Opinion Piece: Show Time! (Street Commodores Editorial Columns)

28 Oct

This is the 20th in a regular series of editorial pieces we’ll be posting here on the blog, originally written by Hosking Industries’ Ben Hosking for Street Commodores magazine and other magazines he’s completed opinion pieces for. This column appeared in issue 186 of Street Commodores (…and seems perfectly fitting, given that Cruise for Charity 10 is happening nationwide right now):

Show Time! (Written May 3, 2011)

It’s Cruise for Charity time again. Get ready for the biggest Commodore party in the world.

I’m sure these things are coming around faster every year. It feels like just yesterday I was standing amongst well over 1000 Commodores at the Penrith Regatta Centre here in Sydney, marvelling at the size of the crowds and the generosity of the donations pouring in for Cruise for Charity’s new beneficiary, Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia.

Yet, here we are on the cusp of Cruise for Charity 8. I find it hard to comprehend that we’re now closer to the tenth anniversary than we are to the fifth. I still vividly remember organising the first Cruise for Charity so many moons ago. Even at that stage, with just 150 Commodores on show it felt like something important and impressive. With the results Liam and the team achieved in 2010, that first formative step looks so miniscule by comparison.

Cruise for Charity raised a good half a million for Starlight over the six years the event was associated with it. Now that the event is so big every year, it’ll take far less time to raise the same amount for Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia. Your generosity last year raised almost $180,000 alone. That’s some serious money that has the power to do some remarkable things for people in less-than-ideal circumstances.

It’s important to remember that Cruise for Charity and the participating cruiser’s donations don’t just do good things for the wider community. Another benefit is that the primarily healthy nature with which those same cruiser’s behave in their cars (folks like you at home) on the day has a positive effect on how the Police view our community – and that’s something we can all build on outside of the Cruise for Charity program, too.

I know I harp on about how we all conduct ourselves on the streets and how that can impact on how we’re all viewed as car enthusiasts. But it’s important to remember how positively the Police view the Cruise for Charity series and that a little extra effort outside of those few days each year could easily further improve our collective relationships with the guys and girls in blue.

Ellie Thorley has been doing a phenomenal job with the cruises and as part of that, liaising closely with the Police in numerous states on traffic management procedures, traffic light changing and a plethora of other things that make the cruises better for all of us. Her professional attitude toward working with the Police has opened a lot of doors for the Cruises over the last 12 months that we honestly hadn’t had a lot of luck with before. It’s proof that it is possible to be a modified car nut AND be on good terms with the law.

But before I become a broken record, the Cruise for Charity series is perhaps most important for bringing together more Commodore owners and their friends/families together than any other show anywhere. It’s at these cruises that we can all cruise together bumper to bumper, door handle to door handle in a show of solidarity and strength no other scene really gets to enjoy. We get to park up at the meeting points and destination spots and ogle the fine machines on display – often including cars from regional areas most city slickers never get to see.

We can peruse the wares on show from numerous retailers and parts manufacturers, drool over the intricate details of former magazine feature cars and chew the fat with their owner/builders. Where else can you do that in such a relaxed atmosphere?

Even though I’m pretty distanced from the inner workings of the cruises these days, my love and respect for what the cruises mean remains completely intact. Perhaps now because of that distance, the feeling has intensified as I get to see it more from a normal participant’s view now.

I still remember clearly the hours spent packing show bags in the days leading up to the Sydney cruise, splitting up box after box of fliers, shirts and prizes for shipping to the interstate coordinators and loading the truck full of merchandise and magazines before heading off to the other east coast cruises. How could I ever forget the amazing experiences the SC team and I had travelling to the interstate cruises and meeting so many amazing and generous people – hearing car owner’s stories and sharing beers with the organising teams once the last of the crowds had gone home.

I know, despite all the hard work, the SC team are itching to get out there and do it all again in 2011 and we all hope you’re all starting to feel the vibe, too. So, be sure you’ve got the day off, the car clean and your donations ready; Cruise for Charity 8 is here!

Give generously,

Ben Hosking

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