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A Closer Look at the Goodguys Awards Selection Process

Everyone loves an award, and Goodguys events have plenty of ’em.

The Goodguys team hands out dozens of awards at every event in a wide variety of categories ranging from Awesome Olds to Wonderful Woodie. All registered participants are eligible to win an award and our team works hard to find a diverse selection of cars and trucks to recognize at each event, making the Sunday afternoon awards program a spectacular showcase of wide-ranging automotive style.

Whether you’re a newcomer to the Goodguys scene or a seasoned show-goer, we thought it would be good to review the awards process and offer some insight into how we make our picks and how to position your ride to get the best consideration.


The Goodguys awards process involves a team of many people, including Goodguys staff members, Rodders Reps, and professional builders. With the exception of the annual Top 12 awards, Goodguys does not judge vehicles by a points system or grades, so you’re not likely to see a team of judges with clipboards hovering around contending vehicles. Instead, we pick cars and trucks by a thorough evaluation process that includes the following criteria:

  • Does the vehicle fit the description of the award?
  • How’s the stance; does the vehicle sit right?
  • Does the paint enhance or detract from the appearance?
  • Do wheels and tires look right for the vehicle?
  • Do body panels fit well and are they correct?
  • Does the interior match the theme of the vehicle?
  • Do the modifications work well together?

These criteria and other factors help guide the selection process and provide an opportunity for a variety of vehicles to win Goodguys awards – from home-built weekend drivers to all-out rotisserie restorations. Picks for many awards can be made from virtually anywhere on the event grounds, but if you really want to be evaluated for a trophy you should consider seeking out the Builder’s Choice parking area or one of our many Specialty Parking Areas on Saturday morning.


The premier awards at Goodguys National events are the Builder’s Choice Top 10 awards selected by the nation’s top hot rod and custom car builders. Goodguys teams with honored craftsmen like Bobby Alloway (Nashville Nationals), Dave Kindig (Salt Lake Nationals), and Eric Peratt of Pinkee’s Rod Shop (Colorado Nationals) to select these awards. On top of that, these elite builders create hand-crafted, one-off awards to present to the Top 10 cars and trucks of the event.

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To be eligible for Top 10 selection, you’ll want to park in the special Builder’s Choice parking area on Saturday from 7am to noon. At events where there are indoor displays, cars in the indoor areas will also be eligible for Builder’s Choice awards. The Goodguys team will often scout the Builder’s Choice parking area for other awards, too – including some of our Regional Top 12 finalists – so it’s a good place to be if you’re hoping to come away from the weekend with some hardware.


In addition to the Builder’s Choice area, Goodguys hosts a variety of Saturday Specialty Parking Areas from which awards are selected. These include the Golden Star Air Cooled Corral, Metal Brothers Camaro Corral, Deuce Doins, Speedway Motors Homebuilt Heaven, Mighty Muscle, Designer Street Rods Tri-Five Chevy Corral, LMC Trick Truck, and QA1 Ya Gotta Drive ’Em. We select awards from these areas from 8am to noon on Saturdays. It’s a great place to be for awards consideration, or just to hang out with like-minded enthusiasts.

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It’s worth noting that several of our regional Top 12 finalists are selected from these specialty parking areas, too. If you want to be considered as a potential Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early or LMC Truck of the Late finalist, for example, you need to park in the Trick Truck or Builder’s Choice area on Saturday morning. Similarly, the Goodguys team looks for RaceDeck Muscle Car of the Year finalists in the Mighty Muscle parking areas, as well as in indoor displays at select events.


Celebrating young enthusiasts is the goal of the Goodguys Young Guys & Gals program presented by Goolsby Customs. It recognizes rodders 25 years and under and identifies two top rides from the special Young Guy & Gals parking area at each event. Photos of both vehicles are posted for a social media vote-off to determine an event winner. As an added incentive, all Young Guy & Gals event winners will be evaluated at year’s end to determine a National Champion!


Goodguys founder Gary Meadors always said, “ya gotta drive ’em!” He was a big proponent of hitting the road in vintage rods and customs. That’s why we have the Ya Gotta Drive ’Em specialty parking area to celebrate these well-traveled rides. We select the Ya Gotta Drive ’Em award from cars in this area. Vehicles must have been driven at least 300 miles one-way to the event to be eligible for this award.

In addition to that, Goodguys hands out a Long-Distance Award at each event. Eligibility for this award is measured by the one-way mileage distance from your home starting point to the event location. A sign-up board at the event registration area allows you to enter your vehicle to be eligible. The winner will be notified before the awards program so they may receive their award.


While most weekend awards are selected on Fridays and Saturdays, we always save a few special honors for All American Sunday. These are the days when all American-made and American-powered rides are welcome at Goodguys national events, giving us a chance to check out cool late-model muscle cars, trucks, and other customs. We have All American awards for Chevy, Ford and Mopar, as well as several general All American awards that can be handed out at the discretion of our selectors.


At every Goodguys event, the Goodguys awards process culminates with the Sunday afternoon awards ceremony, which begins at 2:22pm. Why 2:22? It’s a tradition started by our founder, Gary Meadors, who had to decide on an awards time and thought it sounded fun. He’d say, “where were you at 2:22?” and it stuck.

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Now that you know the drill, we hope to see you at 2:22 some Sunday afternoon this season to enjoy the Goodguys awards ceremony – and maybe pick up a trophy of your own!

For updates and additional details on all Goodguys awards, visit!

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.