ST. JOHNS — St. Johns City Park will be overrun with classic cars, oldies music and the savory scent of home cooked chili Sept. 13-14. This year marks the 11th year for the Apache County Motorsports Days, an annual car show and chili cookoff event created and run by Steve Barcak. Barcak created the event years ago after falling in love with St. Johns and seeing a need for more events. He has over 20 years of experience running events in the Phoenix area, including car shows and drag races.
“The St. Johns City Park is an outstanding setting for a car show,” Barcak said. “It’s the nicest setting for a car show in the area, in my opinion. There’s no other place where you have shade and grass to park on, and it’s very family friendly.”
Classic cars and bikes will start to make their appearance around town on Friday as attendees arrive. The event is expected to bring in 75-80 participants from Arizona and New Mexico, showing off their cars, bikes, boats, or any other kind of vehicle with an engine. For those who pre-registered, there is a cruise and tour around the town planned in the evening and a burger burn so attendees can meet and talk shop with one another.
The main events, however, are all on Saturday, with a car show running from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The car show will feature vehicles from all years, and judging will involve multiple classes, including “restored” and “project” categories. There is also a “Burn Out” contest, a yearly favorite at the event, where participants rev their engines and smoke their tires as much as they can for the cheering crowd.
For those who are just as interested in food as they are vehicles, there will be a chili cookoff contest open to the public. Just bring your pot of chili in by 11:30 a.m. on Saturday for check-in. Judging begins at noon. The contest is free to enter, and winners of the “Best Chili” and “People’s Choice” categories will receive prizes. There will be drinks and other concessions for sale at the event as well.
The event has no admission fees for spectators, and entry for the car show costs $25 this year. The entry fee includes a space to show off their vehicle at the park, a dash plaque, and a free lunch.
Participants arriving for the Friday evening events must pre-register, but anyone wishing to take part in the car show on Saturday can pre-register or check in the day of the event.
For more information or to register for the event, visit the event Facebook page for Apache County Motorsports Days or call Steve Barcak at 480-899-7873.
Amber Shepard is an local journalist covering municipal governments and other Apache County topics.