By Jason Smith
I am what people call a “Petrol Head” and as such I love, like and appreciate all types of vehicles that have a motor. At the start of 2014, I was driving home from work thinking about the upcoming year and the Car Shows that I would be attending in my old car. Whilst I was thinking about them I thought to myself there were many different types of show for the many tastes of vehicles out there but there was not one I could think of that catered for almost all tastes. With this in mind, I started to formulate an ideal car show for one and all!
The first thing I wanted to do was hold it in the town I live in and love so much. Most car shows are held in a field and I wanted to be different so it would stand out from other the shows and hopefully attract some interest. Having lived in Skipton most of my adult life I have been to many of the fantastic events that are held through the year which sparked the idea of holding it on the closed-off High Street similar to the fantastic “Sheep Day”.
So now I had the idea and place of where to do it. All I needed was a reason other than to just share my hobby. So I came up with a three-layered plan.
1/ To create another event that Skipton could be proud of.
2/ To create some extra footfall through the town which would help the local economy.
3/ Generate as much funds as possible for different charities.
With this now in place I could approach the fantastic Skipton Town Council with my idea. After they listened to what I was proposing they very kindly gave me the green light to go ahead. This is where I have a very steep learning curve. Whilst I had a good idea of how a car show works having spent many years going to them. To actually organise one is a different kettle of fish. I have learnt many things along the way from how to design and create a website from scratch, selling my idea to possible sponsors and marketing to name but a few.
After many, many hours of work in my spare time the day of the first show finally came. Although I had planned every detail I could think of I was stood on the High Street at around 5.30am in the morning wondering if anyone would turn up. Thankfully by 10am the High Street was filled with cars, trucks, bikes, traders and the supportive folk of Skipton. I will not say the first show run 100% to plan but nobody seemed to notice. The show was a blur but there was some things on the day that stick in my mind that made me realise I might have pulled off what I was trying to achieve. The first one was overhearing a couple talking near me and the woman I heard saying “Now this is the sort of car show I don’t mind you bringing me to as there are shops and cafes I can go to while you walk about dreaming of the car you will never own!”. This made me chuckle but also realise that holding the show in the town centre was the right thing to do. The second moment was once again overhearing three generations of a family looking at the cars and hearing the Grandad pointing at a car that he had owned and explaining all about it to his son, who in turn was pointing out a slightly newer car and telling his son all about that one.
In the run-up the third Skipton Car Show, the event started to gather interest from some local businesses that were willing to help with financial sponsorship. This part of the organising has got a little bit easier. As far as getting people to want to show their cars this is now not a problem as I was booked up by February. However, the administration does take up a good deal of my spare time and without the help and support of my long-suffering wife, it would just not happen.
We have managed over the years to be able to help a good few Charites and have raised just under £9,000 pounds. I run this event as a non-profit show and give every spare penny we have to charity after costs.
I like to think the town’s people enjoy the show and everyone who visits gets something out of their day. I know I enjoy being able to do it and see the High Street full of amazing machines and seeing families having a good time together. I am very lucky that I have a great bunch of friends that give up their Sunday to help me marshal on the day.
I must admit that after every show I am physically and mentally drained and I always say never again. However, knowing that people less fortunate than myself benefit from the money we raise I always seem to end up doing it again.