When it comes to putting on car shows, Scott Holmes, co-owner of Rusty Metal Productions, takes an optimistic view regardless of the circumstances.
For Holmes, the 2nd Annual Classics at Forbes Field on Oct. 3 in Topeka, which helped benefit the American Flight Museum, was a huge success even though the car show was competing against other events that same weekend.
“We had less people show up this year,” Holmes said. “One thing you have to look at when you put on a car show is everything that is going on. Usually we just look at car shows. This year there were many apple festivals, the Renaissance Festival, the American Royal (World Series of Barbecue) and just so many things.”
Still, about 70 cars were present for the car show. All the people who attended paid $3 and were able to take in the festivities of the car show that included a band, food and a Smokey and the Bandit exhibit.
“We will be back next year,” Holmes said. “It will be the same time.”
One of the things Holmes has learned in the three years that Rusty Metal Productions has put on car shows is to have it the same time each year.
In 2015, Rusty Metal Productions put on four shows, including its annual swap meet at Twin Drive-In in Independence, which is the first Saturday in April.
“It is guys selling a bunch of their old car parts,” Holmes said. “We have guys bring car parts from as far as Lincoln, St. Louis and Wichita. They bring trailer loads of car parts, and guys come in and buy them. It is like a flea market, but it is strictly car stuff.”
In a way, that is how Rusty Metal Productions started. Holmes and Joe Stutsman were at car shows together and thought it would be a good idea if they put one on.
“We started throwing the idea around and looking for a place to do one,” Holmes said. “I’ve been in the car business my whole life and so has Joe. We know a lot of car guys. We started looking around to do one. I found the West Bottoms area. (At) our very first car show in the West Bottoms, we had 350 cars and 2,500 people show up. That was May of 2013.”
Holmes, who owns a go-cart business called Kart Mart in Bonner Springs, uses humor when asked if they make money on the car shows they put on.
“You are lucky to break even,” Holmes said.
He pointed out that you have to pay for the venue.
“… We paid $2,500 to rent Sandstone,” he said.
On top of the rent, they have to pay for insurance, food vendors, a band and port-a-potties.
“You really don’t make any money doing this,” Holmes said. “People think you do. You do it because you like it. We don’t live in a big house in Mission Hills putting on car shows. Guys who put on car shows for a living are living in a cardboard box next to their hot rods.”
The reason Holmes started the Classics at Forbes Field was because he wanted to do a car show that was veteran-related. A customer of his at Kart Mart is associated with the American Flight Museum, which also is at Forbes Field.
The museum has a Spooky AC-47 gunship, a type of airplane that was used in the Vietnam War. The plane can be seen on the museum’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/americanflightmuseum/timeline.
“They actually fly that plane and take it to other air shows,” Holmes said. “It takes 100 gallons of fuel to fly for one hour. Air fuel is like $6 per gallon, so it is $600 just to take it up. These guys need to raise a lot of money to keep it maintained.
“I told him, ‘Let’s do a car show and we can raise money for you guys.’ This show is to help to give back. It is a really good venue.”
Do you have a car cruise or a car show you would like to see featured in At The Show? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com