Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) is an amazing annual race that everyone should experience at least once. Tucked in the packed schedule of practice and qualifying runs on the mountain, there?s a street festival held on Friday in downtown Colorado Springs called Fan Fest. Fans have the unique opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers, get autographs, take selfies and get close up with the race cars. Blocking off Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street, race teams, food trucks and sponsors come together with 1000?s of fans from all over the US and even other countries. The draw of this race is powerful! With comfortable evening weather, where only a few drops of rain fall for Mother Nature to remind us of her presence, the food trucks fire up, wafting their seductive smells over the crowd. Lining the streets, race cars were presented by their drivers, who endlessly talked with fans and signed autographs. I saw YouTube personality Sarah-N-Tuned (www.sarahntuned.com) talking with several drivers, and was able to quickly shake her hand, and tell her I enjoyed her channel.

Every hour, the Nitro Circus team performed motocross demos with a series of acrobatic stunts, wowing kids and adults alike. Partnering with David Hackl (@gruppeq), the Colorado Cars and Coffee team of Terrell Padilla, Brendan Garst, my son (Caleb) and I brought several bins of Hot Wheels, stacked high and pulled along with a little wagon. We set up beside the Motul tent, where David’s 1983 Audi A1 Quattro was positioned, setting up our signs, stickers and several city street maps mats, along with the Hot Wheel bins. We gave out the Hot Wheels to kids to grow car enthusiasm; our sign, “Kids Please Take One Free!” Is a MAGNET.

Overwhelmingly, the kids line up and wait for their turn. Each child selects one, says thanks, while Mom or Dad grabbed a few C&C stickers. A few kids opened them right then and there, playing with them on the city street mats we have just for that purpose. Our last 30 Hot Wheels were used ones that had languished at the bottom of the bin for months, until Fan Fest, where we pulled off the grandest used car sale of all time. No offer refused! At the end of the evening, and many happy kids later, we had given out 500 Hot Wheels, and took home only a few remaining stickers – Job Well Done!

To brighten the circus atmosphere, a recent controversial Supreme Court decision brought out a parade of protestors marching through the Fan Fest party, to include a bare-breasted woman. As their shouts and cries faded, minded by watchful police escorts, the light faded and fans and race teams began packing up. We pulled our much lighter wagon, empty of Hot Wheels, back to our spot. Next year, we’ll be prepared with even more Hot Wheels!

Steve Clark – Shift Colorado Publisher, loves the cars and coffee scene, and has an affinity for questionable foreign sports cars and wagons. He never tells anyone he saves the best Hot Wheels for himself, and plays with them in his cubicle at work.