BAZETTA – As spectators stood atop the Wall of Death Arena at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds, performer “Hobo-Bill” rode his 1975 Harley-Davidson higher and higher up the interior walls until onlookers could feel the wheels of the motorcycle pass frighteningly close to them.
In fact, at one point Bill raised his hand and took a dollar bill from a spectator – as he does at every show. The Wall of Death performers are a mainstay of the Rockabilly Ruckus car and music show that filled the Trumbull County Fairgrounds on Saturday and continues today.
The Ruckus is in its seventh year, having moved to the fairgrounds from its original location at the Champion home of Eddie and Nicole Stanton in 2016, said Gary Zsaludko, who helps run the show with the Stantons, who are his sister and brother. -right.
Zsaludko said the Stantons held family gatherings for a few years at their home, which involved “hot rods and music and burnouts,” which are stunts with a motor vehicle that send smoke into the air and make noise.
He said the events were “all about family” but the Stantons expanded their family when they moved the event to the fairgrounds in 2016 and allowed attendees to race their cars on the fairgrounds racetrack and do “burnouts” without getting in trouble with the police.
Seated in the grandstand were Brock Taylor and Eddie Roberts of New Castle, Pennsylvania, both of whom know people who drive their cars on the Ruckus circuit and enjoy watching the action.
“I just went out to see some cool cars and watch them race around the track,” Taylor said.
Roberts also pointed to an asphalt area inside the dirt road where car owners can burn out.
Taylor said the Ruckus taps into a car owner’s desire to get out and run the car on a nice day. And the car doesn’t have to be an expensive race car.
‘“Guys dirty the car. They have fun. It’s a whole different aspect of a car show. he said.
“It’s without judgment” said Roberts. “You don’t have to have a perfect car. You just got together.
Roberts pointed to an asphalt area inside the circuit where drivers can do donuts. One of the drivers also did a donut on the dirt circuit, sending a cloud of dirt flying through the air.
The middle of the fairgrounds was lined with classic cars, like you’d see at other auto shows, but this event only allows for 1979 and older cars to be displayed.
“What’s in there are hot rods, muscle cars,” said Zsaludko. “As long as they have 1979 and up, we all love them.”
At the western end of the fairgrounds are many cars of the category of “rat rods”, which, according to Gordon Snyder of Beach City Iron Works in Beach City, Ohio (south of Canton), became popular first on the West Coast, but is becoming increasingly popular in Ohio.
A rat rod is a car that has been built with parts from a variety of different vehicles and even non-automotive items.
“We’re using anything” to build the car, Snyder said. “There are no rules” he says, except cars have to be safe to drive.
For example, Chad Smith from Dover brought his 1952 Willys pickup to the show on a Chevy S-10 pickup truck chassis with a 1968 Dodge Dart hood for a roof. The pistons were modified to serve as side mirrors. Smith used several saw blades as accents on the hood and roof.
In the bed of the truck is a regular beverage cooler filled with ice and attached tubes that carry and blow cold air from the cooler into the truck cab. Without the device, the trip to Trumbull County would have been more difficult on a hot day, Snyder said.
“It’s all about the imagination” said Smith. “If you can draw it, you can build it.”
Gordon added, “Lots of trial and error.”
Rat Rod Magazine defines a rat rod as a “vintage patchwork hot rod, unpaired or weathered, built and driven home.”
Daisy Linerd of New Philadelphia, she assembled her rat rod, called Jive Turkey, by getting a 1946 Chevy cab and adding a 1930s Ford truck bed.
She redid the interior by replacing the gear lever and making her own chain-link steering wheel. She and her father made the seats.
The bed was red, so she changed it to yellow to match the rest of the vehicle. It purposely looks old, not shiny, she says. She had her car featured in Rat Rod Magazine.