CARLISLE, PA (March 26, 2013) - The question is frequently posed at Carlisle Events, both in the office and onsite during shows, as to who is the next generation of automotive enthusiast. 2011 data highlights the fact that 71% of everyone who comes to Carlisle ranges between 35-55. Carlisle Performance & Style was long looked at as a stepping stone show, one where a younger audience would get a taste of the hobby, then advance their passions to one of the ten other offerings at Carlisle. With an aging demographic and numbers that indicate each show's audience generally remains loyal to their show of choice, Carlisle has taken steps to foster the growth of the hobby, including an onsite visit recently by staff members to a local vo-tech school.
On Thursday, March 14, Carlisle Events co-owners Bill Miller and Lance Miller along with event managers Ken Appell and Ed Buczeskie traveled to nearby Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and the Cumberland Perry Vocational-Technical School. As part of their visit, Carlisle staffers interacted with students and their instructor. The session covered topics like the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow and Carlisle's new Next Generation Program.
The Next Generation program, new to Carlisle, is limited to 25 participants and is open to students age 13-20. Next Generation is also part of multiple events at Carlisle, including Carlisle Performance & Style, Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals, Carlisle Ford Nationals, Carlisle GM Nationals, Carlisle Chrysler Nationals and Corvettes at Carlisle. During each show weekend, participants receive free admission, behind the scenes access, special seating for seminars, private meet and greet sessions with guests and experts, lunch, front row seating for burnouts, beauty and so much more.
Hot Rodders of Tomorrow is a national program with regional qualifying events (one is held at Carlisle) where high school students tear down and reassemble a Chevy small block engine as fast and as accurately as possible. Students win scholarship money for participating, even more for placing within the top three and each regional winner advances to the national finals. This not only promotes team building, but also encourages students to become further involved with the hobby.
In addition to one-on-one time with staff and students at the vo-tech school, a Q&A session was held where students could pick the brains of the "experts" who were part of their class. Carlisle staff was able to provide them with background on the company, what goes into planning an event and what they (the students) can do to be part of events going forward, either as a patron passing through the gates or an enthusiast showing a collector car.
"The collector car hobby is aging as a whole; it's a fact and we see it during our events," said co-owner Lance Miller. "During many of our in house meetings the subject of how to get the younger generations involved often comes up. At one point, we tasked our team with figuring out ways to reach out to the younger generations in order to help educate them on the collector car hobby and to encourage them to be more involved." Miller continued, "Our team felt it was important to reach out to various local schools and get in front of them to share all that we have to offer. In doing just that with Cumberland Perry Vo-Tech, we were able to hear what the next generation is thinking and better explain to them how they can be involved." Miller concluded, "I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage other schools that might have interest in having our team provide some automotive motivational talks to reach out. We'd be happy to spend some time with them."
About Carlisle Events: Carlisle Events is a partner or producer of 17 annual collector car, truck, motorcycle and outdoor-themed events. Events are held at the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds (Carlisle, PA), Bloomsburg Fairgrounds (Bloomsburg, PA), Allentown Fairgrounds (Allentown, PA), Auburn Auction Park (Auburn, IN) and Festival Park (Zephyrhills, FL). The season schedule hosts a sports and outdoors event, seven automotive swap meets of varying size, six auctions, as well as individual specialty shows featuring Corvettes, Fords, GMs, Chryslers, trucks, motorcycles, imports and kit cars and tuner and modern customs. Founded in 1974 by friends Bill Miller and Chip Miller, events hosted at Carlisle attract more than a half a million enthusiasts annually from all corners of the globe. More information is available via www.CarlisleEvents.com.