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Outlaw Winter Nationals Fuels Economy
By Bill Bixley Cycle News Writer

Riders pouring in from all over for OK Corral Indoor Races

Hear that earth-rattling roar?

That's the sound of an estimated $3,000,000 twisting the throttle on the Shawnee area economy, thanks to the Outlaw Winter Nationals Indoor Race Series. The races thunder into the small community of Harrah, Oklahoma this Saturday January 20, 2006 for Round #4 of the 10 race series.

The famous Indoor racing championship at the OK Corral this winter is generating noise, speed and cash, officials say.

"It equates to a lot of people coming in from out of town," said John Williams, director of AMP’s revenue committee. "That means they're staying in motel rooms, eating out and purchasing fuel for their large transports."  Take competitor Cory Watson, for example. The Dallas, TX resident arrived in Shawnee with his son who also races and a friend Thursday. They are staying through Sunday morning.

"I'm probably spending $250" Watson said, listing on his fingers the cost of a motel room, pit passes, food, fuel and extras.

Multiply $250 by about 1,200 -- the approximate number of out-of-town racers team members and fans for the 10 race points series -- and you're already up to $3 million. Of course, some people spend less than Watson. Others spend much more.

In terms of traveling fans, Williams ranks the Outlaw Winter Nationals Championship alongside a local rodeo, basketball and football game.

"It's a top-five event as far as economic impact," he said. "You can just walk around the parking lot and see license plates from Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas." Indeed, from Texas to Kansas, fans and racers come from all over.

"It's the best show on dirt indoors in this area" said Joe Couch, who bought his tickets earlier this month. "And it's gotten bigger every year." Indoor Motorcycle Racing began at the OK Corral in 1973. Shawnee, Oklahoma native the late Randy Cleek won the first two Pro Motorcycle races held at the OK Corral, which was called Johnson’s Arena in those days. Some people refer to it still as Johnson’s Arena or the Mcloud Arena. The Indoor arena is located at 20450 SE 29th Street, it is ¼ mile West of Harrah - Newalla Road on the south side of the street.

Tickets are on sale the day of the race, which begins Saturday January 20.

"It's a gathering of the clans and the fans," Williams said of the participants and spectators. "These are hard-core racers and race fans."

Now in its 5th year, the Outlaw Winter Nationals is a series of races around a tight indoor dirt oval inside the OK Corral Indoor Arena. Racers drive dirt bikes, hot rod mowers, dirt-karts and four wheeler Quads vehicles that are audible from blocks away.

Close-proximity bleachers give rows of fans the intimate experience of flying mud, blurring speed and deafening noise. Ear-plugs are sold at the concession stand for a quarter a pair. Many times it becomes a handle bar to handle bar slug fest.

Spectators like it because they can buy a pit pass and get down in the oil and grime with the race crews. Racers like it because they feel a connection with the fans.

"The fans are one of the biggest reasons I come back," said Bret Sowders, an AMA Grand National Champion racer who won the Outlaw Winter Nationals Open Pro Motorcycle title 2006. This is his fifth time back. Timing has a lot to do with the Outlaw Winter Nationals high attendance. Not much else is happening in the racing world in January. Williams said that if organizers tried holding the Outlaw Winter Nationals in July, a lot of the fans would be watching NASCAR.

And Outlaw Winter Nationals racers, some of whom participate in AMA GNC events, would be busy with those events. But the first of the year represents a new season and a fresh patch of mud. "Everybody's hungry to get to the racetrack," Sowders said.

Mustang, Oklahoma’s Austin Medrano leads the points in two divisions. Medrano leads the 125/250 class and has a perfect score in the 85 Dirt Bike class by winning every round of the series this season. Medrano who won last years Five State Championship, the Curley Sutton Memorial Race, and last seasons AMP Outlaw Winter Nationals series will be defending his title Saturday in Harrah. Tristian Keith from Newalla is a local area favorite. He competes in both the Dirt Bike and Quad divisions in four separate classes.

With a cold snap and possibly snow expected this weekend, Outlaw Winter Nationals organizers say nothing will stop the action inside the shelter of the OK Corral. Organizers remind those attending to dress warm, there is a wood burning furnace by the concession stand and portable heaters in the pit area. Concessions include plenty of Hot Chocolate and Hot Coffee, plus racetrack favorites, hot cheeseburgers, hot nachos and hot dogs.

"That's another big plus for the fans," Williams said. "We're fortunate to have a facility like this so close to a large size city."

Racing action takes place Saturday January 20, 2007. Four divisions of vehicles will be racing on the dirt oval track indoors for cash and awards. Those include HOT ROD MOWERS; ATV 4-Wheelers; Dirt Karts; Pro and Amateur Motorcycles. One of the largest classes is the new Xtreme Lites. Past American Motorcyclists Association AMA 125 Motocross Champion Guy Cooper, Stillwater, Oklahoma won the race held last year at the OK Corral. Cooper beat out 30 other contenders for the win.

