Our Cacklefest


In Bakersfield, California there is a yearly event called the Hot Rod Reunion. If you have never attended that event, let me say that it is one of, if not the, greatest Drag Race event/show you may ever see. There, you will see some of the best Nostalgia drag cars from around the country. On Saturday night, every year of the event, they fire up all the front engine dragsters in the center of the Speedway. The sound these front engine Dragsters make is called Cackling. They do this every year to honor all the nostalgic racecar drivers. It is one of the most mind-blowing things you will ever witness! It actually brings tears & amazement to the entire crowd that is there!

I got the idea after attending the Hot Rod Reunion to do our own version of their CackleFest, several years ago. For several years now, we also do our own CackleFest to honor all of the nostalgia racecar drivers, but more importantly, we do it to honor all of the people that the Rockabilly Riot has lost over the past eight years. Last year, we had over 100 people that were crying during our CackleFest. I was completely overwhelmed at the response of our participants and spectators.

This year is going to be even harder than in years past. We have lost a bunch of great friends, participants and some of the most die-hard spectators that loved the Rockabilly Riot and all that it stands for, which is family, friends, loyalty, respect and honor. Every year, people come from all over the US to attend our event and they get to see old friends and make new ones. There is a special bond that forms between them. Their undying love of cars brings them together and they end up every year with new extended family members.

This year, we are honoring from years past, David Hanks, who was a little crazy at times, but he loved the Rockabilly Riot and most importantly, all the old cars he owned! One year, he brought around 10 cars to our show! It took him a couple of days to drive them all in. Dave worked day & night and all year on his cars. The love of old cars also bit his son Daniel, who was barely a teenager when he would come to the Riot with his Dad every year. Daniel is now a young adult and is always working on some car every year. We are proud that he still comes every year to the Riot.

We are also honoring from years past, a local Reno resident William “Bill” Schnepp of Schnepp’s Racing. He was an awesome man and left a great legacy to his children, who still race and go to car shows every year in his honor. I loved speaking with him many times thru the years and I especially loved his car!

In addition, we are honoring from two years ago, another great legend, whom everyone loved, is Doug McClain from Oregon. Every year, he and his family have come all the way from Oregon to attend our event and still do so. We miss him very much.

This past year, we lost another great car person, Frank Baker from Sacramento. People loved hanging out with Frank. I always enjoyed speaking with Frank when he came to the Riot or when we ran into each other. Giovanni was his best friend and it has been very hard on him this year. Frank will be sorely missed at the Riot this year.

There have been several others that we have lost in the past few years, but unfortunately, I can only remember the cars they drove and what they looked like. They were friends of mine too, but after meeting thousands of car people, my age, (haha) and having to deal with so many deaths in just a few years, my brain is just blank at the moment. I apologize to their families for forgetting their names as I write this. So, if you have lost a friend or family car person dear to you, please come honor them at our CackleFest.

We were just informed last week that Tom “The Mongoose” Mcewen died at 81 years old. Tom was one of the greatest drag racers of all time. Tom came to our 2nd Riot to debut his movie & sign autographs at our show. The Riot was blessed to have him. I was honored that he chose my show to debut the movie of his life story. We will definitely also honor him at our CackleFest this year.

And, last but certainly not least, we will be honoring Allen Ward, the biker who always greeted everyone at the front gate with the biggest smile, and I think the happiest person to see you drive in with your families and cars. He loved seeing each & every one of you, every year. He was a great friend and brother of mine. He loved cars & bikes with all of his heart. He would talk about the Riot to any stranger that would listen to him about our show. Even though he was so sick last year with throat cancer, he insisted on coming and greeting everyone who drove in. Shortly before his death last year, he had a friend drive him to the Angel’s Camp Riot. All he cared about in the last 2 years of his life was his family, the Riot.

This year, the 8th Annual Rockabilly Riot is specially dedicated to Mr. Allen Ward & Mr. Frank Baker, who both passed this last year. We would like to have everyone at 7:20pm on Saturday night, start their cars and bikes and rev them up as loud as you can go to honor everyone that has passed away in the past eight years.