Saturday , 24 July 2021

Bonnyville Gear Grabbers “Optimistic” That Drag Racing Event Can Happen

The Bonnyville Gear Grabbers are hopeful to bring drag racing to town next summer, but still have many obstacles in their way before anything is finalized.

It all started with a Facebook post from the Gear Grabbers page on July 28 gauging support for a future drag racing event.

After over 150 people commented, they are now working to make the event a reality.

“We’re hitting this head-on. We’re going hard,” said Shon Gamache, who’s heading up the organizing committee for the event.

“We’re hoping to have all of our hurdles out of the way by the end of the year so we can focus on the event itself in 2019.”

The reason for their optimism is that the club has overcome a major hurdle that stopped them in the past.

However, there is still a long road ahead before any drag racing event is confirmed.

“The Bonnyville Nouvelle kind of blew it out of proportion,” said Gamache.

“The truth of the matter is we are trying to make it happen. We know we want to do it. The demand has been there from the community for years. It’s been known from the Club since we started eight years ago. There are just so many hurdles in the way: political, location, financial.”

Finding a venue seems to be the largest obstacle. They have a few in mind, but didn’t want to say where.

Although, they say people familiar with drag racing in the area, “would know where they would want to hold it.”

“We first have to nail down a venue to hold an event like this there. And it could surprise us and come within weeks, or it could be 3-4 months. Depends on the cooperation of the people of the venues, and who we have supporting us that can lobby those boards of directors,” said Nathan Warkentin,  committee racing program.

The costs of insurance and liabilities is tough to work around too.

“Safety is the number one thing because there’s high speeds involved, high horsepower…safety is number one and it’s the whole thing that this revolves around,” said Gamache.

But, the club is pleased by the support already, and hope that if drag racing happens the supporters will show up.

“We see we have a substantial amount – maybe better than even we thought. Now it’s gonna be time to call on those people to support us, and then show that to the places we have in mind for hosting,” said Warkentin.

The club will continue to update people on their Facebook page as it develops.

To share ideas or lend support, call Shon Gamache 780-573-8951 or Nathan Warkentin 780-201-9348.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.