I'm going to revisit a topic, which will be the death knell for our hobby, unless we get our heads out of our collective ass.
This past week, a post made it to Facebook, detailing the death of the reunion in Tuscon. Names aren't important, if you read it you... know the cast, the message is what takes precedence here. Within mere moments of it appearing, there was an equal outpouring of loyalty for each "side" in yet another soap opera style showdown. No shortage of vitriol either, much like our country's political climate.
We'll call it Dragster Drama, since it seems to be the thing to do with each cause du jour that comes along. It was much easier, when the evil blue meanie was the suits. But this... this, is between two of the most beloved folks when it comes to this thing we love. I think there were a few friendships lost over this, as well as some general nastiness, borne of nothing more than some hero worship on the part of some, ignorance of others and love as well.
I penned an opinion of the '17 CHRR, sitting in my hotel, the Friday morning of the event. It's in the archives, no need to rehash. I received a few emails and messages and a phone call about it. All from people who weren't there, or had announced after the previous year they would never return, for myriad reasons. Now, those who know me, know I thrive on people having an issue with anything I do. It's fuel, for a fire which is alive and well and is part of my passion for this avocation. I'm always a rebel and miscreant... I suppose until the end. Perhaps that lack of attendance was what needed to happen. The general consensus of those I know who attended, otherwise known as friends, said it was a decent event. All the while those not attending were poo-pooing it all weekend long via social media. To each his, or her, own. Maybe that is why the rest of us who did go, not really knowing if it would survive, actually enjoyed it and will continue to attend.
Tucson on the other hand, is one I have wanted to attend. Always heard glowing comments and even had people call me from the event and tell me I should have went. That was the plan this year. The Hippo was set to go west and I was going to an event in March and planned to leave it out there, return for Tucson, then bring it home to continue work on it. I think I inquired about it once every couple weeks. Anticipating the dates being announced, I was a little confused when another show was announced at an unexpected venue for what I thought would have been the Arizona date. I was hoping to hear the week before or after may have accommodated my plans for returning and taking in both events. Not to be, no way, no how, no sir... dead as a doornail.
Finger pointing, accusations, name calling, apologies demanded, deleting of the post, private messages and emails being made public, etc. ensued for almost two days after the demise was announced. Hatefulness, disrespect and maybe the saddest, yet amusing part, was seeing the loyal having to choose who they were more loyal to. One may get a little evil satisfaction out of watching this play out. Especially when some of them were the ones who sent me nasty emails, messages and unfriended me. All over getting their noses out of joint for suggesting giving something a chance and ultimately saying it was a good event. Still, not real sure who chose sides or took the high road.
The bigger picture here boys and girls, is something calling for us to examine our consciences. Hearing only one side's story, taking it as gospel and not caring to hear the other is dangerous. Ignorance to situations and facts ( or fiction ) is where we veer terribly off course. It turns the enjoyment and preservation of history into a queer mess of politics and petty bickering. Overlooking, or even abandoning, why we are trying to keep this alive will surely spell doom. Since this is an opinion piece, my opinion is that if I am going to spend 100 grand on restoring a dragster... I want to show it and enjoy it. If you don't like an event, so what, there's an equal or better amount who do like it. Promoters who decide to kill events, or combine with others to make a buck, are robbing those of us who go to great expense to put these piles together. In no way am I saying that is what happened, rumors abound, concerning the events of the last week. Those are worth as much as you pay for them... or this.
I don't give a damn anymore.
When personal drama piggybacks something, I am usually the first to cancel or walk away. Just don't want to deal with it, when it is already going to be a sizable expense and undertaking to make two, three or 4 trips out to California this year. After much thought, I will just choose to go in March and October this year. Seeing as how each trip would take 3 or 4 grand to make, I'm saving myself about 8 grand. March is going to be fun, as it will be the first time I get to attend a long-standing event and hang with some friends. October means I get to once more have an annual get-together with friends. Friends, who find more importance in that particular bond, throwing the politics of others (we have no control over it anyway) to the wind. Friends and fun are all that matters. Pissing on people who have a differing opinion, not so much. You may not like the music, but you really just want to dance. I do wish the other two events success and hope they do well. The hosts/promoters of the events are certainly two of the biggest names in the history of our sport/hobby/culture. Maybe next year I'll alternate attendance and have a new first, or two. As for the drama of the past week, it's fallout and aftermath remains to be seen. It would behoove those with an interest, to ask questions and research what really happened. If it is truly known what the ingredients to this were.
As in all things, a wise old broad once told me,"Three sides to every story, boy. Yours, theirs and the truth." Gram was the smartest person I knew. Taught me loyalty was good to a degree, but the only one who will die for your loyalty is you.
Keep the greasy side closer to the ground, than to the sky.
Elvis is everywhere.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Eddie Buck