One of the many perks of having a classic or custom vehicle is participating in shows. There are car shows, motorcycle shows, RV shows, hot rod shows, kit car shows, etc. But for the sake of this article, I’ll just refer to all of them as “car shows.” No matter the type of vehicle or contraption, most of these car shows share some of the same elements. These are things to think about, such as what to bring and what to expect. This article reviews how to select the right show that fits you, your personality, and your vehicle.

Types of Shows

Whether it’s a car, motorcycle, truck, ATV, or RV, it is fun to show off your baby to an audience that is eager to share your enthusiasm and passion. Some of these shows offer trophies and can be highly competitive. Personally, I stay away from participating in highly competitive shows. Not because I think there is anything wrong with those shows, but because my car is not that nice. I know I would not win any prize for the condition of my 1931 Model A Ford. Nor do I care. I’m in it for fun. I have what I call the “interactive” show car. I’ll explain more about that in another article.

Entering Shows

If you’re part of a club, you’ll likely hear about many upcoming car shows. You’ll get a sense for what are the “good” ones and what ones you may want to avoid. The rationale for what makes a good show varies. It really depends on what you find important or interesting. For example, a good show might be one that offers NO prizes. In other words, it’s just for fun, so there is no pressure to make sure your vehicle is in pristine condition. However, you may love the thrill of competition, and therefore a good show might include a trophy or several trophies for different classes like “Best in Show,”  “People’s Choice,” “Best in Class,” etc.

Another factor to consider is where the show is taking place. Is it far away? Will you need to use a trailer to get your vehicle to the show? Can you drive there? These are important considerations. In addition to the location, you’ll want to consider the date and time of the show. Is it an “all day” show, or just a few hours? Consider whether or not it makes sense for you to enter this show.


Another thing to consider is the cost of the show. Not just the entry fee, but the cost to get your vehicle to the show, hotel arrangements (if necessary), food, fuel, spending money, etc. This may not be a consideration for a smaller show that is local. But some of the bigger shows are regional and may be out of your state.

A smaller, local show will probably cost anywhere from $25 to $100 to enter. Larger shows with bigger prizes will definitely cost more to enter. Consider, too, if it is worth it to you to pay to have your vehicle in the show. Some people consider it a chance to promote themselves or their company. On the other hand, some local shows are free to enter and may even give you a “goody basket” or a free lunch.


So consider all of the options when thinking about entering a car show. Consider the location, time, and price. Also, make sure it is the type of show that fits your personality.


Written by Gary Pradel