The Trade Show

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Alexandra Purcell

Longmont Colorado (Jan. 26, 2019) — It’s a rare occasion to find motorsports gearheads, drivers and fanatics conversing easily without having to pause for the scream of engines on track. At the annual Oval Track & High-Performance Trade/Swap Meet, the relative quiet is a welcome change of pace for Colorado’s racing community.

Held at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, this trade show boasts 32 years in business. Presented by Witthar Racing and the brainchild of racing veteran John Witthar himself, the event is open to vendors from all over the country.

Some booths sell parts for race cars, from tachometers and steering wheels to bumpers and shocks. Others display firesuits and helmets for the hardcore racers, and racing memorabilia for the casual fan. Several local tracks make a point to represent themselves every year.

“I started it on a whim,” Witthar said. “People come from everywhere to bring stuff and look at stuff. There’s a lot of good things here. It’s our ‘party day’ – you know, a way to kick off the season.”

Witthar estimated a couple thousand people – racers and fans alike – make the trek to Longmont to check out the trade show every year.

Todd Jensen, known affectionately as the “Tool Man,” hauls in his impressive spread of pneumatic tools every year. Jensen’s been at it for six years and wants to do more.

Jensen said he travels the country to sell his tools and that he likes Colorado’s trade show in particular. “Though it’s smaller, it’s run really well,” he said.

Dan Alamaa, owner of A1 Custom Signs, brought out the big guns this year. Having recently expanded from sign creation into embroidery on hats and other merchandise, he thought the public would like to see his embroidering machine.

Alamaa said he’s been making signs since 1997. He only recently ventured into embroidery, but the service has thus far been a hit among the racing crowd. He showed off some hats emblazoned with stylized race car numbers and logos and even put his machine to work for the curious onlooker.

No racing trade show would be complete without a race car, and Moon Racing brought in a beautiful machine for display. According to Larry Lebon, the hulking black dirt car is “not like any other” due to the intense care put into its fabrication.

“It’s only seen seven races,” Lebon said – two in which it claimed victory. Lebon said he’s looking forward to putting the car through more.

“You wouldn’t believe it’s a dirt car,” he said, rag in hand. “It’s cleaner than most of those asphalt cars.”

The local racetracks take advantage of the trade show as an opportunity to promote tentative seasonal schedules and sign prospective racers up for competition. This year, there was plenty to spread the word about.

Payton Bellm of Blood Sweat and Tears Promotions said she’s thrilled to see new series coming to dirt tracks like Phillips County Raceway and I-76 Raceway. They’re pleased to welcome the wingless sprint cars, and Bellm said she’s really excited to see what kind of competition they bring. ​

Wyoming’s Intermountain Speedway – formerly known as Big Country Speedway – proudly flew the banner with the track’s updated name above their booth. Perry and Kathy Jules have taken the reins and both said they’re very optimistic about the upcoming season.

As far as the name change, Kathy said it’s a throwback to the track’s roots. “It’s all about a fresh start,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to it.”

Seems like 2019’s going to be a great year for Coloradan racing.

 

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