Jay Lanham of Roseburg pulls into view. He’s driving a custom built rat rod, made specifically for this competition at the Backside Brewing Co. parking lot. The song “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra begins to fade away from the loudspeakers. It is soon replaced by the mighty roar of the car’s engine. The ground is hosed down with water, then the vehicle is chained to an orange excavator. It’s all preparation for what is to come.
The announcer begins to explain the event’s rules to a crowd made up of hundreds, but he’s interrupted by the driver’s eager start. Smoke begins to build around wheels of the chained beast. It billows up and over the crowd, shrouding the onlookers in thick, white smoke. The smog is so heavy that you can’t see three feet in front of you once engulfed. In 60 seconds it’s all over.
It’s just the first of thirteen competitors in the 2nd annual Backside Brewery Burn Out. On Thursday the event made a return at this year’s Graffiti Weekend.
“It was hard the first year, because I had no idea what to expect,” KC McKillip, co-owner of Backside Brewing, said. “I have found with our events that it really takes three or four years to build it up. So I’m hoping that next year we can up it.”
Nicole and Buddy Schrader of Glide came out to the event last year. In their return appearance they were accompanied by two others, their son and daughter.
“It’s fun to see loud cars burning tires,” Buddy Schrader said. “Our kids wanted to come. They like it. I think they just wanted to see the power of the cars.”
“Some people get on their computer and play their computer game,” Lanham said. “You can’t feel the power on that video game, you can’t feel the rush.” He explained that kind of experience only comes from being behind the wheel of a revved-up automobile.
Jay’s wife Kristin Lanham soon takes his place on the blacktop now covered with molten rubber. She’s driving another custom-built ride, a 1947 Ford on a Chevy frame. The engine revs up and smoke begins to build. After a minute of this, the announcer calls time. But Kristin keeps on going. And going. And going as the smell of burning rubber fills the air. Eventually the engine stops and the smoke subsides. The car’s back two tires are destroyed, noticeably smaller than their original size.
Last year Jay Lanham got second place in the vehicle that Kristin Lanham drove, but this year with his new ride he took third. Second place went to Simon Talcott of Glide and first went to Ryan Kocks of Roseburg in his 1985 Ford Bronco.
“Pretty stoked,” Kocks said about winning. “I don’t think anyone saw that one coming.”
The event was labeled a success by Savannah McKillip, wife of KC McKillip and co-owner of Backside Brewing. The couple plan to continue to build and grow the event in the future.
“Just all around everything was just a little bit better than last year,” Savannah McKillip said, “and we’ll definitely do it again next year.”
Perched behind Church on the Rise off Diamond Lake Boulevard is a makeshift campground filled with vintage trailers, teardrop trailers, old tour buses and a variety of classic automobiles.
The First Annual Graffiti Gathering of Teardrop and Vintage Trailers kicked off Thursday, and will be open for free public viewing from noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Church on the Rise, 3500 NE Diamond Lake Blvd., Roseburg.
This is a brand new scene to Graffiti Weekend that also brought many new visitors not only to the event, but to Douglas County in general. The coordinator of the event, Ray Perry, has put on car shows in the past but was excited about the different crowd this event in particular would bring to Graffiti.
“Most of those signed up have never been to Graffiti,” Perry said. “This is bringing in a lot of people.”
As of Thursday afternoon there were about 25 participants with all different types, styles, colors, decorations, and ages of camping-mobile. Throughout the day more participants continued to make their way into camp and spectators roamed around, touring trailers, hearing stories, and making new friends.
“You meet a lot of people — it’s great,” said Marianne Holtzinger of Independence, Oregon. Holtzinger is a part of the Teardroppers of Oregon and Washington (TOW) club and is an active camper with her TAG teardrop trailer. She heard of the Graffiti event by word of mouth, and this is her first time in the area along with other TOW friends that came.
Tracy Byington is also a newbie — not only to Douglas County but to the teardrop trailer community. Byington is from Seattle, Washington and just recently purchased her teardrop trailer named Dew Drop. As of Thursday, it was the only trailer with solar power.
“I love it here. Everyone is so friendly and they are all helping me and teaching me things,” she said. After spending her first night in the trailer Wednesday, Byington said everyone also camping at the event couldn’t wait to hear how she slept. “I told them they were right — I slept like a baby.”
Byington made this the meet-in-the-middle get together with an old friend of hers who came from the east Bay Area of California. Bill Accurso has been camping for years, has seen about half of the United States, a large majority of the National Parks — all in his custom-built seafoam green teardrop. He claims responsibility for enticing Byington to join the teardrop camping club.
