By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer
Clouds of smoke rolled across the grandstands during the loud pipe and burnout contests of the 19th annual Fort Gibson Car, Truck and Motorcycle Sho on Friday.
The crowd, holding their shirts over their mouths and noses, did their best to cheer for the drivers running through the gears while standing still.
Ryan Freeman handily won the loud pipe and burnout trophies with his 1968 Camaro.
“We drag race all the time with it,” Freeman said. “It puts out about 800 horsepower. We were going to come out last year, but didn’t get the chance because we were working on an engine for a car in the car show. It’s a great event, but we want more people to come out next year.”
Around 1,000 spectators packed Ross Street on Friday night for loud pipe and burnout contests. Vehicles ranging from race-ready cars to mid-90s Nissan pickups were among the 25 entries in the two contests.
Erica Mayberry, who brought her husband and son to the event, said she tries to come out every year.
“It’s a tradition for us,” Mayberry said. “I like the burnout contest. It’s something different, and something cool. The Camaro was definitely the best. It brings a lot of people together and keeps them out of trouble on a Friday night.”
The contests both went without an incident until Lane Tippie blew out a tire during his second run in the burnout contest. The crowd cheered him on as he pulled off the road and changed his tire in just a matter of minutes.
Amy Colburn, the office manager at Ahmad Pediatrics, said the contests were “fun and exciting.”
“My family enjoys them both,” Colburn said. “You don’t ever see the same thing every year, and not every town does something like this. We just came out to have a good time and we’re rooting for them all. We hope everyone does well.”
As contestants pulled up to the starting line, the Fort Gibson Fire Department provided water to loosen up the traction for the vehicles. When the tires spun away all the water, the smoke began to roll.
Freeman said his car probably didn’t need the water.
“It’s a low nine-second car on the drag strip,” he said. “We don’t need the water to make smoke. We hope this encourages more guys to bring out their high-powered rigs next year.”
Police Chief Clint Vernon said the event was all about people “enjoying themselves.”
“That’s what this night is all about,” Vernon said. “We want people to get involved and bring more people in. If that means having cars cruising the streets until the midnight curfew, I’m all about it. Everyone out here can have fun and enjoy their hot rods.”
Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.