Area sponsors of the event include: O’Reilly Auto Parts, A&A Yamaha, Baker Boys Yamaha, Frank's Custom Trailers, Advance Auto, Daley's Speed Shop, Universal Mobile Homes, Del City Pick Up Parts, 3-R Fabrication, and Mark's Machine Shop.

All qualifying and Features in 25 classes of competition begin Saturday with hot laps starting at 5:30, the heat races kick start at 7:30pm Saturday night. All nights of racing will be recorded for later playback on the web site. Information regarding entries and official results is available online at www.geocities.com/oreillydirttrack

By phone: 918-902-5786

Outlaw Winter Nationals Indoor Dirt Track Races
Indoor Race Schedule for OK Corral: Jan 20, Feb 3, March 31, April 7, April 21
Gates open at 4pm
Hot Laps start at 5:30pm
Opening Ceremonies at 7:30pm.
Tickets at the Gate

Results from January 6 races at the OK Corral
Results AMP Outlaw Winter Nationals
OK Corral Indoor Arena
Harrah, Oklahoma

PW-B Beginner Dirt Bike
1. Cruz Castillo #4 (Hon) 2. Sebastian Ellingsworth #64

PW-B Dirt Bike
1. Tyler Osborne #71 (Hon) 2. Devon Whitmire #10 (KTM)

PW- A Dirt Bike
1. Tyler Osborne #71 (Hon) 2. Devon Whitmire #10 (KTM) 3. Tristian Keith #15

65-A Dirt Bike Dec 23
1. Nathan Varano 2. Hunter Watson 3. Payton Simpson 4. Tristian Keith
65-A Dirt Bike Jan 6
1. Tristian Keith 2. Tyler Osborn

85-A Dirt Bike
1. Austin Medrano 2. Chris Maddux 3. Dylan Simpson 4. Austin Cluver 5. Payton Simpson 6. Joel Allen 7. Nick Toon

125/250 Dirt Track Motorcycle
1. Justin Elswick 2. Austin Medrano 3. Dylan Simpson 4. Payton Simpson 5. Anthony Varano

Open-A Dirt Track Motorcycle
1. Justin Elswick 2. James Eslinger 3. Jason Walker 4. Charles Harter 5. Jerry Buie

Open Twin Vintage Motorcycle
1. Frank Bardaro 2. Craig Watson 3. Bill Watson 4. James Eslinger

Pro 600 Vintage
1. Kevin Ellingsworth 2. Fred Mears 3. Scott Koonce 4. Roy Hinkle

Xtreme 10” Pit Bikes
1. Cordy Jones 2. Bret Sowders 3. Chad Kerrigan 4. Rick Lamb 5. Jack Hambrick 6. Leonard Ramsey 7. James Zeders 8. Jared Pattison 9. Jeff Butterbaugh 10. Brock Holloway

Xtreme 12” Pit Bikes
1. Chance Osborne 2. Jared Enright 3. Bret Sowders 4. Jared Joseph 5. Kyle Skaggs

Open Pro Singles
1. Bret Sowders 2. Bryan Collins 3. Chance Osborne 4. Scott Koonce 5. Justin Whitney 6. Mike Toon

PW QUAD-BB FOUR WHEELERS
1. Tony Opichka 2. Grant Welsh

PW QUAD-B
1. Tristian Keith 2. Tanner Rutledge 3. Kyle Roberts 4. Frankie Bardaro 5. Devon Whitmier

PW QUAD-A
1. Cody Yelton 2. Tristian Keith 3. Zane Stevens

85 QUAD-B
1. Joe Cook 2. Kyle Roberts 3. Sara Reeves 4. Logan Yelton

85 Mod Quad-A
1. Destin Sanders 2. Tristian Keith 3. Joe Cook 4. Cody Yelton

300 Blaster
1. Nathen Wells 2. Stephanie Dotson

250-A Quad
1. Brandon Cook 2. Derek Martin 3. James Friend 4. Donnie Foster

Open-A Quad
1. Dylan Toombs 2. Brandon Cross 3. Dallas Tully 4. Dan Malone 5. Joey Bernitsky 6. Chris Yelton

250 Pro Quad
1. Aaron Symonds 2. Gary Rhodes 3. Brian Davis 4. Shan Break 5. Steve Dotson 6. Cody Carden 7. Brandon Cross 8. Trevor Portier

Open Pro Quad
1. Charley Webb 2. Brad Adkinsson 3. Ryan Early 4. Bret Hodges 5. Matt Damron 6. Trevor Portier

Dirt Karts
Beginners 5 to 7 year olds
1. Leighton Clift 2. Rebekah Roberts 3. Merideth Overstreet
Jr 1 8-11 Year Olds
1. Bailee Clift 2. Jared Lawson 3. Grady Chandler 4. Colby Chapman
Jr 2 12-14 Year Olds
1. Kindra Overstreet 2. Norris Morena

Hot Rod Lawn Mowers
1. Danny Portwood 2. Randy Marsee 3. Russell Swartz 4. Mark Hall Donny 5. VanHorten 6. Mickey Mantle 7. Joe Pease Jr 8. Joe Pease Sr.

Races are still on for Saturday. Schools are closed, movie theaters are packed.


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