illmotion Sunday School Show & Shine: History and Retrospect

With the finale of Sunday School just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the last 9 shows and talk about the rise of illmotion and the show as you know it today and the end (I don’t want to say demise because it’s far from that) of illmotion from my own personal perspective. For background information, so that there’s no misunderstanding as you go through this post, I was a part of the conception of illmotion and somewhere along the way, life got in the way and my personal needs and wants took precedence and I said my good-bye’s. Bridges were never burned and to this day, I’m proud of what the guys have continued to put out and organize. It may not be what we/they had envisioned over a decade ago anymore, but if illmotion is synonymous with anything, it’s one of Alberta’s biggest and best quality shows around. No cap (Kids say that these days right?). No question. There is hardly a local show that garners the attention of car-people in the West like Sunday School does and I’m so, so grateful and happy to have been a part of it from the very beginning.

Let me paint a picture of the birth of illmotion before we get started. It was March 2010. We were young. The weather was warming. We thought we had some cool cars. The car scene was trying to break through the phase of sticker bombs and GT wings were frowned upon. Your chassis-mount wing and burble tunes were so far out of view that it would’ve probably been made into a meme before we knew memes were a thing. Car groups were not even a thing unless you were a drifter. Clubs? What’s that? The three biggest names in the Western hemisphere for the car scene were illest, Stance Nation, and Canibeat. Canada had nada. There was no such thing, there were no “cool” groups to “identify” with. That’s all we kind of wanted back then – something to associate ourselves with as a collective group of hobbyists. One thing led to another – the logo was designed, decals were created, a website was born, a storefront put up, photoshoots and write-ups were non-stop. What else could have been done?

A car show. A big one. We pooled ideas together – we want it big, we want it to be about quality, we want people to come together unlike they have before. What should it be called? Sunday School. How much should people pay? A minimal fee. What do we do with all the money? Donate it to different charities each year and keep the rest to continue putting on the same show next year. Will we be successful enough to do it next year? Who knows. We just gotta try.

And so, the rest is history. Sunday School. Fucking cool. I like to compare it to the Big Bang in an obviously much lesser form. Everything that happened, happened at the perfect moment and everything came together so perfectly.

At the very beginning, illmotion was a lot of work. It consumed us. It consumed our lives, our free time, and every waking moment that we had was spent thinking about how to make illmotion better than yesterday. Photoshoots every weekend, then editing, then doing write-ups… Rinse and repeat. It became a tedious thing but the end results always made it worth it. The shares, the joy, the recognition, and seeing people want to be a part of what we worked so hard for.

Over the years, illmotion changed and aged as we did. As you did. As the scene did. It became less about doing photoshoots and having posts up on the site and more about just bringing good cars and good people together. Sunday School was the place to do it and where it always happened.  The last 9 shows have always been one of the hottest days of the year – there hasn’t been a show that has had shitty weather. The crowds have been great, the cars have been top notch and the day always ends up being one of the best days of the year for car enthusiasts alike.

Sunday School has become one of the only shows all year where you get to see a lot of the cars that never come out to any other shows or meets. It’s gained the respect of those that don’t believe in showing their cars anywhere else – and that means something. The thing we sought to do at the beginning of it all is what was achieved. The guys have put on the biggest and best car show for over a decade and unfortunately, it’s coming to an end in just a few days. The finale. X.

I’ve said it in other posts for car shows, but it’s worth mentioning again. Car shows of this magnitude are no easy feat. It’s not just booking a venue and making sure everyone knows what time to come. The minds behind it all put a lot of thought into placement and ensuring it’s aesthetically pleasing and that it makes logistical sense. Attention to detail plays a big part in putting on a show. People aren’t parked all willy-nilly, there’s room for everyone to do what they need to do, and if the space can only handle 500 cars, they aren’t bringing in 600.

Sunday School has also naturally created other things like friendships that never would have been formed otherwise. It’s become a catalyst for forming these new relationships and fostering existing ones. Friends are what make this show come together. Everyone – from the moment they wake up – puts in 110% to help ensure the show goes smoothly. From packing things up, to picking up supplies and setting up the tents and booths, to being at the gate to guide people, to staying under the tent to organize merch or handle goods, to breaking it all down at the end of the day. It’s all friends doing what they know best after learning over the last few years.

Every year, I absolutely dread doing coverage because it’s just so massive and I 100% try to capture every single car at the show if I can. This year is going to be one of the biggest shows yet (not kidding) and I already feel exhausted thinking about all the photos and editing, not to mention it’s going to be around +30C…

But I think this one is going to be a little bittersweet. It hasn’t hit any of us yet – so I’m sure it hasn’t hit any of you either. We’re all so busy prepping and getting ready that we have no time to think of the end. On behalf of myself and illmotion, I want to thank every single one of you for one of the best decades of our lives. You are the reason we started illmotion and you’re the reason the illmotion team has continued to do what they have. But alas, as we grow old and families grow and life starts to take new turns, the last chapter is about to come to a close. It has been a very long and fulfilling journey. My hope isn’t that someone takes over the Sunday School show legacy – I think it’s fair to say that it comes to a close with no expectation that the torch be passed on. My hope is that there is something in the near future that is void of the need for clout and scene points and followers and money that has the same kind of small dream for the car scene that we did. I want to feel a truly self-less show again that brings people together that isn’t a popularity contest. I hope that day comes.

And so as Sunday School X draws near, I want to end on a different note. Bring your A-game. It doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks that means – just bring your best. Make this the best possible show by bringing the best possible version of your car. Whether that means clean barrels, polishing your car if you’ve never polished it before, fixing that loose end up on your wrap… Whatever it is that you think is the best you can do, I want to see it.

I’ll likely be sweating my ass off all day but please do come say hi if you see me. I really don’t bite. I’m just bad with names.

The countdown begins. See you all on Sunday!

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