The Renegade Rip

Smokers Car Club holds Annual Social and BBQ

Fitzgerald Graves

Fitzgerald Graves, Reporter

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Smokers car club held their 23rd Annual Social and BBQ at the Elks Lodge on March 2nd. The doors opened at 5:00 p.m. and tickets for this event was $25.00 for members and $30.00 for non-members. The funds collected benefit the Smokers car club March Meet and some community engagement organized by the club president Dan Lee.

Lee a significant fixture in the drag racing/racing world of Bakersfield engaged the crowd, greeting old friends and new faces with the same enthusiasm and welcoming smile. After a exhausting day at the track he was still excited about the dinner, raffle, and award portion of the evening. Friends and members as far back as 50 years set amongst the audience. Once the volunteers announced that the green light for dinner to be served all the people attending became racers.

The aromas of the BBQ held them in a trance at the serving tables and they were being cautious not to move their plates away from the serving spoon to fast. BBQ, beans, salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, and rolls were prepared to perfection by the visiting volunteers and Pit Masters Kevin O’Grady and Curtis Trigueiro along with their wives Debbie O’Grady and Angie Trigueiro. Sonny Cruz, owner of Mexicali also sponsored the event by providing some of the food listed previously and is a fan of racing as well. The Trigueiro’s and O’ Grady’s compete in BBQ competitions throughout the nation but make it a priority to be a part of this event and provide the grade A food that the club members and visitors ate.

The Smokers car club 23rd Annual Social and BBQ brought visitors from as far as Australia. Glenn Bloomer and his Partner Gary Parsons came from Melbourne, Victoria in Australia, to participate in the March meet racing and the social. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world. This is one of the most authentic races in the United States” Bloomer said.

Robert Villanueva, a fleet Sales rep. at 3-Way Chevrolet, is a board member for the Smokers car club said, “This event started way back with the Smokers Fuel and Gas Championship held here in Bakersfield way before I was a part of it. Yet I have known some of these guys for over 20 something years and we love racing and giving back to the (racing) community.” “Events like this keeps the racing community alive.” When asked about green renewable energy resources he said, “Racing needs high octane and Smoker car club members love racing.”

Another historic racer named Digger Helm was also present at the club social. Although fighting stage-4-cancer he rolled in to the Elks lodge in high spirits beyond the caution flag of his health. “My dad took me to Bakersfield Speedway and I fell in love with racing. I wanted to do it, but I was too young to race. I had motorcycle at home and I stripped it down. I have been doing it a long time”, he said. He sold his shop in 1959 and traveled the nation racing. He played trumpet and trombone in clubs to raise gas money “I had a plan with a plan” He said. “I’m the most native son of Bakersfield, I still live in the house my parents brought me home from the hospital to”, he said. He has been a part of racing in the city of Bakersfield for over 50 years and part of the racing community since the visit to BSW (Bakersfield Speedway). “This is probably the last year for here, but it is important to me to be here. I love racing and we are losing all those guys with an undying spirit.”

The Smokers car club members and family love racing, whether it is Drag racing, Formula racing, Mini truck racing, motorcycle racing, flat track, round track, 8-track, or long track racing. Their passion to go fast and give big to their community will not see a checkered flag anytime soon.

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Smokers Car Club holds Annual Social and BBQ