More Than a Car Show

Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance gives back to the community.

As printed in the Sand & Pine Magazine. April/May 2017


There’s no question the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance, celebrating its fifth anniversary on May 6, is about the beauty and elegance of cars past and present. But that’s not all it’s about: Along with a healthy seasonal boost to the local economy, the organization also sponsors a college scholarship program to Sandhills Community College for local teens interested in the automotive industry.

Peter Stilwell, founder of Tarheel Communications Solutions and head of event operations for the Concours, says the first year of the Concours they did raise money for charities but they recognized the need to give back more directly to the community. Spearheaded by Pinehurst Concours President Jay Howard, they came up the idea of providing a scholarship to students from Moore County who are planning to enroll in the automotive program at Sandhills Community College.

And when they spoke to John Dempsey, president of SCC, about the idea, Dempsey was so supportive that he committed the school to matching the contribution of the Pinehurst Concours, effectively providing a full scholarship for the top student.

“Sandhills Community College is both proud and fortunate to be involved with the Concours D’Elegance,” says Dempsey. “Proud because it’s always nice to be associated with an event of the quality and magnitude of the Concours. Fortunate because the Concours has created a wonderful scholarship that benefits students in the college’s Automotive Technology Program. This scholarship guarantees that a steady supply of the area’s ‘best and brightest’ will be attracted to careers in the automotive industry.”

Last year, Pinehurst Concours awarded three scholarships totaling $10,000 to three students, with the top scholarship of $5,000 and two additional scholarships for $2,500 each.

To chose the students, Pinehurst Concours works with the automotive teachers from the three area high schools (Pinehurst, Union Pines and North Moore), where four students from each school are selected. Before the event, the senior judges mentor the students in the judging process—how to look for a correct and authentic restoration or preservation. During the event, the junior judges are each assigned to a judging team and help with documenting the scores on a tablet. As the results are being tabulated, the students must then present to the judges their favorite car and explain their reasons. The judges then determine which students had “the most promise, knowledge and drive” and made the best presentation.

“The Concours Scholarship Program has been great for the automotive students here at North Moore High School,” says automotive teacher Eddie Billings. “It gives some students the opportunity, hope and drive to pursue a lifelong career in a field they like and can make a decent living. Without the scholarship, some of my students would not have attempted a postsecondary education.”

And the judges, says Howard, fully embrace their additional duties. “Our judges support it and love it because they know they’re providing opportunities for the next generation of young people that will somehow be engaged in the automotive industry. And being able to provide funding for their college educations is one of the more gratifying areas surrounding our annual event.”

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