10/07/09 11:09AM Burn-outs, Car show, Cruise Night, Events, hot rods, Muscle Cars, street rods

Show and tell: Get ready for this year’s McAlester Cruise Night
Great cars will be on display Saturday; no burnouts planned

It’s become a tradition for auto enthusiasts, and McAlester’s Cruise Night is ready to roll again this weekend, even though it’s under a new operation. It’s become an all-day event, complete with a car show, cash drawings and even a sound system contest to find out who’s got the best bumping bass in town.

The McAlester Main Street Program and Big Mac Cruzers will host this year’s car show and Cruise Night Saturday in downtown McAlester.

“The individual who did Cruise Night for the last couple of years wasn’t going to do it anymore, and some guys asked some of the guys in the car club if they would do it,” said Harvey Bollinger, a member of the Big Mac Cruzers car club. He’s not sure why the former organizer stepped down, but noted “There’s a lot of work to it.”

The club agreed to help out, and joined forces with the McAlester Main Street program to add some high-octane support for the event. McAlester Main Street merchants are sponsoring car show trophies and three cash drawings for $1,000.

The event begins in the afternoon, with a car show on downtown’s Choctaw Avenue, from Main to Third Street. Also planned are trophies, a parade of the top cars, and three drawings totaling $1,000 for those who still need a reason to shine the ride and cruise into McAlester.

Scheduled that afternoon at the nearby Choctaw Parking Lot (at Main) are a Sound System Contest, a BMX Trick Bike exhibition and a Wear-Out Contest. What’s a wear-out contest?

“You take the engine, and you take the water out of it,” Bollinger explained, describing the motor of an old Cadillac that has been donated and treated to a special paint job just for the contest. “And chances are sold on when, on what time, the engine is going to lock up.”

To try your luck, look for the Wear Out board on Choctaw on Saturday. “As soon as we sell the board out, we will probably burn it out,” said another Big Mac member, Tandy Thomas.

Thomas will be at the car show with his Viper Red ’57 Chevy, along with at least 20 other car owners from the Big Mac Cruzers. The host club members won’t compete in the show, he said, but they’re still looking forward to showing off their cars and looking over those from competitors expected from far and near.

“We put the word out pretty good,” Thomas said.

The sun should make those custom paint jobs shine, with clear skies and moderate temperatures forecast Saturday.

One thing that’s changed this year is a favorite — but controversial — activity, the Burn Out Contest. Organizers couldn’t find an insurer for that particular event, so that won’t be happening. But there’s something new to test a different kind of power. The Sound System Contest is set to be held in the Choctaw Parking Lot (off Main Street). According to Bollinger, that involves professional measurements from inside each vehicle competing.

“A company will be bringing in their team,” Bollinger said, explaining that equipment is set up in a vehicle, the windows are closed and then the volume is turned up. Way up.

Registration for the contest is in the Choctaw Parking Lot. Both the contest and the BMX exhibition are set there between 1 and 3 p.m., according to Thomas.

The fun begins at noon, with the car show scheduled until 4 p.m. (Registration begins at 11 a.m.) At around 4 p.m., trophies will be awarded based on judging by participating merchants, to be followed by drawings at 6 p.m. for $1,000 in cold, hard cash.

Thomas said chances for the cash drawings will be given in the form of tickets by participating merchants in McAlester. (To find out which stores are participating, see Page 3 of today’s paper.) He said merchants will award one ticket to each person who stops by their store, and more to those making purchases.

Three blocks of Choctaw will be closed to traffic during the car show and other events — from Main to Third Street — although cross streets will be open to through traffic, according to Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller.

Cruise Night begins at 6 p.m., when the Car Show winners and other entries will parade Choctaw from Main to the Atwood’s parking lot off of Sixth Street. At 7 p.m., cruising will be opened to all comers — if it’s got wheels, it can cruise — and will extend to a loop from Main and Choctaw, east on Choctaw Avenue to Sixth Street, south to Wyandotte Avenue, then west to Main Street, and back north of Choctaw.

Open cruising on the loop is set from 7 to 10 p.m.

Contact Kandra Wells at kwells@mcalesternews.com.