If you live in California, Texas or Florida, it might be difficult to think of the sport of lowriding as still in its infancy. Popular throughout the United States and in a dozen countries around the world, the lowrider culture is enjoyed by millions. There are still some areas, however, where a single, neatly customized ’63 Chevy going through a few of its moves can draw a crowd of amazed spectators, intrigued by what they see.
In the northeast United States and adjoining areas of Canada, lowriding is still comparatively new, but there’s a group trying to change all that. The five members of the Niagara Chapter of Rollerz Only C.C., located on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border near Niagara Falls, are doing their best to further the sport and introduce their communities to the joys of lowriding.
Last year, we brought you coverage of their annual event, Scrape by the Lake, and this year, the event was bigger and better than before. Held in Charles Daley Park in St. Catherines with majestic Lake Ontario in the background, the Sunday show drew more than 500 registered vehicles, dozens of car clubs from both sides of the border, and thousands of spectators.
Although billed as Canada’s “premier lowriding event,” the show has drawn a heavy concentration of trucks and imports in the past, simply because everyone knew that it would be a good time. This year’s mix was different, with a huge collection of quality lowriders. Apparently, the word is finally getting out to the lowrider community that this is their show. Even network television got involved.
In addition to magazine coverage by U.S. and Canadian publications, the syndicated Canadian TV show War of Wheels photographed the buildup of a pair of lowriders created in only three days. The Rollerz Only team of Pete Reibel, Jeremy Egerland, Kevin Aube and Carlos took their “Green for the Money, Gold for the Honeys” Cadillac and transformed it into a convertible, added juice and a custom interior, then hopped it for extra points in the competition. Unfortunately, the TV show’s welder did not work, preventing proper reinforcing of the chassis, but the very flexible Caddy still proved strong enough to win the Hop competition with 24 inches. Toronto True Playaz built the second cool custom Cadillac and both cars will be featured on an upcoming TV show.
After checking out the huge collection of custom vehicles, spectators began to move to the hillside for choice seats at the hydraulics competition. If a single hoppin’ ’63 can draw a crowd, imagine the reaction when a group shows up! The Single-Pump Hop saw a dozen switchmen entertaining the enthusiastic crowd with the “Infamous 187” winning the event. Arriving with his scorchin’ hot support crew, Geoff Thorne sent his black ’87 Olds Cutlass Supreme to 32 inches, taking the lead and the $400 prize.
Close on his heels, the beautiful purple ’77 Cadillac of Ben Crawley from Whitby, Ontario, was last year’s Best of Show Lowrider and a solid player in the contest. Crawley sent his Solo Customs-equipped Coupe Deville to 28 inches, throwing in a little smoke and fire at the end; a crowd-pleasing way to finish the routine. Eric Vlassic from Paris, Ontario, entered his recently completed ’76 Electra 225 in the Double-Pump category. Still working on the details, the Buick reached 20 inches, good enough for Second.
Rollerz Only president Pete Reibel from Westside Hydraulics in Buffalo, New York, took on all comers with his beautiful ’63 Chevy Impala. Pete easily took the Double-Pump win with 42 inches on his first try. After a few adjustments, Pete bumped the numbers up to 44 and was well on his way to breaking his last year’s record of 49 inches when the lower control arm broke. His number still set the altitude record for the day!
David, Kevin and Rob from Altered Altitude Customs in Scarborough, Ontario, added to the excitement with their radical air hopper, showing what the combination of mechanical aptitude, a lightweight Ford Ranger, and some high-pressure nitrogen tanks can do. Crowd-pleasing roll-overs are easy when everything is dialed in so that’s exactly what the team did!
One of the unexpected highlights at the show occurred after the hop when Sinful Creations C.C. and Rollerz Only C.C. came together for their version of the stateside TV show Overhaulin’. While club member Ali Bahaloo was out of town, Salima, his bride to be, delivered Ali’s Town Car to the club for a surprise hydraulics install as a wedding gift! The members from Rollerz Only donated the parts while the Sinful Creations crew accomplished the labor. It’s been Ali’s dream for several years to juice his big Lincoln but he never quite got around to it. It’s certainly nice to have caring friends!
If you would like to enjoy an exciting northern vacation, just a short drive from the world’s most famous waterfall, put Canada’s premier lowriding event on your schedule. Check out their website, www.scrapebythelake.com, for more details on the 2006 show.