Hub City Hangout – It Takes a Tribe
January 2024 · Donor Stories, Mission Brief
Tony Vigil used to throw an annual block party for all his car buddies in Lubbock, Texas. Every year, they’d gather at his mechanic shop, Affordable Auto Repair, to reconnect, have fun, and talk cars. And every year, he’d fork over about $3,000 to pay for that party.
“It was just a reason to hang out and relax,” he said. “After a while I got burned out because it was costing so much money without really doing anything positive with it.”
One day, while having lunch at the Texas Spoon Café, Tony and the owner of the restaurant, his friend Alan Bownds, discussed ways they could help kids in the community.
“I said, ‘let’s throw a car show for them. I know lots of people in town. We have at least 80 cars show up to the block party, and I think we could probably raise enough money to donate three to five grand a year.’ Alan said, ‘okay, I’ll donate five grand.’”
Thus began Hub City Hangout, an annual car show in Lubbock that drew 356 show cars and more than 5,000 attendees last year. For the last three years, the beneficiaries of that show are children served by local nonprofits Caleb’s Closet and Saint Francis Ministries.
What sets Hub City Hangout from other car shows is the variety.
“Generally, if you go to a car show, it’s category specific,” said Tony. “I wanted to create a car show that united low-riders, hot-rodders, and bikers from every walk of life.”
He began with his friends.
“I reached out to eight fellow custom builders, brought them to the Spoon, and said, ‘I’m not asking for money from you guys. I just need help. I want you to spread the word and help take entries and move people about on the day of the show.’”
Seven of the eight agreed to help, and the first year’s show featured 160 cars and raised more than $8,000. It has grown every year since.
“It just keeps getting bigger,” said Tony. “We’ve had people from California, New Mexico, the East Coast, and other places. I feel it’s going to grow to become one of the biggest shows in Texas. There are a couple down south with a thousand cars and around ten thousand spectators, and we have the facilities to handle much that now.”
Tony also has strong community support – from the City of Lubbock, which provides the space in McKenzie Park and law enforcement for security, to the 30 local sponsors who help fund the event. He also has about 40 volunteers – comprised of family and friends – who ensure the car show runs smoothly and safely for participants, vendors, and attendees.
“They take the load off me so I can run around in the golf cart all day addressing problems and making sure everyone stays happy. It runs like a well-oiled machine because everyone knows what it’s about and doesn’t want to ruin it for the kids. It takes a tribe.”
Tony says he especially likes working with Saint Francis because, “they’re glad about what they receive from the car show, and they’re always happy to tell me how they use it to help kids. That’s what I’m passionate about – kids. I figure an adult in a bad situation always has a way to get away, but a child doesn’t. Our car show is all about kids, and all the money goes to kids, particularly those in our community of Lubbock.”
The Hub City Hangout is all about community … community pride in Lubbock and community collaboration to help kids in need. Tony says he couldn’t do it without his family and friends, especially his organizing committee comprised of local businesspeople Alan Bownds, Phil Brewer, Jimmy Davis, Mike Griffin, Bob Griffin, Trevor Cook, and Scott Adams. That’s the kind of guy Tony is … he wanted to make sure they were mentioned in this story, too.
“I have lots of friends who chip in,” he said. “It’s not just me. I’m just the ringleader of a big circus.”