Talon News - Good Local News


Wings & Wheels 2017


J.R. Sykes

Steve Story, Aztec, 2003 Viper

The afternoon started innocently enough; the aroma of motor oil and burnt rubber mingled with barbeque and kettle corn. Deep throated rumbling reverberates between shrill squeals as tires burnout on asphalt.

Why would a seemingly intelligent, relatively sane, hard-working person invest so much blood, sweat, tears, time and yes, money into four wheels topped by what many times is a hulking rust bucket? What exactly is in it for them? TALON asks.

"Passion" explains Aztec resident Carl Fish. Fish is the proud owner of a sweet midnight blue 1950 Chevy that he drives to work everyday. "There's a feeling you get when you drive it," he says. "It takes you back to another time." Besides, Fish reports, "Folks are real nice to you, they wave and say hello all the time."

Eliciting admiring comments in traffic is all well and good, but surely that can't be all there is.

While studying the honest classical lines of a '45 Willy's it struck like a bug on a windshield: This is art by God! That's the answer! These cars are pure Americana at its best. Behold the voluptuous curves and strong sleek angles...they are works of art of the highest order and the people that create them are artisans. Fearlessly and without reservation these gear disciples breathe new life into what might otherwise be lost.

Along that same vein Wings and Wheels is a non-traditional car show, explains organizer Troy Bible. "In most shows the guy that spends the most money usually wins." Not so at Wings and Wheels. "Committee members choose three cars each, for whatever reason" said Troy. "A trophy may be awarded to an entry who obviously invested a copious amount of time, energy, and heart."

For Colt Howlett and his daughter, Riley, the memories of building their 1972 SS Camaro in 2009 are fresh in their mind while they are at the show and the races. The Camaro was first exhibited in a car show in 2016 and has continued to be shown and raced since. Riley says her father convinced her to help him build the vehicle by promising she would be the first to start it when it got to that point. After building the car from the frame up, when the time came to start it, Riley did not get to follow through with her promise. It's alright because Colt and Riley have the memories of building, and now racing, their project.

J.R. Sykes

Leland Wilson, Bloomfield, 1996 Arctic Cat

Laughing, Riley told TALON how her father has an album of car photos on his phone but not one of her. "I always joke with him about who he loves more," she said. Colt was one of many from the community that were extremely hands on at the event. Also, being an experienced racer, Colt helped the people not as confident or experienced; making sure they put safety first. Riley was gracious enough to sing the National Anthem in the morning before all the races started.

Walking with Kerri Howlett, Colts wife, she knew many of the people and their stories and introduced TALON to them as they came. One man, Harold Gear, was racing to keep his son George's memory alive. George was killed in Iraq while serving. The car Harold brought to the race, a 1967 Barracuda, was his son's. Harold has kept up maintenance on the vehicle and has continued to race - a hobby George enjoyed.

The goal of the supporters and organizers is for the drag-races to become a regular (?weekly?) event in Aztec. This weekend's showing of over 1,400 attendees, 142 racers, 65 Show cars, and 13 aircraft, says that doing the races more often may come about sooner than expected.


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