Ceating a brand-new car show is a combination of art and science. To be successful, the event has to be enjoyable, with innovative entertainment that fits your definition of fun. It also has to be carefully orchestrated so that the production is seamless between arrival and the final awards ceremony. Finally, if car and truck shows are your business, it can't be a one-time success. You have to create an action-packed weekend that will keep drivers coming back year after year. Bryan Pierce, general manager of Virginia Motorsports Park, along with Mike and Glenn Pilgreen, owners of Drop Jaw Mag, held their first Big Show in 2003, and refined their approach even more in 2004.
Like most successful events, the Big Show began with a simple idea: variety in entertainment had the best chance of success. Going on the assumption that too much of a good thing was just about right, the show promoters decided on a four-in-one format, providing something for everyone. At check-in, the welcoming team gave arriving drivers the option of parking in one of four parking areas set aside for trucks, imports, 4X4s, or motorcycles. (You also had the option of staying together with your club.) That meant you could park with and inspect your favorite vehicle type, then just a short walk away, you could see what the other groups were doing. Naturally, we spent lots of time in the truck lanes, checking out some of the hottest East Coast rides.
Since competition is an essential part of any event for many owners, judging is a critical factor. With more than 40 years of show experience between them, Bryan, Mike, and Glenn knew that lots of drivers don't care for drive-thru judging, spending hours waiting in line. At the Big Show, the talented crew from the North Carolina and Virginia chapters of Twisted Koncepts judged all the vehicles in place while the owners were off enjoying themselves. Intelligent options like this, along with the low entry fee that included free camping inside the park, were just the beginning.
Contests during the weekend show included all the standard events we are used to, along with several new levels of excitement. One of the first differences was that Virginia Motorsports Park has a sanctioned quarter-mile dragstrip. Opening at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday for test and tune, it was a treat for spectators and also an opportunity to see just how well your show truck will haul. Between races, half-time activity included the motorcycle stunt riders from Team X-Treem, who impressed the fans with their two-wheeled craziness. Even the stereo guys got into the quarter-mile fun, with the MECA-sponsored Boom and Zoom contest that required a low e.t. and a high SPL number to win.