Custom-painted car at a recent car show.
By Deborah M. Walker
LANSING, MI — Summertime is the perfect opportunity for car lovers everywhere to get out and show off their beautiful automobiles. No other place brings auto owners together like a car show. Rows of sparkling paint jobs and revved-up engines fill the streets, parking lots, or just about any venue big enough to host the show.
A car show is meant to bring a lot of peo-ple together, whether it is a classic, hot rod, or a low rider, owners have admiration for automobiles and a passion for caring for them, and as an added incentive, those with the best ride can win a trophy, said Lester Vanwormer, co-owner of Rim Kingz.
Vanwormer said he had hosted car shows since 2001. In the beginning, the show was simply a bunch of friends getting together and showing off the hard work they had put into their automobiles. Word of mouth and social media were the primary forms of advertisement to get information out to the masses about the fun-filled events.
“In the beginning, it was just a bunch of car guys getting together who knew each other. We wanted a place to go to talk about our common interest in cars. We posted on social media telling people where we would be and asked them to join us,” explained Vanwormer.
The car show host said he has a lot of experience. He has been hosting shows at Cinco de Mayo for the past seven years at Taco E Mas on Cedar St. After the opening of Rim Kingz, which is less than a mile away, the car show was moved to 5317 S. Cedar St.
“Families trust that they will be safe and entertained when they come to our car shows. The presence of women and children ensures the community that safety will be valued first. If you don’t have something for the kids, or you don’t have something to eat for the parents, they leave. We want to provide a family environment for all,” said Vanwormer.
Cinco de Mayo Car Show
At Rim Kingz’s most recent car show for Cinco de Mayo, which was held in May, a kids’ play area was available with a bounce house and other activities, and the adults had fun looking at the cars and talking to the owners. Aurora Carrasco, a vendor, sold sunglasses. She went to the car show to make extra money for college expenses.
The show started at noon and ended at 6 in the evening. There was no cost to attend, which brought together a few hundred people. Folks came to the car show to have a good time and see some-
One attendee said his favorite part of the car show was the people. He is a seasoned car show visitor and has been all over the country checking out the “smooth curves” of the many old-school automobiles on display.
Another auto enthusiast in attendance was Jacobi Zamora, who came out to support his family competing in the car show. Of course, he said relatives owned his favorite car.
Participants in the show
Dozens of cars lined the Rim Kingz’s parking lot as owners anxiously awaited judging, such as Matthew Smith, a participant. He had been working on his automobile for some time. He bought the car in 2009 and has done many updates since then, such as new wheels on the vehicle, 2 ½” lower springs in the rear, 2” lower springs in the front, and many more updates.
He has had a lifetime appreciation for automobiles. Watching his father work in the auto industry inspired him to follow in his father’s foot-steps.
“I’ve been around cars all my life; my dad worked at General Motors for 34 years. I’m second generation General Motors. I work there now. I’ve been there for seven years, so I just love cars, period,” said Matthew Smith.
Matthew Smith said cars kept him and his brother Peabo Smith off the streets. His father brought them cars and taught them how to repair them. Matthew Smith said that it gave him and his brother something positive to do with their time when they were younger.
“Instead of going out into the streets and doing whatever, we just worked on cars all summer,” Matthew Smith said.
Matthew Smith said his 1986 Buick Regal is considered a classic. He found out about the car show through a friend, Samuel Perez, who is also the co-owner of Rim Kingz. Peabo Smith said he came out to show support, show his car, and have a good time with friends and family.
According to Peabo Smith, there is a story behind his vintage vehicle. The 1939 Chevy Master Deluxe, was purchased from the previous owner, who allowed him to work on the car when he was 17. He was able to buy the car as an adult in 2020. He won second place at Auto Rama in March of 2022.
Vanwormer said there are plans in the works to have more car shows at Rim Kingz. Next year, it will be bigger and better based on current feedback. Those looking for more information on Rim Kingz, or their auto shows, can find them at www.rimkingz.com.
Love to see more autos?
If next year is too long to wait to get out and enjoy the warm sun, stellar paint jobs, and revving engines, there will be a car show at Sundance Chevrolet on Saturday, August 20 from 10 am to 3 pm at 5895 E Saginaw Hwy. in Grand Ledge.
If you want to stay indoors, visit the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. They have a stunning collection of over 80 classic and antique cars, including the very first Oldsmobile built in 1897, antique REOs, Stars, and more. They are located at 240 Museum Dr. Lansing MI 48933. Call them at 517-372-0529 or visit their website at www.reoldsmuseum.org.