Local volunteers Wizard

Rat Rod Rockabilly event a hit in Ucluelet

“Guaranteed next year will be bigger and better,” Dustin Riley said.

NORA O’MALLEY

nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Rat rods, classic muscle cars, and vintage Chevy trucks cruised into town on June 11, to take part in the first annual Rat Rod Rockabilly BBQ, which featured a burnout contest and show ‘n’ shine.

Out of the eight vehicles to leave skid marks on the Peninsula Motor Inn tarmac, only one generated enough smoke to cover the motel sign, and ultimately claim the title of 2016 Rockabilly Ball Burnout Champ.

“When I heard about the burnout contest, I rigged up sprayers that spray bleach on the tires and I brought another set of tires because I knew I was gonna win,” said burnout champion Earl Forseth from Port Alberni.

Ted Van Adrichem, also from Port Alberni, took home the trophy for Badass Ride.

“It took six months to make it and I made it with anything I could find,” said Van Adrichem. “I’m glad you got something like this going on in the community. I’d come back here in a heartbeat.”

Tight Lines Fishing Charters and Salty Dogs Fishing Charters donated a fishing trip to each of the winners. The Rockabilly BBQ was dreamt up by Dustin Riley, the owner and operator of Ucluelet’s Tattooed Beaver southern barbeque restaurant.

The unique local eatery is known for its rockabilly themed decor and pushing the limitations of their menu by offering options like crocodile and frog legs.

“I definitely had a few beers before I came up with this idea. Last year, I wanted to do it, but timing was not right. With the help of Simon Fraser and Jake Van Dort, all the ducks got sat in a row,” Riley said.

“I couldn’t have done it without the Army and Navy and the volunteers. It’s all because of them. And the contestants of course.”

Nine ladies from across Vancouver Island dressed up in rockabilly style attire to participate in the pin-up pageant portion of the event.

“Pin-ups go hand-in-hand with rat rods, rockabilly and awesomeness,” Riley said. “They also released a pin-up calendar here at the Army and Navy, so it fit the motif.”

Participants were judged on style, confidence, and charisma. Contestant number nine, Erin Walsh from Qualicum Beach, earned top points from the judges and nabbed the pageant trophy and grand prize, which included a full-day of pampering at Nurture Day Spa and a photo spread in Delicious Dolls Magazine.

“It was ‘rockarific,’” said Walsh, who works as a financial advisor, and entered the contest on a whim.

Riley said he was impressed with the turnout and overall community support for the event.

“As soon as the day started, you could feel the energy. You could feel the buzz. You could hear people talking about it around town,” he said.

The event raised funds for the Food Bank on the Edge and, while it might have been the first burnout contest to smoke up the West Coast, it definitely won’t be the last.

“Guaranteed next year will be bigger and better,” Riley said.