A PRIMER OF TROPHIES AND APPRECIATION AWARDS
By: Clem Brown
We all go to car shows and cruises where in many cases there are awards for some of the entries. These awards usually take on two forms – the appreciation award and the trophy. So what is the difference between the two? Typically, a trophy is awarded to specific cars or trucks after being judged by either the other participants or by officials at the show designated to judge the entries in various classes.
Participant judging is usually done by popular vote on a ballot provided at the event and although everyone gets a vote, sometimes popularity and/or knowledge of the owner plays some part in the choices. This method is sometimes also subject to what I call ‘block-voting’, where a club gets together to vote for vehicles in their own club rather than being purely objective about the vehicles themselves. This often turns the voting into a ‘popularity contest’ where the actual vehicle is less important than the number of friends a vehicle owner has in attendance.
Judged shows are different in that an unbiased and typically experienced judge looks over each car and makes a determination, often on a numerical scale. For marque–specific shows this process is usually based on the fit and finish, cleanliness, originality (in stock classes), quality and fit of modifications (in modified classes) and so forth. At these marque-specific shows the judges are usually very familiar with the vehicles being judged and use this knowledge when making their decisions. At multi-marque shows the judges may not have the knowledge of all the various makes and models. In this case the process is usually a subjective opinion about the overall condition of the vehicle, cleanliness and presentation. In some cases the rarity of the vehicle may also come into play.
An appreciation award is something different altogether. Typically a person is designated (often with help from others) to choose the vehicles based on a variety of factors. And some of these factors are unrelated to the actual condition of the cars in attendance. The word ‘appreciation’ is key to this method and the criteria may include how often a person attends the same event, support of the event’s mission (charity) by purchasing raffle tickets or making donations, noticeable improvements in a specific vehicle over time, even the distance an owner drove to get to the event. In some cases it may be for someone with a great story about their vehicle – it may have been a barn find being driven in ‘as found’ condition, a vehicle that has been in the same family for generations or a vehicle that was owned many years ago and just recently found and bought back by the original owner. This is not to say that a vehicle’s condition is not a factor but it means that the choice may also include other criteria as well.
The Southeastern Connecticut Mustang Club gives out appreciation awards and the organizers take many of the aforementioned criteria into consideration when choosing the recipients. We often say “Every car here deserves an appreciation award because we appreciate all of them.” but unfortunately we only get to choose a specific number at each event. Suffice it to say that we appreciate your vehicle but we also appreciate you and your support of our club and our charity too!