By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Drag racing returns to southern Alberta this Saturday at the Lethbridge Airport, thanks to the Le Barons Car Club, which was formed in 1961. In 1960, according to local legend and the club’s official website, a small group of people visited Medicine Hat to watch drag races put on by a local car club.
On their way back to Lethbridge, the legend goes, the small group of car enthusiasts decided to form their own car club.
Back in the day, the car club organized drag races at the abandoned WWII Pierce Air Strip near Fort Macleod between 1962-1963. In 1964, the Le Barons Car Club hosted its very first car show too. In 1964, the club sponsored a drag race at the Claresholm air strip. Drag races were held over the years with a lull in events at times at local airports.
Tal Meidinger, from the Le Barons Car Club, said the drag racing event will feature close to 100 racers and the group is anticipating 2,000-3,000 spectators and will also feature a beer gardens with live music.
“In 1958, the car club in Medicine Hat approached the Alberta government to shut down the TransCanada Highway and divert traffic, so they could run a drag race,” Meidinger explained, about the history of drag racing in southern Alberta. Three southern Albertans went to Edmonton in order to get approval to run the drag races on the highway and one of the Albertans was Meidinger’s dad. Tal has been a member of the car club since around 1994.
This year’s drag race kicks off at 10 a.m. with gates open at 9 a.m. The racing action will run until 5 p.m. There is a rain date of June 26. The race will be 1/8-mile side-by-side. Bring a lawn chair, as bleacher seating will be limited. There will be food available on location. Cash only at the gate. General admission is $10 per person, with children under 12 free.
Volunteers are also needed for set up on the Thursday and Friday prior to the event, on race day and for take down after the race and on the Sunday.
If you are interested in volunteering please call 403-892-5157 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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