Junior Drag Racing really started getting a foot hold in Edmonton in 1995, with names like Sitko, Grant, Graham. At that time most cars were built by Sitko and Lawnmower Hospital. Cars were powered by stock gasoline Briggs and Stratton Engines.
Move forward five years later, cars were getting faster, car counts were moving up. Names like Weibe, Trimble, Cherchuk, Anstead, Bourdin, Admiraal, Stelte started showing up.
In 2001 there was a movement to organize the group of youngsters into a club. The original purpose was to examine the feasibility of travelling to Honolulu, Hawaii to a large show there. The group spent a number of months working on the logistics and raising monies. However world events created an environment that made the feasibility of the trip unlikely.
However, through that experience, the value of being organized into a group was recognized. Speaking to the track officials in a unified voice greatly strengthened the group as a force. And so the group was born! Carlson (Badge) Badgley was by this time already a seasoned car owner with championships under his belt. He led the group as its first president.
Over the next 10 years technological advancements dramatically enhanced the speed, consistency and competitiveness of Junior Dragracing. Alcohol fueled billet engines became the norm. Top Fuel based light weight chassis became available. Edmonton became an IHRA sanctioned track and began hosting a National Event, since the start Junior Dragsters were a part of the show! This greatly enhanced the sports exposure to young people.
More importantly though, are the friendships built on and off the track amongst the youngsters. Close friends (until the 2nd staging light lit – then it is pure competition) growing up together and creating lifelong relationships. Many of these youngsters have grown up and moved on to bigger and faster cars – again names such as Sitko, Cherchuk, Anstead,Bourdin, Mageau, Mix, Bakewell, Ochitwa have become racers to be reckoned with.
Fast forward to 2014 – The group is strong and an established series at the track. It has its own permanent club house where the kids can meet and hang around. A place to share parts and house its newest venture – Big Wheel racing for kids not yet old enough to race a Junior but already bitten by the racing bug. Off track social events are the norm – further strengthening the camaraderie of the young racers. 2014 also is the 4th annual Peanut Butter & Jam Nationals, a very successful event spearheaded by Michaud and Thomas where upwards of 75 Junior Dragsters are expected for this Ironman and Big Buck event!
Junior Dragracing is alive and well in Edmonton, with a new crop of young racers and a diligent dedicated group of parents at the helm (names like Baskerville, Allison, Michaud, Thomas, Groves and Ochitwa) ensuring this legacy continues to thrive and grow.