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Schooled on Judging at StanceWars 2016

Schooled on Judging at StanceWars 2016

By TJ Sharp, Contributor 

StanceWars is a rapidly growing event and the company behind it is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Mike Tolliver is the owner, and within the last year he’s made moves for his company to be able to nationally hold shows (with StanceWars Vegas and StanceWars Houston debuting this year).

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SW - 2Washington is my home, and I’ve been attending Mike’s events for 4+ years now. The event never ceases to amaze with the cars that show up. It keeps getting bigger and better, with more people showing up from across the country to give us locals a look at what happens outside of our area. In return, Mike is also bringing the Northwest flavor to other major cities by organizing his new venues across the nation.

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SW - 5Hosted on July 9, 2016, StanceWars Seattle is religiously held at Bellevue College in Bellevue, WA. It’s based in a four-story parking garage, with the top floor being the “Top 100” area that is reserved for the best of the best.

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A show like Stance Wars strives to bring you the best of the best. It’s just like the movie Blood Sport, but instead of Jean-Claude Van Damme,  you get crazy wheel fitment. That, and also instead of a Kumite in Hong Kong, it’s a car show in Seattle.

The yearly issue of picking the best of the best also brings around the yearly issue of hurt feelings. It’s not uncommon to see some car enthusiasts upset by who did or did not quality for the show. The caliber of StanceWars can breed this sort of competition, which is great, but the sentiments that arise when you end up losing can occasionally take a turn for the worse. In effort to clarify the entire process we reached to Mike Tolliver to explain.

SW - 8Mike broke down the entire complicated process of how entrants qualify for the show and how they are judged. In the end, you end up with an entire process that is pretty unbiased and fair. A quick breakdown looks like this: 250 spots are open for entrants. The first round of cuts trim the fat – cars that maybe have too much wheel gap, etc.

After that, judging is handled by a small group of former event winners. They are essentially sequestered from each other and individually go through each entrant. This allows each judge to form their own unbiased opinion.

SW - 9Once at the show, the judges review each car as group. The judges then vote amongst themselves for the show winners. So contrary to some internet rumblings, Mike has no pull, say or sway on who wins. So why go through all this effort? Why not just hand awards to your friends all willy-nilly? Well that’s easy… It’s bad for business.

SW - 11That’s right, this amazing car show is still a business. In order for it to keep growing and be successful, you have to be above the line. You can’t just risk it all so a few of your friends/ favorites get trophies.

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SW - 13StanceWars is a very lively event, with Mike and staff being the heart of it all. If it ever comes to a city near you, I would highly suggest you go. I guarantee it will be like nothing you’ve never experienced before. Be on the watch for the 2017 schedule, follow StanceWars on all your favorite social media outlets and/or even add Mike himself!

Here are the remaining shots I took at the event.

SW - 12Andrew Nguyen’s Lexus IS300 enroute to StanceWars.

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SW - 15@mr_2_low’s Toyota MR2.

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SW - 18Kelly O’Brien’s Subaru Bugeye.

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SW - 20Felix Garcia’s Subaru STI.

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SW - 22Christopher Moffitt’s Subaru STI.

SW - 23Brenden Batista’s Subaru STI.

SW - 24Dillon Hayne’s Acura RSX.

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Photos + Words by TJ Sharp

-Instagram: Tristeez

-Flickr: Tristeezz


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