Sometimes you just have to find something to do on a Saturday night. And sometimes there isn’t much to do, even in the big city. Or in Charlotte. So we had to look a little deeper. We didn’t really want to go out to eat, or go to a movie, or whatever. Then we figured we’d look to the country. Or at least as country as it gets around these parts. We’d go out to Big Lick. Yes, there really is a place called Big Lick. Check it out for yourself at that link.
Anyway, every month or so during the middle months of the year, they hold ATV Drag Races at the Big Lick Festival Park. Yes, there is also a place called Big Lick Festival Park. It’s actually a big field out behind Hinson’s Auction. If you’re going from Charlotte, take Albemarle Road and keep on going. Once you hit Highway 205 (which is way out there), turn right. It’s at a little town called Red Cross. Just a couple minutes on your right, you’ll see a large brick building. A small gravel road takes you behind the building and into the park. It’s not labeled very well, so keep your eyes open.
Once we got there, we’re greeted at the gate by people collecting money. This was a bit odd, as they advertise that the parking is free. As it turns out, the parking is free. They just collect the admission at the gate. Something like a drive-in theater (for those of you old enough to remember those). Then you’re guided to a parking place, you walk through several trailers offering up food (mostly burgers and hot dogs) and find your way to a spot on the grandstands. Then plop yourself down for a few hours of the finest ATV drag-racing to be found, well, just about anywhere. I’ve certainly never seen it. Maybe it happens all over the place, but I really don’t know.
The food is typical carnival fare, though perhaps not the best selection. You’ll find cotton candy and funnel cakes alongside burgers, dogs, fries, and all sorts of sodas. Nothing too exotic like turkey legs – but if this catches on, perhaps you will one day. They even have a t-shirt shop that makes shirts on-site with their own iron-on press. If you’re looking for the finest in confederate flag wear, you’ll find it there. I was amazed at some of the shirts that we saw. I’m not even sure that some of the shirts should be legal to wear, and I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to that sort of thing.
As to the races themselves, they were entertaining. The announcer would call up the next class, with an age group (and rather than an actual age, like 18 and over, it would be 100-200, which I didn’t get, but that’s okay). Then a few riders would get their vehicles to the staging area and a bunch of people would ride for several minutes, and then they would just race each other, and the different classes would even mix it up. I don’t think that there was any rhyme or reason to it. At first the larger ATVs went against each other and the smaller ones did the same, but then the smaller ones went against the larger ones and vice versa. I think they just wanted to race.
While most racing formats follow a heat pattern, with winners advancing, I could swear that even people in the beginning of the race kept running all night, which continued this theory. Eventually we left when the boards became too uncomfortable, but they were still going strong. That’s when they announced the “utility” class, which appeared to be hunter and camo ATVs. Shame, really, as those would probably have been the most fun to watch. We just couldn’t take any more.
I put together a short clip of a few races, just so you can get a feel for it. Make sure you check out the guy with the pink piping and wheelie bar. I’m not sure how he fared with the rednecks in confederate flag shirts. I just don’t get it. Maybe you can help explain things to me.