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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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