One of the benefits of this job is that from time to time, we get to meet some interesting people. As a member of the automotive enthusiast community, and more specifically, the automotive journalist community, we run across interesting people from all walks of life who all share the same passion: cars and trucks. Recently, I met one of the most prolific automotive enthusiasts whose passion is not only just about the cars and hobby in general, but also about the people who make up the sport.
Here at Primedia, we often get face time with various company representatives as part of our round table experience, where they get to make their pitch to the editors about their products. Over the years, these dog and pony shows have gotten rather commonplace, so when the invite to the Meguiar's round table came down the pike, there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm for me to drive to the corporate office and listen to another hour's worth of advertising pitch.
Yet, when I arrived, the corporate conference room was packed with editors wearing their Sunday best to learn about Meguiar's latest products, but more importantly, to hear what President and CEO Barry Meguiar had to say. Over the past couple of years, Barry has gained some celebrity status with his Car Crazy TV show that airs on the Speed Channel, which is on 24/7 at most car enthusiasts' homes. On the show, Barry not only takes his viewer to a variety of car and truck shows, he does great one-on-one interviews with people in the industry who he considers certifiably car-crazy. His list of guests include such notables as Jay Leno, Carroll Shelby, and other high-profile folks. He also spends time with average Joes, who get a chance to talk about their ride at a car show.
After nearly 20 years in this business, it's probably accurate to say I'm not easily impressed. But for some reason, Barry Meguiar's address to our group hit home. Rather than pimping his latest and greatest products (which are really good), he talked about the passion that exists in our industry, where it came from, and how we all need to keep it alive. He admitted at one point that he thought the car show industry was on a downhill slide and could eventually go away. That's when he decided it was time to give back to the automotive enthusiast community that he has earned such a good living from over the years. And his television show is just one small aspect of his giving back.
Meguiar's sponsors more than 4,000 cars show events and the Car Crazy TV show has now branched out into Car Crazy radio as well. The company also hosts the prestigious Meguiar's Award, which honors the person of the year in the collector car hobby. The winner is selected via a committee of 21 automotive journalists from around the country and the award show is usually hosted in a black tie gala in Los Angeles.
It's people like Barry Meguiar who keep the passion alive in our industry. More importantly, it's you, the readers of Sport Truck magazine, and truck enthusiasts in general, who are the heart and soul of our industry. It's you, the enthusiast, who spends money on parts, goes to shows, reads magazines, and generally lives the life of someone who is truck-crazy. And it's because of your passion for the sport, and the industry in general, that you'd all be eligible to be guests on Barry's Car Crazy TV show. And given some of the folks who've appeared on his show, consider yourselves in great company.