8/14/2014 10:39:00 AM Last year's champ back at it
in his rural Stacy workshop
The 2013 champion of the national Rat Rod Build-off and Cross Country Tour, Chris Walker, of Stacy, is preparing to defend his title.
His custom automotive shop ITW (or In the Weeds), is again serving as headquarters for assembling his team’s original rat rod; which will compete in the second annual build and tour. ITW will be among those touring rods that will leave from St. Louis, Missouri next month, and finish in Lebanon, Tennessee.
The Rat Rod Tour and Build-off all gets started with the 30 day vehicle construction window-- which officially opened yesterday-- August 13.
There are 24 competitors plus Walker, who must complete construction of their vehicle from the ground-up by Sept. 30. to qualify for the 2014 build-off honors. They can use only $3,000 for their project.
The whole idea of “rat rodding” is to craft the coolest vehicle using recycled everything and no high end parts or accessories. It is meant to be the antithesis of the ultra expensive collector car culture.
“This is a true blue collar build-off,” said the sponsoring magazine editor Steve Thaemert. “Just real working class people doing something awesome.” Rat Rod magazine and Ride Hard magazine are the promoters and sponsors.
To be a winner-- a vehicle must get high marks for creativity and for looking ratty, and they must function well enough to successfully complete the road tour portion of the competition. County Press readers met Walker last year, who ended up winning the whole enchilada with his custom rat rod resembling an evil station wagon.
Builds over the next four weeks will be shared realtime on Facebook and you can also see updates at www.ratrodmagazine.com. The rules require contestants to videotape or photograph stages of the assembly.
Local event If you’d like to learn more about the rat rod culture and see rat rods up close there’s this weekend’s “Rat Rod Resurrection,” Saturday, August 16.
This rat rod car show takes place on the outskirts of North Branch, at 42300 Flink Avenue, just south of where it turns into #64. The vehicles range in style from rat rod to “bombs” “classics” and “survivor” styles.
They will be out for public view between 10 and 3. Awards are scheduled to be presented at 1 p.m. It’s free.