Growing up my mama always said, "Don't judge a person by your first impression of them." Well, not in those words, exactly, but a loose Korean translation. But try as I might, it's hard not to cast judgments from the first few moments of interaction-shallow opinions are quickly cast, which are close to immutable. The same can be said about going out. When it comes to restaurants, house parties, clubs, and, pertinent to the story at hand, car shows, I'll know within seconds whether or not I'm at the right spot or if I should make two right turns and bounce from the spot. My gauge? The parking situation.
Now when I say parking, I'm not talking about the physical attributes of the parking lot, the service of valet, or the sketchiness (or lack thereof) of the neighborhood, rather the availability. A full parking lot means a brimming venue, which translates to good times ahead. Conversely, a sparsely littered lot is like scoring an eight ball of baking soda-a whole lot of bunk. So when I pulled up to the second annual SpoCom Show in Long Beach, Calif., and found not one, not two, but three parking structures closed due to capacity and dozens of cars aimlessly circling the convention center, I knew I was in for some major good times. Good times, however, that would take a hearty, perspiration-inducing 18-minute walk to get to.
The urban hike was well worth it. Inside the Long Beach Convention Center, over 8,500 attendees milled about 250 pristine, pre-qualified show cars and 75 manufacturer booths-like Nitto, Eneos, AEM, HKS, and Eibach- demonstrating their latest wares. On the lifestyle tip, the day's schedule included a lingerie show, dance competition, and the obligatory bikini contest to give the crowd something other than cars to get riled up about. But a car show at heart, over $12,000 in prize money was given away, including $1,000 to Auto Concepts' JR Rocha and his wild G37, and best team funds to Auto Concept, Hybrid, and R-Rides who won First through Third Place, respectively.
The best part of the show, however, wasn't all the fresh rides, hype beats, latest products, stage entertainment, scantily clad models, or the kickback good vibes. For us-2NR anyway-it was finding out that you readers really do love us. Out of all the magazines that you could've subscribed to, por gratis with a ticket purchase, you picked us. So thank you, you cheap, swag-loving bastards. Even though you didn't pay a single cent to get us delivered to your door, we still appreciate your support. Just don't expect us to answer any of your e-mails. Like parking at SpoCom, consider our inboxes full thanks to e-mails from our paid readership. Kidding! Sort of.