Public Relations and YOU
One of the strongest weapons used against recreational fourwheelers is a negative stereotype. Whenever you hear arguments for trail closures or the construction of new barricades, you will inevitably hear someone refer to the "yahoos" who are "tearing up the land" and "knocking down trees." We are described as testosterone-addled idiots who are acting out macho ideals to assert our manhood. Flashy SUV TV commercials only make things worse, depicting fourwheelers as people who race across virgin terrain.
As you can see, we've got a lot of bad imagery to overcome. One of the easiest ways to do this is to get involved with events where the public has an opportunity to meet us one on one. By speaking with the non-'wheeling community, we are able to demonstrate that we are not the redneck, mouth-breathing morons that our enemies say we are. And that's why I'm presenting this short article by Keith Daly. No, it's not a story about hardcore 'wheeling nor is it a celebratory tale of how they won a land issue case. What it IS about, is how we can win public opinion to our side, little by little. It's about the small actions whose sum will eventually yield a very large and valuable pay-off. It's about taking the time to put your best foot forward and represent your sport and past time to the general public, to let them know who we are.
"Suntide" Show N' Shine
August 27, 2000
Initially, it started as a simple idea: holding a car show in the parking lot at Staples, Langford. With some canvassing at local auto parts stores, car hangouts (A&W), passing out flyers at some car shows and advertising on both www.bc4x4.com and www.island4x4.com , I figured I had covered enough markets.
Rob and Andrea Delange's Land Cruiser and the IRC logo.
The date was set for August 27th. The weather had mixed cloud and sun in the forecast, which was exactly what we got. Some of the exceptionally black rain clouds made most of the convertible owners a tad nervous. Approximately 25+ vehicles showed up for the event, with 23 actually registering for the free dash plaques. Content had to be some of the most varied I've ever seen at a special interest shows I've been to: street rods, muscle cars, imports, domestics and, of course, 4x4's! <g> A few motorcycles even made a tour through the parking lot; whether they had planned to enter or not was hard to determine. At a guess, seeing no other motorcycles in the show up to that point changed their minds.
I was thrilled to see how many 4x4 owners came out to show their colors for this event, and want to thank every single one that made their way out that day. A big round of Rock Monkey hoots and hollers to Bill and Gina Innes and Jo Poole for creating their own visual displays, including some make-shift ramps to show a bit of suspension know how! Bill even brought a green blanket to cover his ramp to resemble a natural 4x4 environment.
4x4 owners in attendance were:
- Bill and Gina Innes (black '88 Jimmy)
- Jo Poole (white '87 Samurai)
- Shannon Cupper (black/tan '82 Toyota)
- Chet Cowan (SOA Samurai)
- Rowena Law (blue '87 Samurai)
- Rob and Andrea Delange (black Landcruiser)
- Steve (last name unknown) (burgundy Isuzu Trooper)
- Shawn ( silver '87 Nissan 4x4 P.U.)
- Keith Daly (blue '82 Toyota)
Other names to mention were Phil Senkler from the Island 4x4 list, who decided to bring his Pontiac Le Mans, instead of his YJ, and Dave Hope of IRC. Apparently, Dave H. had some pressing matters to attend to in the morning and showed up an hour after everyone left. My apologies to Dave and passenger.
The 4x4 participation was great.
Rowena Law's Zuk on an impromptu ramp.
Bill and Gina Innes' big black Blazer and his astro turf.
Jo, not happy with just sitting there on pavement, brought a couple of planks along, in hopes of getting an impromptu ramp contest happening. The back corner of the lot had a cement wall about 4' in height; the plank and wall combination gave us a 30 degree incline! Rowena, Chet and Jo went first, scoring 425, 500, 525 consecutively. Shannon, with the need to outdo everyone else, showed what his Toyota with its YJ front springs and Mazda 3/4e springs could do.
As well, special thanks to Rowena, Morgan, Jay, Dylan, Drew, Kailey and Theresa for helping to setup early Sunday morning; Dwayne and Chris for making the T-shirts for everyone as well.
The food was good ($1.50 for hotdog and pop for charity) and the music was exquisite. A good time was had by all. See you all next year!