USMA Club Spotlight
United Street Machine Assoc. Customs & Rods is celebrating 37 years of our car club organization, 45 years of car related events. Since the summer of 1971 the original show and cruise crew of United Street Machine Assoc. have been producing top quality events for car owners to participate in. In 1978 the original founding fathers joined forces. Rod Dotten, Dave King and Ralph Haney said if we are going to do this, then we will do it right. We will cater to car owners. We will set up guidelines, establish rules. These things can carry over from event to event, year to year so the car owners will have knowledge. First Mr. King developed a great judging system of classes and how the cars were to be judged. A fair, honest system with special attention to cleanliness and detail was the goal. Once the car world saw how this system works, it since has been copied thousands of times. Ralph Haney and Rod Dotten wanted these car events to be fun, a pleasant time. All the volunteers and workers you meet from the time you pull in, register, are classed and judged are there for you. They thought customer service is what cruisers expected with these new experiences in the early 70s called “Car Shows”. Later the term “Cruise Nights” came into play when restaurant owners asked how they could benefit by USMA bringing these car owners to their place. Separating “The Show” from “The Cruise-in” was developed and is very popular today. The crew, in working with sponsors, saw that there was a need for people to receive something for attending. It built excitement in the car owners and gave something back to them for their dollars spent, time and labor. For the last 45 years the USMA Show Crew has dedicated themselves to specializing in charity events, doing fundraisers that are built around the classics, hot rods, car and truck enthusiasts. United Street Machines several times has been named top charity car club in the United States. Because of the number of events USMA produces, these awards have been broken down in regions for fairness to all clubs. Now USMA is considered to be the number one charity car club in the Midwest. USMA has produced over 2,500 events, has had a membership throughout the years of nearly 7,000. For 2016 the USMA schedule has 22 different types of fun car events to participate in. USMA has done 28 Shriner indoor car shows raising thousands of dollars for burned and crippled kids; the host club of the Down on Main Street Clawson Lions Club Show raising thousands for Leader Dogs; Handicapped Boy Scouts 27 years, M.D. Show 27 years; Vietnam Veterans, YWCA, Abuse Shelters, Center Line Lions, Rotary Clubs, Memorial Shows, Special Olympics, and we are very proud of our Billy Sohns Memorial display at Hunter Community Center in Clawson. The USMA Michigan Nationals held at the Fairgrounds starting in the early 70’s was a springboard to the hundreds of outdoor car shows and swap meets done today. No one had ever done such a major event open to all car and truck owners in Metro Detroit 35 years ago. USMA brought DJ’s, Rockin’ Ronnie appeared on the scene; music, entertainment, street dances, kids games, driving events to the outdoor show world. Our staff wanted more things for the car owners to do than just sit. Be busy, meet and get to know fellow car owners. Ralph Haney was one of the original three people who sat down to develop the Dream Cruise concept. Events like Gratiot, USMA took to the next level from one day to weeklong cruises to build excitement; USMA staff working with Country Street Machines helped work the first Frankenmuth event years ago; worked with Bob Dera 37 years ago at Freedom Hill Show. A good many great car show promoters today started out as a USMA member, a volunteer, a partner in the USMA program. Everyone has always been welcomed to join. Everyone can attend USMA events. Anyone who wants to get involved, help any one of the couple dozen charities, USMA works with arms open. We encourage member involvement. We love to work with other clubs. We sponsor dash plaques and door prizes at other club cruiser events. We offer help to those interested. It’s been a long 45 years of great people and fun times. Our staff is looking forward to keeping the torch lit for years to come. We thank everyone who has ever been a member. Those who have shared one day or 300 days with us; we consider our event participants as friends. Our members are part of our huge cruiser family. We offer more, give more to try and please everyone knowing it won’t always happen. You’re welcome to join. You’re welcome to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 248-435-3091. Everyone is always welcome. In quoting our greatest cruiser ever, our friend Billy Sohns. “It’s been great! Thanks for the Memories!” 45 years and going strong. We wish a fantastic cruisin season to all.
USMA Show and Cruise Crew
Dave King Ralph Haney
Since this Club Spotlight note was first written, in April of 2012 we lost President Dave King. Dave will always be a part of USMA; our staff will continue to lead us in the right direction.
Billy Sohns' 1967 Chevy Impala Lowrider - Billy, a USMA Member who loved cars and car shows, was a quadriplegic. He bought his car with money he earned selling greeting cards and Christmas cards he drew with a pencil he held in his teeth. Billy was also our USMA illustrator.