With the days getting warmer and light lingering longer as we slide past the spring equinox motoring enthusiasts are looking at the fun time of the year here in the Ohio Valley.  The racers are usually the first to crack the throttles on frosty mornings of very early spring; announcements of drag racing test and tunes, autocrosses, track days, tours and rallies gain frequency and speed as the first weeks of April fade into the past.  By the time you read this the show and shine updates will be rolling along with reminders of the signature events coming up, the excitement builds.  This last weekend driving and show events were available on the campus of the Northern Kentucky University and all around the area.
On Sunday April 22 a Road Rally wound around scenic northern Kentucky followed by a car show. All in good fun for a good cause "” the Friends of Steely Library, and WNKU-FM, the university community based radio stations, were the beneficiaries of the rally and a Car Show that followed.  Cincy Custom Street Machines organized the show providing registration, judging and awards, supporting the Kid's Café and Action Ministers with their efforts.
The Rally, organized by Scenic Road Rallies of Sunman Indiana, took the participants on a ride of approximately fifty miles around northern Kentucky.  These fun Rallies can be entered in any street legal vehicle, from Abarth to Volvo, Mini Cooper or Mini Van, all are welcome to come out and have some fun. Each team (driver & navigator) are given a set of instructions to follow as they drive, the instructions include questions that need to be answered as the rally proceeds.  Rules of the road, including speed limits apply at all times, the key to success is answering the questions correctly rather than speed.  The result is a fun morning driving around and having a few laughs along the way.  The rally ends with organizers collecting the instruction sheets and checking the answers; the team with the most correct answers wins.  
The car show filled out the day with a selection of custom and collectible cars, trucks and motorcycles.  It is possible to take your favorite ride on the rally and enter it in the car show and several cars participated in both activities.  About 100 vehicles participated in the day of fun with WNKU and the Steely Library between the rally and the car show.
Motors & Music on Sunday delivered a display of the areas finest preserved and restored machinery in the luxurious confines of the Porsche of the Village/Maserati of Cincinnati/Volvo of Cincinnati to benefit the Cincinnati May Festival.  The May Festival, originated some 13 years prior to Karl Benz actually driving his first practical automobile, is a Cincinnati Tradition that had a spectacular introduction to conducting a car show last year in the rain with a very strong attendance by the car collectors.  This year the display featured excellent examples of fine automobiles from a wide variety of manufacturers.  A McLaren MP4-12C was joined by several very rare Mercedes Benz, Packards, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Cadillac, Buick and Rolls-Royce automobiles to mention just a few.  For exhibitors this is one of the most enjoyable events we attend thanks to everyone at the May Festival and the Motors & Music committee for including us.
Events involving cars, motorcycles, boats and airplanes are favorites for charitable fund raising efforts, everybody has a favorite vehicle they like to see occasionally and don't mind supporting a worthy cause to feed their passion.  Specialty vehicle owners are a gregarious bunch, easily cajoled into a conversation about their hobby; it is this passion driving the shows, the cruises, the rallies and other activities that make them a natural fit with charitable causes.  We are blessed to have a weekly selection of Cruise Ins to attend weekly; usually there is a "split the pot" or raffle of some sort supporting a cause or need.  The highly organized events like the Pumpkin Run Nationals or Ault Park Concours d"¢Elegance have raised millions of dollars for their chosen charities over the years. (Pumpkin Run supports the Shriner's Hospitals and Ault Park Concours benefits the Arthritis Foundation).
Motorcyclists are giving and riding in increasing numbers for the benefit of a wide variety of charities.  May 19 is the eighth annual Brady Scanlon Memorial Ride and Picnic, raising money to aid local charities prevent skin cancer (www.RideRemember.com).   Enjoying the scenery and the roads less traveled is part of the fun of these events, while ample time is also dedicated to feeding the social needs of the participants through cookouts, picnics, happy hours. With the rides, rallies and shows, part of the fun is the celebrations that accompany the main event.
The charities also drive the need for the clubs and organizations that promote motoring events to be creative and constantly come up with new opportunities for the public to engage in the process.  Tech sessions, garage tours, schools and seminars are offered to those that want to delve further into the hobby.  The Ault Park Concours offers a trip to Jay Leno's Garage http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/ as the grand prize for its raffle.  For $100 you can have one of 300 tickets that will give you and three compatriots an inclusive venture to the garage most Car/Bike Guy/Gal would like to have.  Sporting a display of everything motorized Jay Leno's Garage is probably the most consistently discussed collection amongst collectors and restorers, not to mention frequently filmed-check out the videos.  This idea worked very well for the Concours Foundation a few years back and now includes hotel, travel expenses and several other venues that feature cars, motorcycles and other machinery.  Details about the raffle are available at www.ohioconcours.com or call 513 321 1951.
The list of benefitting charities is growing everyday as more events embrace the motoring hobby on its many levels and provide opportunities to enjoy exotic vehicles and support a good cause.  Watch the Cincy Motorsports Journal calendar for dates and locations of many charitable events; in the near future check out the CincItalia show May 20 at Harvest Home Park for a gathering of Italian Automobiles-Bellisimo!