Anticipation builds for first Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show, Burnout Competition next to Ely’s City Hall Oct. 21

Ely resident Al Forsman is coordinating the Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show and Burnout Competition in memory of his son. The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21 in front of the Ely City Hall on Chapman Street.

by Tom Coombe -
Ely’s newest event is perhaps its most unique.
Part of Chapman Street will be closed next Saturday, Oct. 21, as cars rev their engines, squeal t sheir tires and “lay a patch” during the first Jake Forsman Memorial Burnout Competition.
The competition, along with a car show named in honor of the late Elyite, begins at 10 a.m. in front of Ely’s City Hall.
Al Forsman, a city council member and father of the late Jake Forsman, is organizing and coordinating the event in memory of his son.
The two became aware of a similar competition in Idaho two years ago while on a trip to the West, and Jake dreamed of one day being able to hold one in Ely.
The event brings those who love cars together for an afternooon unlike one ever seen in town before.
“There are a lot of car enthusiasts in the area, and there’s really no outlet, until you get to Brainerd, for anyone to show off their power of their build at all,” Al Forsman said Wednesday night. “There really isn’t an opportunity for high speeds or anything that gives them a chance legally to demonstrate what they’ve done.”
The event has two components. First is a car show in which car owners can show off their rides.
The library parking lot will be open for cars to be displayed and Forsman indicated that the cars could line Chapman Street down to the Wells Fargo bank building.
The main event is set for the 200 block of East Chapman next to City Hall, where those who choose to may enter their vehicles into one of two separate burnout competitions.
One takes place at 11 a.m. and the other is set for 2 p.m.
“We’re going to split the burnout events into two sessions,” said Forsman.“The way a burnout competition works, you’ve got one person at a time entering into a burnout pit and they will have their opportunity. We’re talking about squealing tires, laying down some black marks. It will be freestyle in the burnout pit, They will be able to do circles like you see in NASCAR.”
Safety is a top priority for the event, and Forsman is quick to note that the burnout pit will be contained within an area enclosed by massive concrete barriers.
“They are bigger than what are used at construction sites,” said Forsman. “The spectators will also be separated from the concrete barriers.”
It’s a free admission, family-friendly event, and the Ely Fire Department will sell beverages and hot dogs, although Forsman noted that the break between burnout competitions is designed in part to encourage spectators to visit local businesses and restaurants.
Forsman expects to get at least 60 participants in the event.
Burnout contestants are required to take part in the car show, but car show registrants are not mandated to be part of the burnout competition. Registrants in the car show will pay a $10 fee to take part.
A tent will be set up and is set to include items that are part of a silent auction.
The event is a benefit for a Jake Forsman Memorial Scholarship, with an emphasis on attracting students to pursue trade-related jobs.
“ I believe there is a shortage of trade workers locally,” said Forsman. “I think there has been a lot of focus on four-year colleges, but we also need educated trade workers in our communities. I know personally from working at the hospital and knowing business owners who have had to outsource. I want to encourage local high school students to consider working in trades.”
Forsman said excitement and anticipation are building toward next weekend’s event.
He has heard from people from Georgia, California and Nevada who are “coming specifically to Ely for this event.”
“I think it’s something that a lot of people’s concerns will be answered once we have it. It will be a fun time for the whole family.”
Forsman hopes to build upon the debut and make it an annual occurrence in Ely.
• Second Avenue East will be closed for the event, from Sheridan to Harvey Street, and car show participants are asked to enter Second Avenue from Sheridan Street.