Usually after a car meet we attend I look forward to when I get to write an article, share my photographs, praise the turnout and look forward to the next event to come. But the event that thebigbadmeets (actual name redacted) recently put on was so upsetting it will change the way I choose to do my own meets from now on. From 6-9pm it was clearly the usual crowd we see at Lasvegascarmeets events with respectful participants, entire clubs out, high end vehicles and no drama to be spoken of. But then right after 9pm everything seemed to change. The parking lot was so full that everyone that showed up late was locked in traffic looking for spots that didn’t exist. This grew to frustration and they started to show it by revving and burning out. Made only worse by a bunch of people lining up, egging them on and filming. A bunch of us did our best to disperse the crowd and eject the guilty drivers from the meet but we were met with so much resistance it was futile. Seeing the police was a relief until I realized they weren’t going to ask anyone to leave and never did. They stood by for an hour until finally a few more showed up and blocked traffic on one end of the parking lot. This on exasperated the problem and the rest of the time I was there I was disgusted at the crowd that came with bigbadmeets. It’s a growing problem this far we’ve been able to avoid but now it’s at our door step.

Bill MacKenzie for speedhunters.com has been documenting the growing problems at savethecarmeets.com . They said

In recent years, a troubling trend has emerged. Car meets used to be relaxed, calm, and safe, and as such could take place for years without incident. These days, more and more attendees have the incorrect idea that they are a place to stunt, rev, or otherwise act up and the results are always the same: another meet has to be shut down by police and the car community as a whole gets placed under yet further scrutiny.

#SAVETHECARMEETS came about out of frustration with the current patterns, and a desire to bring meets back to what they used to be for the benefit of the car community as a whole. Through awareness of the issues at hand and discussion of what behaviour should be displayed at events, we hope to reverse the direction that has been taken and bring back the attitudes of yesteryear. We hope to save the car meets.

Doesn’t that all sound familiar?

A bunch of you are probably expecting me to dump on street racing, drifting and the like but really that’s not how I feel. I understand there are so many different ways to be a car enthusiast. Recently Fox 5 wanted my take on how sideshows are giving the rest of the local scene a bad association in the eyes of the law. My response was that instead of cracking down on the whole community they need to focus on providing a positive outlet for everyone. Instead of expecting local events to dish out hundreds of dollars to have police presence they should be donating their services to help keep car meets free of the dangerous driving brought by bad actors. And they should utilize budget surplus to provide more events like Drift Vegas and drag racing at the LV Motor Speedway that can cater to some people’s need for speed.

Car meets have naturally been a place for all those different groups to congregate. Only a few short years ago you’d have the drifters, the street racers and hard parkers all in on lot without issue because at the meet everyone respected the rules. It was from the meet that the other groups would roll out together to go do whatever they planned on doing, but always away from the location. And the one person who did burn out in the lot was always swiftly confronted by other participants which would send a clear message to all the onlookers not to make the same mistake themselves.

The most obvious problem right now is that the extreme penalties the car community in California is facing is quickly spilling over into Nevada as police are becoming increasingly frustrated, and understandably so. The issue for all enthusiasts is that it leads to being guilty by association. On the streets how can an officer differentiate between a modified car that does and doesn’t engage in any type of sideshow behavior? They can’t. Which means everyone and their mother on Megan lowering springs, a “Vegas Drift” sticker on their bumper or downshifts to a light is getting pulled over. The latter happened to me when Mr.crookedcop wrote me up for “Exhibition of speed” because I “revved” while making a slow left turn I went from 2nd to 1st gear. So I’ve seen it first hand. And I hear it all from members in the community. Our frustration is shared with authorities. Although they allow the event’s we’ve put on at the moment, there’s still a prejudice against the scene as a whole unfortunately. I hate to see it. And I’ve actively tried to help the community for the years I’ve been running this business of putting on car meets. But it takes more than just I can do. It takes the whole community to come together and demand the change we want.

I know not all parties who attended are guilty in any way of contributing to any of that absolutely disgusting behavior that took place and for that I want to at least reflect on the good start the event had with a handful of photos. These were taken by me before I had to leave my camera to go and start chasing down the first people who were revving, burning out all before it was too many for us to handle. So if you’re one of the good one, I appreciate you, and I hope you enjoy the little bit of content.