The crew at Riffraff Diesel Performance is based out of Eagle Point, Oregon, so it might seem strange that their annual diesel event is held in Newport, Tennessee. They chose to travel more than 2,500 miles because they love the area and it also allows them to have fun with a large number of their customers who are not in the Pacific Northwest.
2014 marked the sixth annual for this Ford-centric event. It was held at three different family-friendly locations in the Newport area. The plan was for drag racing at the English Mountain Dragway in nearby Sevierville, Tennessee, Friday afternoon and the traditional potluck dinner at the KOA campgrounds in Newport that afternoon. Saturday’s activities would then be centered at the Cocke County A&I Fairgrounds down the road from the KOA. Day two would include sled pulling dyno runs, and a show ’n’ shine competition.
Mother Nature had different plans. She provided rain through much of Friday into Saturday morning. Rather than seek shelter the organizers and attendees pushed on and attempted to hold to the schedule. During one of the breaks in the rain on Friday, they were able to get the drag strip dry enough to allow several passes down the 1/8-mile English Mountain Dragway. The fun and excitement was in full swing.
After the fun at the track the group headed back to the KOA campgrounds to seek shelter from the rain and enjoy the large potluck gathering. Fortunately, the main pavilion is covered. The chance to interact in a relaxed environment with friends is as much fun as the track action. The Riffraff family made a good time great, with a huge variety of delicious food from around the country.
Saturday saw a change in plans. Despite covering the pulling track at the Cocke County Fairgrounds, the overnight rain still seeped in. Saturday morning the track crew arrived to find a track that was only suitable for mud bogging. At first glance, sled pulling was not an option. Undeterred, the volunteer track crew went to work removing the top few inches of mud to get down to a surface dry enough to pull on.
The weather also put a damper on the dyno runs. A series of weather related difficulties combined to cause the cancelation of all dyno sessions. The chance for owners to run their trucks, get their power number and gain bragging rights would have to wait until another time.
SHOW ‘N’ SHINE
All was not lost, while the track crew was transforming the mud pit into a pulling track, the crowd made the best of things. The spectators had time to enjoy the fresh BBQ and other treats from the concession stands. Bench racing was in full bloom and everyone enjoyed hanging out fellow Ford diesel enthusiasts. The downtime allowed the Show ’N’ Shine entrants to clean and polish their trucks after the muddy drive to the event. After the trucks were ready, the judges began their scrutiny of the rigs and spoke with each owner about his or her truck. They then selected winners in each of four categories.
Old Body Style (OBS) trucks were popular among the Show ’N’ Shine entries. The lone non-OBS winner was Eric Schlitzer who won the award for Best Modified with his lifted Ford Excursion. The Best OBS Overall award went to Derrick Farley for his bright white F-250. Kevin Martin won the Best Paint award with his amazing F-350 that he painted himself. It featured deep black paint with maroon flames and carbon fiber-looking accents. Christian Carrier cleaned up with his immaculate red and white, two-tone OBS F-250 taking the award for the best Work Stock truck as well as the People’s Choice award. While the turnout was lower than hoped for, likely due to the inclement weather, we’d call the first RRE Show ’N’ Shine a success and hope to see more trucks entered at the 2015 event.
By late afternoon the grandstands were filling up and the track was in okay shape, so the organizers got the sled pull underway just after 5 p.m. In a very classy move, Clay Note (Riffraff owner) decided that based on the poor track conditions and difficulties with the weather that they would allow anyone who wanted to hook the chance to pull for free, as many times as they wanted. Since many of the participants had no sled-pulling experience this opportunity allowed them to get their feet wet and try sled pulling, without the stress of hooking at a major competition.
Everyone seemed to enjoy their hooks. The one exception was maybe the young owner of the blue 6.4L Ford that stayed in the throttle after the truck started hopping on the track and his transfer case was grenaded. With the casual pulling environment, no official distances were recorded and everyone simply pulled for fun; even the non-Ford guys were welcomed with open arms.
Ford diesel enthusiasts should mark their calendars and make plans to attend RRE 2015 which is scheduled to be on July 17-18. It is planned to once again be held in Newport, Tennessee. The Riffraff crew and their volunteers have done a great job with their annual East Coast event. It has grown in size, year after year, but never lost the family friendly feel that made this event so much fun. If you’re interested in attending in 2015 point your browser to riffraffdiesel.com or give them a call, just be sure to tell them that your friends at Diesel World sent you. DW
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Cocke County A&I Fair
English Mountain Dragway
Riffraff Diesel Performance