It was a combination of ideal conditions: An early morning rain settled the dust, a strong breeze dried up the runway and skies began to clear by 11 a.m. and, by noon on Sunday, July 26, all systems were go for Stettler Car Club’s first airport “side-by-side shoot out”.
Bleachers were packed with spectators and shining cars were roaring to the full force of their engines with the adrenalin rush shared by all.
Close to a hundred competitors took part in the 1/8 mile race, trying to clock the best time in their category.
In the end Rob Zukowski won in the “Real Street Class”, Tim Kennedy in “True Street Class” and Kevin Massignan in Super Street Class.
“We had somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,100 to 1,200 spectators,” said Norm Hamilton of the Stettler Car Club.
“It was excellent,” he said in reference to the reaction from the community towards the first shoot-out event being organized at the airport.
“We had great response from the volunteer groups. Heartland Youth Centre volunteered with their kids, Victims Services supplied all the people to run the gates and fire department helped with all of the security,” Hamilton said.
“It was great response from the community. We have no complaints whatsoever.”
He said although the relocation of the event from Main Street to the airport did not change much in terms of attracting spectators, it was a great positive change in terms of safety and security.
“Absolutely, that is the only place to put it (the shoot-out),” Hamilton said.
“Much easier for setup and much safer.”
The annual shoot-out event has been very popular with the town residents for many years.
But last year a controversy over whether Main Street was the right spot for a speed race forced the cancellation of the event, disappointing many fans.
After extensive consultations with both the town and the county of Settler, the car club decided to stage the race at the airport, which is owned jointly by the town and the county.
Hamilton said the airport would now remain the permanent venue for the shoot-out for the coming years.