Recap: Youth Judging At Chocolate Town

by Tabetha Salsbury

October 31, 2011

Operation Ignite! Youth Judging team names their top picks at Hershey. 
Last month, youth judging made a sweet debut of sorts at the 56th annual AACA Hershey Fall Meet. More than 1,200 entries in all categories of antique automobiles were represented at this year’s car show, held on the event’s final day, October 8, 2011. This year marked the first appearance by Hagerty’s Youth Judging team at the event.

Hagerty’s Operation Ignite! allowed 15 young judges the rare opportunity to learn about and experience some really great cars at Hershey—vehicles that included a 1911 Model T touring car, a 1963 Sunbeam Alpine and even a 1926 Pontiac Boat Tail Speedster “Hill Climber.” 

Scoring the cars in five categories, the judging team carefully scrutinized the vehicles while deftly quizzing the owners with all the relevant questions: Is this original paint? How many years have you owned the car?

Of course the owners didn’t have it too easy with the judges; the kids were persistent in checking to make sure everything—including headlights, taillights, dome lights, and, of course, the horn—was in top working order in every vehicle.

Once all of the scores were tallied, the young judges headed back out to the show field to present trophies to their top three picks: 
  • 1st Place- 1929 Packard owned by Darla Hancher of Harmony, PA

  • 2nd Place - 1955 Imperial limousine owned by John E N Blair of Waynesboro, PA

  • 3rd Place – 1963 Sunbeam Alpine owned by Kim Barnes of Pylesville, MD

Connecting kids and cars is the mission of Hagerty’s Operation Ignite! And judging by the feedback we got from the young participants, Hershey created a lot of lasting and meaningful memories.  

When asked if they plan to come back to Hershey in future years, the first-timers all responded with an enthusiastic,”Yes!" The team at Hagerty’s Operation Ignite! would like to thank the AACA and all volunteers and participants at Hershey who helped make this such a wonderful addition to the already great event.


  1. Jim Sholders Burgaw, North Carolina

    I have a grandson who just turned 12. How could he have the opportunity to participate in the youth judgeing experience? Is there a course they must take? Is it hands on at a show? If so what shows and how do I help him get involved. Thank you in advance for your time. Jim Sholders