Ponoka Regional Airport turned into dragstrip for the weekend

Ponoka Drag Races
Craig Pateman of Ponoka starts his Chevy S10 heading down the track at the Ponoka 1/8 Mile Drag Race on Saturday, Aug. 1. Photo by David Thielen

By David Thielen

94 cars varying from street legal, to the world’s fastest muscle car and 2000 horse power exhibition cars signed up for the third annual Ponoka 1/8 mile Drag Races.

Gord Wright, one of the organizers for this year’s event, said “that without all of the volunteers that stepped up to help, this year’s race would have been dead in the water.”

“We simply could not have put the race on without their help.”

He described the drag races as a “heck of a deal for a family, because its very cheap entertainment.”

Craig Pateman, of Ponoka, who raced his street legal Chevy S10 this weekend, said “it’s something that gets in your blood.”

Pateman took four years, and three separate bodies to build his S10 from the frame up. “The original was in pretty bad shape when I started.” The motor is a Chevy small block 383. “I have no idea how much I’ve put into building this truck, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t afford to build a second one.”

It’s street legal, but Pateman says he doesn’t drive it on the street much because law enforcement tends to raise an eyebrow. “it’s just too noticeable.”

“What I like most about racing is the comradery and fellowship. Yeah, we smack talk each other, but it’s all in good fun.”

Pateman normally competes in the races in Stettler, Castrol (near Nisku), Rimbey, and Ponoka, but said “it’s just a hobby. If I were to do it every day, it would probably lose its attractiveness. “