Contributed by Tara Bush
If you are a newbie to the car/truck show world, either classic or modern, the terminology to describe the event can be confusing. What exactly is the difference between cruise, cruise-in, show, rally, meet, cars & coffee, etc? There are many opinions and this is only mine. So let's break it down:
CRUISE & CRUISE-IN – To me, these are the same thing. Unlike the name suggests, you don't actually go anywhere once you get to the destination of the event. It is a casual hangout at a restaurant (usually) or a town center. Food is a big factor at these events. Everyone wants to eat the local fare with your car show buddies that you haven't seen since the weekend before. Normally there are no awards, but if there is, it is without serious judging. Sometimes there is a DJ, sometimes not. Keeping in mind that these are casual and fun, usually lasting a few hours. Come and go as you please.
CAR SHOW – These can entail serious competition by professional experts or very casual judging by people's choice ballots. Most car shows will involve some type of awards, registration fees, door prizes, DJ music, and most like a charity to benefit from the proceeds. Some people build their rides for the soul purpose of competing, others will only attend those that benefit charity. Car shows can be enjoyable if you don't take it so seriously and personal. Plan to spend the entire day. Plus it is a good day to enjoy our Florida sunshine.
RALLY – These events are harder to locate because of the time and effort it takes to organize. Usually this is a ride from one location to another with a stop or several in between. Planning these takes time to achieve a route that has the minimum amount of traffic lights, no congestion, not too long or short of a drive, and hopefully pleasant scenery. Keeping vehicles together is the key to a successful rally. Strength (as in this case, beauty) in numbers. There is nothing like being in the middle of a line of 50 cool rides and everyone staring at the sight. It is all about the journey.
CAR MEET – This is a relative new term, mainly used among the younger generation. It is similar to a cruise-in but for imports or modern American muscle. Most of these cars are probably daily drivers but have been modified, most of which may not be seen from the outside. Many of the mods are computer-performance oriented or contain neon lights and cosmetic wraps. Communication is usually within a specific group, word-of-mouth, or via social network of some type. It is an ever-evolving lifestyle.
CARS & COFFEE – This trend appeared in California some time ago with a few old gearheads meeting for coffee very, very, very early in the morning. There was no organization, just a few guys hanging out. But then others started joining in and a movement was born. The concept was slower to catch on in Florida but now they are organized, repetitive and highly attended. This is best place to see high-priced exotics, supercars, and hypercars, along with a bunch of wantabes, plus a smathering of classics and American modern muscle here and there. These events can range from a few dozen to over a thousand attendees. A cars & coffee event is where you'll see the most diverse in automotive styling.
POKER RUN – This is more common among bikers but can be a great way to raise money for a charity and have lots of fun in the process. It usually involves a various number of checkpoints, where you draw a playing card. At the final location, whoever has the best poker hand wins. The money goes to charity and you get bragging rights.
Now that you are more informed (again this was just my opinion) please enjoy the hobby and attend them all to find out where you fit in. Not all events have the same vibe, you may like hiphop and I may like rock, but the love of cars binds us together as a group of car crazy people. We all speak the same language and we have fun doing it.