The two friends are looking forward to the other Graffiti events and seeing the old cars.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Accurso.
Accurso and a number of other campers not only have their trailers available to peek in, but have also brought additional hobbies of theirs such as arts and crafts, and other items for sale (including a trailer or two).
For camper Mary Corrington, attending events with the Sisters on the Fly club in her 1959 Shasta Airflyte trailer pulled by a 1986 Chevy wagon with her furry co-pilot is her favorite hobby.
The Sisters on the Fly is the largest outdoor women’s group in the country, with multiple events and activities throughout the year. “There’s a lot of people here,” Corrington said. “There’s a lot of people interested in Sisters on the Fly. It has been great exposure.”
Corrington was fully set up at the Graffiti event — bright teal trailer, full vintage ‘50s garb, white picket fence, and pink flamingos — and awaited a handful of her friends from Sisters on the Fly to roll in. As she sat at her outdoor patio set, multiple people oohed and aahed over the interior and asked questions.
“Most people are fascinated with the restoration project that this trailer was,” Corrington said.
Whether it is restored to look old, old and restored new, original vintage, custom built, teardrop, trailer, or tour bus — the Graffiti Vintage Trailer and Teardrop Gathering has turned a dirt patch into a pastel color palette.
An Oakland man was arrested on the Fourth of July after allegedly drunkenly fleeing from deputies in his truck and later charging at them.
Deputies initially responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in the 100 block of Goodrich Highway, north of Oakland, around 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Shakota Powell, 41, told a dispatcher that her husband, 45-year-old Michael Ray Powell, had beaten her father up and left in his Chevrolet truck with a gun.
Shakota Powell told deputies that Michael Powell had shown up to the house drunk, and she told him to leave. Then, Michael Powell choked her until she began to see stars, according to court documents.
After Shakota Powell’s father Randy separated them, Michael Powell beat him up, according to court documents.
When a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived at the residence, Michael Powell’s truck was parked on a hill overlooking the driveway.
A deputy familiar with Michael Powell said he is known to have rifles and the property has a sign that reads “you are now within range,” according to court documents.
Michael Powell called in to Douglas County Emergency Communications, and said he had a gun and if anyone followed him it would not end well.
Deputies tried to convince Shakota Powell to leave the house with her father, but the pair went to the end of the driveway and locked the gate, according to court documents.
At 10:20 p.m., Michael Powell left the driveway and started driving towards deputies that were staged on Metz Hill Road. Deputy Collin Snyder took cover behind his car, anticipating an assault, according to court documents.
Three vehicles began pursuing Powell as he drove down Metz Hill Road at speeds reaching 70 miles per hour. The posted speed on the road is 55 mph. After two miles, Powell turned the truck around.
Deputy Eric Schreiber parked his car in the westbound lane, while Snyder parked in the eastbound lane, blocking the truck.
Schreiber got out of his patrol car and Powell accelerated towards them, driving in between the two cars and stopping abruptly.
Powell aggressively reversed, then accelerated forward toward Snyder’s patrol car, while Snyder braced himself for impact, according to court documents.
When Powell’s truck got within feet of Snyder’s patrol car, Snyder heard another deputy fire his gun, according to court documents. No one was injured, according to the sheriff’s office.
The pursuit continued after the shot was fired.
Powell sped back to the Goodrich Highway residence, and when deputies arrived, Shakota Powell used a pickup truck to try to block them.
While holding a beer, Shakota Powell told deputies to leave Michael Powell alone and to leave her property, according to court documents.
When a patrol car tried to drive past her, she jumped in front of the car and held her arms out, according to court documents.
Shakota Powell was arrested for interfering with a police officer. She was released from the Douglas County Jail on Thursday.
Deputy John Dorland continued to follow Michael Powell’s truck and used his push bumper to pin the driver’s side door shut.
Michael Powell crawled out of his driver’s side window and moved toward the house.
Snyder tried to subdue Powell with a Taser, but Powell was able to get into the house and tried shutting the door on the deputy.
When the door was pushed open, Snyder saw Powell holding a revolver by his side.
Snyder demanded that Powell drop the gun and he complied, dropping the weapon on the floor.
Powell was charged with attempting to elude a police officer, reckless driving, driving under the influence of intoxicants and two counts of recklessly endangering another person.
Attempting to elude a police officer is a felony crime.
The deputy who shot his firearm was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.