What does ‘Best of Show’ mean to you? Is it a subjective status you assign, or do you determine it by a mathematical rating system, or a little of both? I can grasp the meaning of the words ‘Best in Class’ because I’m comparing similar objects, but ‘Best of Show’ compares all the objects in the show. How do you determine what’s the ‘best’ of dissimilar objects?
Let’s consider the simple car show judging processes. The registered car owners get a ballot with all the cars grouped by class. The registered owners walk around the display field looking at all the Makes and Models. They talk with other owners, share memories and stories, and then they pick one car out of each class based on condition, originality, presentation, uniqueness, or something else that caught their eye.
Some ballot holders take their time with each Make and Model spending a few hours with the cars studying and learning about their quirks, their histories, and their owners before making their selections. Other ballot holders don’t give the judging process much thought at all. They zip around the display field with little attention paid to what makes a car the ‘Best in Class’. These voters simply check off boxes or write in numbers based on likes and dislikes. They’ll possibly vote for only one color throughout the classes. They’ll only vote for expensive rather than affordable cars, and obscure marques rather than the popular cars. Is it fair to judge a car this way? I say no, but that’s what happens at every show unless it’s a concours event where cars get points for meeting certain judging criteria. Otherwise, it’s quite subjective, but at least the vote is cast for similar cars. So, the question remains… how is the ‘Best of Show’ determined when you’re comparing MGs with a Rolls-Royce, Bentley, or an Aston Martin?
In my experience of over 40 plus-years of car show participation, the ‘Best of Show’ award usually goes to a rare, old, and expensive vehicle. It looks good, presents well, and may carry with it some historical, novel, or celebrity quality. It is almost preordained that if you own a car that has a specter of class and a Cinderella mystique, you’ll be chosen the ‘Best of Show’. It doesn’t seem right for all the other cars in the field to be eliminated from a run at this award because they haven’t been given enough consideration to be elevated above the pumpkin patch.
I wrote this to stimulate your thoughts on voting. My intent was to create an awareness of your voting practice and how much thought you put into the decisions you make. Albeit, car show voting doesn’t have profound consequences, but that sort of recognition could matter to car owners who are dedicated to their marque and have devoted hundreds of hours into restoration and maintenance of their vehicle. All voting, no matter what’s being considered, is a privilege not all people have; it deserves more than passive participation to be meaningful and effective.
So, next time you’re participating in a car show, don’t vote for a car as the ‘Best of Show’ until you have thought about what makes one car better than the other. In my opinion, that means it doesn’t have to be expensive or elusive, all it needs to be is authentic, inspiring, and sincere to get my vote.
Ever Win a ‘Best of Show’ Award?
By Richard Fritz
WizzzBANG Motors, Summerville, SC
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