By Jeff Rebitski, Staff Writer

photo by Jeff Rebitski

With tons of steel everywhere you looked at this year’s Rocky Mountain Rebels car show, hosted by the RMR club and several generous benefactors in town, held on the Central Wyoming College Campus you would think it was a weekend in Indianapolis.

The events held on Saturday and Sunday were crowd pleasers as the fans lined the sidewalks around the north parking lot at CWC to watch the people bring their modern race cars and hotrods to run the course. With electronic tuning and bigger, higher horsepower motors, these street demons raced only the clock and their abilities as they repeated the course to get better and better times for record. 

There were cars of every kind, from Ford to Tesla and ironically, the Tesla pickup, absent of an internal combustion engine, was pulling the best times as I saw the vehicle do numerous laps with tires squealing, but nothing else. Silent, yet speedy, while other sounds made by competitors were deafening because they had dropped their pipes for less compression backup. 

The annual event is drawing interest and these are not the typical street racers on a country road after school, these are serious tuners and builders who spend inordinate amounts of money to add computer programs and chip sets to accelerate their cars to the maximum velocity while being able to then drive them to work on Monday morning. 

Lee Rahn, driving an orange 2021 Ford Mustang, stated that his pursuit is for bragging rights and his own satisfaction and although it is an expensive hobby, as fuel prices soar to record levels each day, he enjoys the challenge and the exhilaration of competing against oneself. 

When asked, Lee states,”there are no 4 X 4’s allowed due to stability issues, but after a simple tech inspection, anyone can challenge the course.” Most of the cars were of a late vintage and some were scarred from previous encounters with objects that were less than squishy. 

With a desire to go fast and only a very small area to do it in, negotiating the light poles in the course became intensely important as these owners are extremely proud of their cars, no matter the current condition. WIth times of around 33 seconds, the fastest time up to that point was by a battery operated car. The Tesla ran the course in 31 sec. time, frustrating some of the drivers from this oil enlightened community. But as with everything, if you love it, you will bond as a body of believers in speed and adrenaline, supporting each other and celebrating the accomplishments both mechanically and spiritually through time and space. 

For cars that simply look fast as they are sitting on the cool morning lawn at CWC, we stroll over to the East and begin to admire the handy work of the owners of these majestic, yet wicked looking works of automotive art. 

Many of these meticulously painted and cared for life long loves belonging to the caretakers of chrome and class, are shown for different reasons. There are people who are simply proud of the work they have done, often taking years and sometimes generations to make it what it was always supposed to be. In the case of a particular 1966 mustang, owned in part by Pete Kalb of Cody WY. who along with his son, who is currently working in Louisiana, built this car from the frame up and to ensure that there was adequate power, installed a 283 Stroker motor and  topped it with an auxiliary blower that produces approximately 450 brake horsepower. The car, an all steel version, is painted a type of gunmetal gray that looks black in the sun. With a black vinyl roof to complete the look, it screams out to go fast. Pete states “this is a family built car, each and every member has participated in some way, not unlike my uncles who first helped me, we listen to each other and make it work.” His drive from Cody was worth the venue as people strolled by, but not one passed without stopping to admire the effort. 

Randy and Lori Misser of worland, WY. were there for an entirely different reason with their 1936 Ford, Three window coupe. A rare car in itself, often desired by the hotrod community as a great platform to work from. The strikingly appointed car, in bright tangerine pearl paint is an absolute heart stopper and requires a 2nd and 3rd look to absorb the details of such a striking car. Of course, the engine is enormous and shiny enough to see yourself in, but the details in the body work and paint truly demand respect. As Lori states, “I picked the color,” smirking at her husband, “it’s a joke she says, but I love it now.” They seem to enjoy the inside part of the joke, and seem content in their lawn chairs simply explaining the process of the construction of their beautiful car. It has obviously pulled them closer as a couple after a certain division over cost and time spent. “Now”, says Randy, “we just enjoy the shows and are proud of our car.” 

When you consider the diversity of cars in attendance, Ford, Chevy, Oldsmobile and Chrysler, trucks, cars, hotrods and modern classics, Foreign or domestic. Each says something about the owners and their passion for all things powerful yet pretty. There is also a comradery between the enthusiasts that supasses politics and drama to reveal the hearts of people with similar interests in fuel and fun, passion and pride.