Gladewater rodeo arena welcomes kart racing for first time
April 3, 2014 at 10 p.m.
GLADEWATER - A different type of horsepower is taking over the Gladewater Round-Up Rodeo Arena this weekend.
Over the past week, a race track has emerged in the historic arena, taking shape to host the Mini World of Outlaws Round Up, which fires up today and concludes on Saturday.
"Watching the transformation has been pretty neat," Jason Horn, co-promoter of the Round Up, said. "The feedback has been great about having something new come to town and I think the city of Gladewater is going to benefit from having something different in this historic place."
Gates open at 3 p.m. today and Saturday with racing kicking off at 6 p.m. A free concert from the band Dagnabbit will be held after tonight's racing.
The event will offer something different for the more than 80 racers representing five states.
"We don't normally get to race in a venue like this so the feedback from the racing community has been good as well," Horn added. "It allows for more people to come out and watch and we're expecting a nice crowd."
Ross Taylor, a co-promoter of the event and competitor as well, said he hopes the two-day event will expose East Texas to kart racing.
"It's going to be something that not a lot of people around here have seen and that's something we're trying to change," he said.
James Moore, president of the Gladewater Round-Up Rodeo, added, "This is the first time we've had racing in the arena and it's exciting to see."
For Taylor, it's another weekend at the track as he competes in the Open Outlaw division alongside his nephew, Kade Taylor.
"I've been racing for a while. Kade is a fourth-generation racer so it's in the blood," Ross Taylor said. "We've been doing this a while."
Kade Taylor, 16, has been competing racing for nine years, a career that has taken him from coast to coast.
"It's been great to have an event so close to home," he said. "I have to travel a lot. Usually the closest race is about two hours away and I travel all over the country - California, Montana, North Carolina."
It'll be a family affair this weekend with Kade and sister, Gracie, racing in their respective divisions alongside their uncle.
Rounding out the five racers from East Texas competing for the local "Redboy Racing Team" are Horn's sons Colby, 9, and Carson, 12, both who have been competing for two years.
"I'm ready to race with all the competitive drivers and be as competitive as they are this close to home," Carson said.
Little brother Colby added: "I'm excited to race in front of my friends and family and I'm ready to win."
The mini karts are a scaled-down version of the Outlaw sprint cars and is a sport that features big names from the racing world.
"This is really good for the kids," Ross Taylor said. "It's safe and more affordable than other types of racing and it gives them the chance to get that adrenaline rush and enjoy racing."
Jason Horn added: "This is a very family-oriented event and we hope to show that kids can get into racing as earl as five years old. It helps them really learn the skills that it takes to race."
For Kade Taylor, who will compete in the Open Outlaw division this weekend, racing is something he plans on doing for a while.
"Racing is definitely something I want to do for the rest of my life," he said. "This is a step toward that level."
<em>(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/hayden_h" target="_blank">@hayden_h</a>)</em>