American Legion Post 320 wants to hold a hot rod and motorcycle burnout contest at the Legion property, 320 W. Meramec St., this Saturday, Oct. 12, according to Duke Higgins, Post commander.
In a classic comparison of torque, hot rod and motorcycle, riders will have a chance to rev their engines to raise funds for members of the military returning from combat zones.
Speaking at the Oct. 1 board of aldermen meeting, Higgins requested a special event permit to conduct the event.
Higgins said a burnout is a contest where hot rods and motorcycles rev their engines and cause their tires to smoke. Contestants have one minute to draw the most smoke, make a lot of noise and get the crowd excited, he said.
Participants will pay $10 to enter a vehicle. The competition will begin at noon and continue to 3 or 4 p.m. The Legion will offer the usual food for sale as part of the fund-raiser.
“Any car can enter, but usually it’s the high-performance cars or modified cars that get into this,” said Donnie Bailey, who is organizing the event.
Hot rods will be anchored to a nearby stump so they won’t be able to go very far, but for 60 seconds will raise as much smoke and noise as possible.
“A minute is a long time, truthfully,” Bailey said. “Some of the engines won’t last a full minute.”
Motorcycles also will be affixed to the stump to keep them from moving beyond the competition line.
The event is not so much a competition as it is a chance for hot rod and motorcycle riders to rev their engines, Bailey said.
Alderman Mike Pigg said he worries that the noise might create a problem for neighbors, but Higgins compared it to the noise made by a passing train.
“I don’t think it would be louder than a train whistle,” Higgins said.
When it comes to events created for the pleasure of veterans who had been wounded in combat, or those recently returning, a burnout is ideal, he added.
“A lot of wounded veterans, bike enthusiasts and hot rod enthusiasts like to rev their engines up.” Higgins said. “This will be a fun event as well as raising some funds to provide for them.”
Bailey said Post 320 raises funds all year to help area veterans and military families with utility bills or some other financial need.
“And we give out a lot of turkeys for Thanksgiving,” Bailey said. “That’s what we’re about here, creating a place for veterans. The burnout is just an idea to help veterans.”
Mayor Herb Adams said since the event was being held in the middle of the day he did not foresee that the noise would affect the neighbors.
“The noise will be no different than when the Legion has parties or rents out the pavilion for anything from weddings to hoedowns,” he said.
Adams urged aldermen to approve the event, saying if problems did arise, they could say no next year.
“Pacific needs new events,” he said. “The participation in the upcoming rodeo shows a hunger for new events. Let’s give it a try.”
Adams urged aldermen to not assume there would be problems and put restrictions on the event, but to give organizers as much freehand as possible.
“Our community has different people with different interests,” he said. “Because it’s different doesn’t mean there will be problems. Let’s try it.
“The first time might work for community,” he added. “Even if problems do come up, don’t kill it. Let’s fix it.”
Alderman Walter Arnette agreed, saying if anyone needs a chance the veterans do.
Aldermen approved the event as requested.