Letter to the editor: …this event is fully supported

Letter to the Editor:
I won’t waste my time directing this letter to Ms. Rolando, it’s obvious she listens solely to respond and has no intention of trying to understand. Much of the misinformation in her letter was answered or explained at the P&Z meeting. She chose to hear what she wanted to hear – whether it was said or not. Let me correct some errors for your readers. The people of Ely deserve the truth.
Let’s get this clear to start; Jake was not doing burnouts when he died. Burnouts did not at all factor into the accident that night. It’s been nearly six years since we lost my son. Hearing people continue to share false rumors about him still cuts deeply.
I’m sure most of you have seen a tire fire before. If you burn a tire, you get black smoke. When you do a burnout, the cloud is white. This is because you are not actually burning the tire; the spinning of the tire vaporizes the rubber compounds which then cools and condenses as it contacts the air. What is seen is more like steam than smoke. Starting with the second year of the event, we had our first electric vehicle participate in the competition. I am looking forward to seeing more of these types of vehicles as the event grows. We are certainly not “’thumbing one’s nose’ to environmentalism” as Ms. Rolando suggests.
She complained about the noise and smell of the event. We have two heats that last about thirty to forty-five minutes each, followed by the championship between the two winners. These two hours of the year listening to the symphony of cylinders in an internal combustion engine is what I imagine Heaven sounds and smells like.
At the time we started this event, The Ely Tourism Bureau was paying an event coordinator to create new reasons for people to visit. The goal was to increase business in our community – especially during the shoulder seasons. During discussions about potential attractions, I couldn’t help but think how great it would be to hold an exciting event that is more representative of the local community. The Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show and Burnout Competition is exactly that! Ely is booming on Car Show weekend and many local businesses have their best weekends of the year. Officials have consistently welcomed events that draw visitors to our community. I’d bet that if a solid plan was put forward by others, it would be welcomed, too – Even if the application was submitted under the name Cecilia Rolando.
Don’t let her fool you. This event is fully supported by the police and fire departments and city workers, along with most merchants, citizens and library goers. We hold a safety meeting immediately prior to each heat. This is how we have ensured our spotless safety record. To suggest that the participants drink before the going into the burnout pit is ludicrous. Many of the cars in the competition are worth more than most new cars. No owner is going to add that risk to their participation. As the hosts of this event, there is no way we would allow that to happen.
The asphalt does not get damaged by the burnouts. The entire area is left cleaner than before we start. We do leave black marks on the street, which is quite beautiful. You’d think an artist would recognize the beauty of the road art left behind for all to see.
Our family is extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue this wonderful, family friendly, once a year fundraiser. Through the amazing support of this community, we help our local youth graduate from trade school debt-free. Many already contribute to our area in the career fields that are most needed around here. I am sure each of these recipients would argue that the event is totally worth all the time and effort that goes into it. Thank you all for your support. It is an honor to be able to grant this scholarship in our beloved son’s name.
Share the Love,
Al Forsman
Ely, MN