Bakersfield, CA - October
16-18, 2009: The 18th
NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion and 9th annual Cacklefest not
only lived up to their star billings but in fact may have surpassed
them. In spite of a shaky economy the record crowd was blessed
with Chamber of Commerce weather, great racing and a record number
of cacklecars. And that record was the straw that broke the camels
For the first time in its history,
the actual Cacklefest ended with less than rave reviews from
many fans and racers alike. The problems that really came to
the surface this year were on the horizon the last couple of
years but since the Cacklefest is but one part of the program,
it has not been the major focal point. Add to that ring master
Steve Gibbs falling ill and MIA for Saturday and some aspects
ended up less than perfect.
In a nutshell, there were probably
too many cars in 2008 and over 100 made it way too many cars
this year. This is both a good thing and a problem. It's good
the people want to participate in CHRR Cacklefest and will go
to the lengths that many do to find and restore or even recreate
old cars. But it has become so popular that there are more cars
than can be dealt with in the allotted time on Saturday night.
The situation has not gone unnoticed
however, and a group of people who have been directly involved
with various aspects of the cackle car activities are discussing
changes to the format that will speed thing up and eliminate
potential causes of confusion.
Some of the things being considering
for next year are:
Condense the parade presentation.
Saturday Cacklefest will be limited
to true push start cars only. None of the fake starts where the
teams blower start the car - and then drive down the push road.
Line the push road with cones,
creating a single lane to keep cars away from fence, and to prevent
push trucks from pulling along side race cars.
All self start cars will be featured
on Sunday - just prior to first round of eliminations.
Thursday will be dedicated to
Cacklefest preparation. All day available for practice push starts,
and a "seminar" for all participants to discuss procedures.
Establish a means to "certify" all drivers in Cacklefest.
And we are sure there will be more.
With the down side out of the
way, the good stuff was more than abundant. There was a full
complement of return cacklecars and 13 first timers including
but not limited to the stunning Hawaiian AA/FD, Jim & Alison
Lee AA/FD, Brissette & Sutherland AA/FD, Adams Wayre &
Mulligan AA/FD, Tommy Allen "Trick Car" AA/FD, another
Jerry Ruth AA/FD, Stephens & Venables AA/FD, Tennessee Bo-Weevil
AA/FD, Shelby Super Snake AA/FD, Cupit & Cunningham A/FD
and the Kaiser Bros. AA/FD.
By all accounts our event coverage
here is overkill, but nonetheless this is the genesis of Cacklefest
and it is our pleasure to present the end result of the efforts
of Tony Thacker, Steve Gibbs, Greg Sharp, Dusty and Gwen McWilliams,
Wayne Allison, Monique Valadez, Cindy Gibbs Arias and the rest
of the staff of the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum. Kudos
as well to John and Blake Bowser and the Famoso Raceway staff
for a superbly prepared facility.
Photos by: Bob Brown, Arlene
Eliason, Stephen Justice, Steven C. Wallace, Dan Kaplan, Jason
Ellis, Tim Hanaseth, Pam Schavrien, Paul Hutchins, Darrell Conrad,
John Ewald, Jim Phillipson, Howard Hagen, Don Atkinson and Don