but when you act like an idiot and like you are the center of the meet, you kill it for the rest of us.

TL;DR: Don’t be an idiot, be cool

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.