Until Cole Foster's star turned a bright light on the dusty farm town he calls home, Salinas was a place where California farm hands and truck drivers parked Peterbuilts and vegetable carts after a hard day's work. Residents of coastal communities 20 miles to the west like to paint Salinas in dim light, but the hot rods, racecars and choppers that roll out of Central California are among the best in the business.
To celebrate the handiwork of San Joaquin Valley car customizers and bike builders, a local race promoter asked Cole to lend his good name to his small-time TT race and Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Salinas rodeo arena. With just three weeks to pull together a car and bike show, vendor row and respectable pre-party, Cole and his wife used social media to put the word out to their many friends in all custom culture camps.
To give his half of the event the gravitas it deserved, Cole branded his soiree the "2012 Cole Foster World Championship." Tongue-in-cheek or serious as tongue cancer? I'd like to believe Cole Foster doesn't take anything too seriously, especially car shows with mariachi bands at a rodeo arena. Rumored backdoor deals involving bootleg armbands and at least one late-night hot tub party makes me think I'm right.
Whatever the case behind the scenes might have been, the event was a bona fide success. Everything but the TT race, I'm afraid. Duane Ballard and I were two of roughly 50 spectators who watched the uneventful 25-lap pro main. That's a shame, because TT racing is fun stuff, this one included. For the record, there were damn near 100 hot rods and choppers on site, so this lazy response seemed completely avoidable. Cole clearly did his part, even if the race promoter did not. If there's a Cole Foster World Championship in 2013, I won't be surprised if the world's greatest hot rodder finds a more enthusiastic venue.