HUNTING FOR HORSEPOWER: Alligator Performance’s Annual Event Brings Out The Northwest’s Best

Alligator Performance’s Annual Event Brings Out The Northwest’s Best

There are a few certain things when it comes to diesel enthusiasts—we love our trucks and we love to have an excuse to get together, show them and brag about them. Whether you bleed Blue Oval blue; your heart skips a beat at the sound of a passing Duramax; or you eat, sleep and breathe Cummins, there’s no better way to spend a weekend with your buddies than at a diesel event. For the fourth consecutive year, the Alligator Performance crew put together one of the biggest events in the West at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds in beautiful Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

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Year after year, this event continues to grow thanks to the solid effort put forth by the folks at Alligator Performance and the greater Northwest diesel enthusiast community. What started out three years ago as a small dyno-only event at the Alligator shop has expanded into an all-day event that fills the County Fairgrounds with a vendor alley, two portable dynos, massive show ’n’ shine contest and an all-new dirt drag strip. Hunting For Horsepower’s (H4H) Dirt Drag Event is quickly becoming the West’s must-see-event of the season.

“Vendor alley was a hit, keeping spectators busy between dyno runs and providing enthusiasts face time with some of the best diesel performance companies in the business.”

Chad Hall, owner of Alligator Performance, and the rest of his team put in countless hours to bring together parts vendors from all over the country. Additionally, they arranged for two chassis dynos, which promised to keep the competition moving as fast as the rollers. Auto Trends Motorsports of Fort Collins, Colorado, answered the call with their big gooseneck Mustang inertia dyno and Custom Auto of Idaho Falls, Idaho, brought their load cell Superflow.

Lead fabricator at Deviant Race Parts, Chris Rosscup, owns this sporty LB7 Duramax with countless hours and hard work into a full engine and transmission build that ended up rolling more than 1,000 hp on the Auto Trends Motorsports portable chassis dyno.

Is it a showpiece or a workhorse? While you can be the judge of that, this 6.7L Power Stroke is owned by Justin Summer at Auto Trends Motorsports. The big dually spends its life hooked to the big portable dyno, hauling it around to events all over the country.

Fun moved over to the makeshift dirt track as the sun was setting behind the horizon. This year was the first attempt at a bracket race on the short county fairgrounds arena, but was a major success with both competitors and spectators. Is there anything better than 700+ horsepower trucks throwing dirt and debris 200 feet in the air while drifting sideways looking for traction?

The 12V Cummins conversion has become a pretty popular trend over the past few years and every once in a while one will catch your eye that just makes your jaw drop. This old 1-ton crew cab has been meticulously restored to better than original condition with smooth-as-glass black paint, a great stance and Cummins horsepower under the hood. Yes please.

The crew at BD Diesel definitely knows how to market parts… plaster your name on the side of a truck equipped with your products and enter a dirt drag event. Chris Osborne of BD Diesel took this Dodge clear to the final round where he took the big win against Chris Rosscup’s 2002 Duramax.

Dmitiri Millard has made a name for himself running monstrous horsepower numbers out of his Duramax-powered trucks for years now. The 2014 season was no different for Millard with this little single cab taking home top honors for the event with 1,336 hp and more than 2,000 lb-ft of torque.

By 10 a.m. there were nearly 200 trucks lined up for a chance to prove their muscle. Unfortunately, due to a failed speed sensor on the Custom Auto Superflow dyno, the full weight of the competition fell on the Auto Trends crew, who rallied to get trucks on and off the rollers as quickly as possible. With help from the Alligator Performance team, Auto Trends kept the rollers spinning until midnight when the county shut the event down due to local sound ordinances.

Vendor alley was a hit, keeping spectators busy between dyno runs and providing enthusiasts face time with some of the best diesel performance companies in the business. Along with vendor alley, raffle tickets were sold for parts, swag, and even the chance at a ride-along down the dirt track in Merchant Automotive’s Duramax-powered sand rail. As the sun was setting on the horizon, the fun moved over to the rodeo arena now converted to a makeshift dirt drag track. Run as a true heads-up 300-foot bracket race with a short shutdown area, it was a major adrenaline rush. Pushing 500-1,000-hp trucks at wide-open throttle for 300 feet, then standing on the brakes to get slowed back down in time is something to see. We expect this event to really grow in popularity in coming years.

Not a whole lot to say about the burnout contest other than this guy was the obvious winner.

Making the haul clear out from Michigan, Eric Merchant of Merchant Automotive brought their custom Duramax-powered “Sand Rail Buggy” to show off during the day and make a few passes down the dirt drag track. Running a fully built LBZ motor with 100-percent injectors, 10mm CP3 pump, Danville 72mm VGT turbo and backed with a Power Glide transmission, it should be in the 700-hp range, which is more than enough to set you back in the seat.

Dustin Van Wingerden of SDP Twins brought his latest build to compete with the big boys on the rollers. With a big S475/GT55 compound turbo kit, 250 percent injectors, and dual Exergy CP3s, the truck put down nearly 1,100 hp in what he claims to be his “mild daily driver tune.”

What would dirt drags be without a little skid/steer side-by-side action? With the front buckets off it was more of a wheelie fest than a drag race, but it definitely got the crowd’s attention and was one of the best parts of the show.

Even with a dyno going down, putting the event in a pinch, competitors left with the numbers to back up their bragging rights. The spectators also left with smiling faces, having attended one of the best and last events of the season. With talk of a larger dirt drag event and an onsite sled pull, Chad Hall tells us to expect even bigger things from this year’s Hunting For Horsepower 5. DW