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Honoree Awards & Hotel Cackles


Bakersfield, CA - 10/20/13: The 22nd edition of the California Hot Rod Reunion disappointed no one. It lived up to its rock star billing and then some. The three day weekend featured Chamber of Commerce weather, record crowds, great racing and tons of cacklecars. There was no doubt that Auto Club Famoso Raceway operators Blake and John Bowser had their facility ready for what was the largest CHRR ever.

Unlike the March Meet, the CHRR is a reunion that includes a race. Its a place and time where old friends meet, new friends are made and those no longer with us honored. A huge part of the history/friendship aspect is the now legendary original Cacklefest® now in its 13th year. And as in years past, the sheer numbers of restored and recreated dragsters grew to over 90 in attendance.

Add to that the hard working folks from the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum and the crew at Famoso insured those in attendance enjoyed 3 full days of great racing, tons of cacklecars and the reason the reunion started in the first place, friends getting together while we still can.

Another tradition is Friday night at the CHRR which is one of drag racings major social events of the year. Hosted at the DoubleTree Hotel, the Honoree Awards Ceremony always draws the who's-who of drag racing.

For the second year in a row a silent auction to benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum was held by the Nitro Alumni. 130 unique and rare items went on the block and the end result was over $23,000 to benefit a great cause, that being keeping the museum up and running to preserve our history.

For those who keep track of newly coined drag racing lexicon, this years Cacklefest came to an end with a crescendo of beautiful noise. Bill Pitts' "Magicar" with Jeep Hampshire in the seat and Sonny Messner's "Swamp Rat" were the last cars still running when they broke out in an impromptu exchange of blipping their respective throttles, forever to be known as a "Nitro Throwdown"®. The exchange went on for a full two minutes and the fans loved it. To carry the thought forward, it opened the door for a "All-American Nitro Throwdown Classic!" Stay tuned.






Prior to the ceremony there was lots of mingling in the parking lot and halls of the Double Tree Hotel.


Tommy Ivo


Grand Marshall Butch Leal


Ken Logan and Larry Dixon


Bill Pitts and Tommy Allen


Bones Balough and Don Enriquez


Bob Beck, Darrell Conrad, Bob Hansen, Jay Carpenter, Mike Clancy, Bill Schilling and Bob Peters from AAA.


Pam Conrad and Don Ewald


Dave McClelland and Gene Winfield



Steve Davis, Harry Hibler and NOID


Tommy Allen table.




Getting a good seat was Tom Jobe of the legendary Surfers, Tom Prufer, (center), Frankie Silva and "Jet Car Bob" Smith on the left.


Donna Anderson and Keith Burgan (Rooman) with Big Mac.


Ken Logan and Tom Ivo







This year Grand Marshal Butch Leal lead an amazing group of drag racing legends including Honorees Tommy Allen, Roy Brizio, Jim DeFrank, Larry Dixon Sr. and John Rasmussen. The Reunion Spotlight will shine on the Crazy Painters, Kelly & Son of Bellflower, Calif. The reception was free and followed by the traditional DoubleTree parking lot "Cacklefest Preview" that kicks off the official start of Cacklefest. We will start at the beginning and share some of what went on inside before the cacklecars started outside.


Everybody's favorite MC Dave McClelland opened up the program.



Rick Lalor was on hand representing AAA of SoCal, sponsor of Famoso Raceway and NHRA Museum.



Larry Fisher, celebrating his first anniversary as the Executive Director of the museum.



A man who needed no introduction, Steve Gibbs.




Ivo up to introduce this years Justice Brothers Car Care Products/TV Tommy Ivo Spotlight Award shined on the fable Crazy Painters, Kelly & Son. These two have painted/lettered more race cars than they can remember - many more. From the 60's their work was sought after from coast to coast.










Tommy "The Watchdog" Allen
art by Shannon Olsen







Some of the Watchdog's fans that work where these kinds of things are made, made it for him and Terry Mastrejuan asked me to say a few words and present it to Tommy on the stage at the banquet.

The back side of it, that you can't see, says..."Tommy Allen Way".
Just a nice thing to add to his special moment.

Pitts said:"Along the boulevard that is drag racing's history, there are cross streets, named after the greats in the sport. Your friends and fans thought that you obviously deserved a cross street too."







Roy Brizio
art by Shannon Olsen










Jim DeFrank
art by Shannon Olsen












Larry Dixon Sr.
art by Shannon Olsen











John Rasmussen
art by Shannon Olsen













Butch Leal
art by Shannon Olsen














Every year new or special cars are selected to fire-up in the parking lot of the DoubleTree Hotel following the awards ceremony. This years picks of the litter included the 1971 Peebles & Williams AA/FD, Gary Cochran's first and last 1972 SPE rear engine car, the beautiful Larry Huff's "Soapy Sales" fueler, the Mr. C (Gary Cochran) Ford powered AF/MR and the "Groundshakers Jr." AA/FA of Glenn Way. No repops in this bunch, all are the original car restored.


The Ford powered Mr. C roadster was found in rough shape then lovingly restored by Steve and Ron Poe with Robert Casado and Fred Seay.




The gold plated Peebles car was a crowd favorite all weekend. The only "nit" anyone had was the rear tires which fell way short of the period correct factor.





Glenn Way has been restoring the Groundshakers Jr. AA/FA at his own pace and the end product is bitchin'.



One of the prettiest cars of its day was the Larry Huff's Soapy Sales Woody car with Ed Pink power and driven by Tommy Allen.



Marie (aka Ground Zero) Cochran with her Mr. C in his first and only RED that was found and perfectly restored by Al and Don Nosse.


Chip Woodall, original driver.





















Doing double duty, Cochran jumped out of the RED into the roadster.









Glenn Way took the seat in his altered.










Marie and Walt Stevens


Henry Walther with Photographer Holly Martin (above) and Nick Arias Jr. (below).



From Blue Max fame, "Waterbed Fred" Miller and Dale "The Snail" Emory.


Hard at work, Dave Jeffers and Kent Fuller.


Larry Dixon and John "Tarzan" Austin


Over the weekend the memory or Steve "Nitro Man" Wallace was palpable.


Making their annual trek from Orange NSW, Australia, The Preens. Chelsea, Jude and Ross.


Photog Paul Hutchins and historian Don Gillespie.


Ex-Funny car guy Bob Barry and Don Long

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