Everyone likes to come home from a truck show with a trophy. We'd like to help you maximize your chances of doing precisely that -- by offering some tips and strategies for competing in that type of event.
CHOOSE YOUR CLASS
Make sure you understand the classifications in each show, and that you choose wisely among them in order to maximize your chances of success. "Wild Modified" in one show is almost sure to mean something different than the same "Wild Modified" phrase at another show.
This very phrase, in fact, has quite different meanings at the Scout Nationals in Ohio, on the one hand, and at the Rocky Mountain IH Rendezvous, on the other. In Ohio, it encompasses rigs with lifts over 4 inches, non-IH motors, etc., but it's still judged according to the same basic criteria as the "Stock" & "Mild Modified" classes. At the RMIHR however, looks, cleanliness and paint quality take a DISTANT back seat to issues of trail worthiness. Be sure you don't end up in a class where you won't be competitive, simply because you misinterpreted the TITLE of the class!
UNDERSTAND THE JUDGING CRITERIA
Often you can even get an advance copy of the score sheet that the judges will be using. If available, by all means make use of this opportunity.
STREET/SHOW - STOCK, MODIFIED, WILD MODIFIED, COMPETITION
VEHICLE JUDGING FORM
EXTERIOR APPEARANCE: (MAXIMUM POINTS 10 EACH ITEM)
BODY: Fit all panels; Hood; Quarter Panels A)___________
BODY: Lack of damage or evidence of repair B)___________
BODY: Cleanliness and Paint condition C)_______________
BODY: Finish (Polish and Luster) D)___________________
EXTERIOR CHROME: Brightly Polished and Condition E)___
GLASS: Condition and Appearance F)___________________
TOP: Condition and Appearance G)____________________
WHEELS: Condition and Appearance H)________________
TIRES: Condition and Appearance I)___________________
UNDERCARRIAGE: Condition and Appearance
(Includes FRONT and REAR SUSPENSION) J)_________________
EXTERIOR TOTAL (Possible 100)_________________
INTERIOR APPEARANCE: (MAXIMUM POINTS 10 EACH ITEM)
A) SEATS: Condition and Appearance A)________________
B) DASH COVERINGS: Includes Sun visors, Headliners, or
Convertible Top including Top Snaps, Bows, etc. B)______________
C) DOOR PANELS: Includes Trim or Coverings and Arm Rests C)__
D) CARPETING: Condition and Appearance D)_________________
E) GENERAL INTERIOR: Instruments, Door Jams, Ash Trays
Knobs, Console (If so equipped), Glove Compartment E)____________
F) CARGO AREA: Condition and Appearance, Weather-Stripping and
Rubber Trim: Condition and Appearance F)_________________
INTERIOR TOTAL (Possible 60)______________
ENGINE AND COMPARTMENT:
A) GENERAL CONDITION OF UNDERSIDE OF HOOD: Weather-Stripping
Latches and Insulation if applicable (Maximum 10 points) A)________
B) ENGINE: (Items 1-4 Maximum 10 points)
2. Paint (Lack of Overspray and Neatness)
3. Exhaust Manifold (Headers if so equipped): Cleanliness and Paint
4. Routing Hoses (Condition) B)____________________________
C) COMPARTMENTS: Includes RADIATOR and FRONT COMPARTMENT
(Items 1-2 Maximum 10 points)
2. Paint (Lack of Overspray and Neatness) C)__________________
D) ELECTRICAL: (Items 1-2 Maximum 10 points)
1. Harness: Condition and Arrangement
2. Wiring Neatness D)____________________________________
ENGINE TOTAL (Possible 40)_________________
EXTERIOR TOTAL (100)____________________
INTERIOR TOTAL (60)_____________________
ENGINE TOTAL (40)_______________________
GRAND TOTAL (200)______________
Often you can discover precisely how many points (out of what total number) are awarded to each aspect of your rig and its presentation. If you only have the time and money to correct or improve 3 areas on your rig, for example, let them be the three with the largest "return" in points on the scoring sheet. We've seen a competitor get an additional 10 points (out of 250) simply by taking the fire extinguisher out of his towing rig and placing it in his Scout before the judges arrived. Ten points for sixty seconds of effort and no monetary investment. And this was in a competition where a spread of only 7 points separated First Place from Third Place.
CLEAN IT, CLEAN IT, THEN CLEAN IT AGAIN
Even if cleanliness is NOT a primary judging criterion in the class you've entered, it surely can't HURT you any. We've never seen a rig get DOCKED for being clean!
Pay special attention to the spots that don't get cleaned by the typical pass through the coin-op car wash -- places like the underside of the hood, the door jambs (including the hinge area) and the rocker panels where the door covers them from the outside. A quality vinyl and rubber conditioning product on the dash, door and trim surfaces goes a long way toward spiffing up a daily driver.
Some shows give special awards for "Best Presentation". This refers to how you arrange or accessorize the display of your rig. "Presentation" can include props, a theme, or a carefully positioned mirror to help see details that would otherwise be overlooked.
Even if "presentation" doesn't contribute any points on the judges' scorecards, anything you can do to make your rig stand out from the crowd and be more memorable (within the limits of good taste, of course) will help your chances of being judged favorably. It can be the small difference that separates two otherwise very comparable rigs.
HELP THE JUDGES TO SEE WHAT YOU WANT
While no judge likes to have the truck owner constantly over his/her shoulder throughout the judging process, there are nevertheless things you can do to gently "guide" the judges toward looking at the areas in which you believe your truck excels. A framed photo essay on an easel next to your display can show things about your machine that you feel are important. Trophies from past shows create a favorable first impression as well. A list or a short "resume", if you will, for your rig and its strengths can guide the judges as well as the casual observer. It can also save you from answering the same questions over & over from onlookers, in case that gets tiresome.
The main thing, however, is not to take this type of competition TOO seriously. Most of us own IH trucks because we love them, they're FUN to work on and to drive, and it's a fulfilling hobby to restore, care for and maintain a vintage truck. If you let a point or two here and there on a judging sheet raise your blood pressure, then it's time to find a new hobby!