Over the course of my adult life, I was very lucky to not have to pick up and move a lot after college. It's very surprising to me considering that my chosen career path was radio, a profession that often has people moving "town to town, up and down the dial" as the opening theme to WKRP in Cincinnati described so eloquently. I was fortunate enough to work for nearly two decades in the industry without having to go more than 125 miles away from the place where I grew up. However, that all changed in 2013 when my wife took a new job in Louisville, KY.
Now I was relocating to a new home 400 miles away from my family and every friend I made in high school, in college and at work. Further adding to my disconnection from real social engagement was my decision to work from home as a freelance voice actor and producer. So I needed to find new friends. I needed someone to talk to other than the microphone in my studio. I figured that car people, by and large, are really nice people. I should join a car club.
As a Camaro owner, I had flirted with the idea of joining a Camaro club. In Pittsburgh, I even downloaded the application for P.A.C.E: Pittsburgh Area Camaro Enthusiasts, but never pulled the trigger because I had so much going on to occupy me. And my car was nothing special to show off at cruises. Now that I had a bunch of time on my hands, I did a Google search for Camaro Clubs in Louisville and came up with the Derby City Camaro Club. It so happens they were having a meeting that week, so I went.
I was very surprised to see the conference room at Bob Hook Chevrolet just about filled to capacity with Camaro lovers from all walks of life. I was welcomed instantly and started to make new acquaintances from day one.
As months went by, I started attending shows and cruises and learning more and more about everyone in the club. Back home, I had 39 years to build these relationships. I had my "go-to guys" for when I needed help or advice. There was my mechanic, my dentist, my IT guy, my cop buddy, my tire and brake guy, my plumber, my HVAC guy, my accountant, and so-on. Now I was finding the Louisville equivalents all within my club. Got a question about mounting tires? I go to David, who manages a tire shop. Need info on vehicle codes and whether or not that tint is too dark? I talk to Bill, a deputy sheriff. Need to know what that error code means in Windows 7? I get with Kyle, an IT guy who works for Papa Johns!
Over the course of that first year in Kentucky, I found that, when anyone in the club needs something, there's always a person or two or three ready to lend a hand. That May, one of our club members was graduating after earning her degree. Her husband had purchased her cap and gown for her to walk at graduation and receive her diploma. Unfortunately, he took a job with a civilian contractor that sent him to Afghanistan for a year and would not be there to see her graduate. With her family absent, she thought about not attending the ceremony. But leave it to the club to fill in and be her extended family. I even put my video skills to work and created an abbreviated recap to post online for her husband and mother to see.
Bottomline, a car club is more than just a club, it’s a family. A family related not by blood or by marriage, but by their shared passion for cars. That’s living the #CarShowLife for sure!