Popping Tires in Fortuna.
By Sharon Letts - The Eureka Reporter
The Fortuna Redwood AutoXpo Burn Out competition is held at the Rodeo Grounds in Rohner Park. Signups are held at the entrance of the Rodeo Grounds and entry is free -- or the cost of new tires.
"If you can't see the car for the smoke, it's a sure sign of a winner," chairperson Andy Bowels said of this year's Burn Out competition. "They get up to two minutes, or until they pop a tire."
The game is easy, rev your engine and drop it into gear. Your tires will spin, burn rubber and, more than likely, pop. Sound like fun?
According to Bowels, there are five judges and several categories. Winners are judged on audience reaction, amount of smoke or the plain, old fashioned enthusiasm of the participant - to name a few.
Categories are broken down by horsepower and include V8s, V6s, V4s and bikes, as well as modified vehicles.
"Basically, if you can stay inside the platform, you get up to two minutes to either draw the most smoke, make a lot of noise and pop a tire or two," said Bowels.
Bowels said that dedicated past winners include a guy who bought two new tires and then proceeded to pop them, and another who burned out his transmission and had to be towed away.
Safety is a major concern, and why the event is held at the Rodeo Grounds.
"We can control the crowd better at the Rodeo Grounds," said Kathy Wildgrube, longtime organizer of the AutoXpo. "When the tires pop, rubber flies and people go to pick it up, not realizing how hot it is."
A Fortuna Fire Department safety truck appears in past pictures of the event.
"We have staff on hand overseeing the event," said Wildgrube. "It gets pretty exciting."
Prizes include plaques for each winner and a first place trophy.