Burnout competition a welcome addition to Ely’s growing event lineup

If Ely is anything it is unique.
What town our size has the diversity of events and attractions that we do?
An abundance of lakes for fishing, boating, canoeing and ice fishing. Ample trails for snowmobiles, ATVs, biking, dogsledding and hiking.
Wildlife museums on both edges of town and another museum devoted to the city’s mining history.
A quaint downtown with attractive shops and stores, many featuring Ely-made products and gear.
Not to mention events, festivals, baseball tournaments and even a marathon.
Last weekend we welcomed another event to Ely’s lineup, and we hope it sticks around for a long, long time.
The Jake Forsman Memorial Burnout Competition and Car Show was just what Ely needed to liven up an off-season, October weekend.
With 80 car show entrants and hundreds of spectators, downtown Ely was abuzz on Saturday, even with less than ideal weather conditions.
While the car show was a wonderful draw, there’s no doubt the main event on Saturday was the burnout competition.
Both in the late morning and again in the afternoon, spectators - lots of them - stayed safely behind cement barricades as car after car entered the burnout pit in front of City Hall.
They cheered as drivers spun circles, blew smoke, and “laid a patch” or two on Chapman Street.
It was a little loud and smoky but truly unique.
It even tugged at the heartstrings as council member Al Forsman entered the pit and “burned out” in honor of his late son Jake - the namesake of Saturday’s event.
Sure it was a bit different and a bit out of the ordinary, but some of the safety worries expressed beforehand proved to be overblown. It came off better than even enthusiasts may have expected, and we believe the event only serves to benefit Ely and the greater community.
There was anecdotal and visible evidence that the car show and competition meant big business for Ely’s downtown.
Splitting the burnout competition into two sessions, with an intermission in between, was a stroke of genius and left hundreds of people with time - and money - to spend.
Reports are that many went to Ely’s restaurants and shops as they waited for round two.
The ancillary benefits extended into the evening as it was difficult to find a table at several downtown restaurants. Lines and lengthy waits were the norm and cash registers were ringing a healthy tune.
Cash registers don’t record whether one is pro or anti-mining or whether a visitor is someone who prefers a day-long paddle or a 70 miles per hour burst down a snowmobile trail.
Whether one’s in town for the canoe festival or the burnout competition, their money counts just the same.
Ely is a community of many interests, and the Jake Forsman Memorial Burnout Competition is Exhibit A.
Let’s hope it becomes an October tradition, and even bigger and better in 2018.