Over nine years ago when Garry Schmidt proposed that he could attract 5000 people to the municipal airport, city council thought he was crazy.
He has been proving them wrong every year since as he drives his 1971 Vega wagon to the finish line at Kambusters Prairie Thunder Drag Race.
While numbers did not reach their original levels, July 20 continued the tradition of pulling more than a thousand people to watch cars race at speeds reaching 140 miles per hour.
Waves of ominous clouds passed by without shedding a drop of rain, which could easily end the event. They provided a comforting shield compared to the stifling temperatures of previous years.
Even when it does not rain, weather affects racers. Schmidt attributes the changing air to a loss. Before his final race he tuned his car to adjust the fuel. In hindsight he should have added fuel rather than taking away.
"So it's just a flip of the coin, and I went the wrong way," he said.
Because Schmidt had a more powerful 800 horsepower engine, the other driver was allowed a half second head start. Unfortunately, despite hitting the gas quickly after the light turned green, Schmidt's car could not keep up. He does remember the thought that runs through a every losing driver's mind.
"I'm just thinking 'I have to catch him.' When you can see the guy ahead of you, you know what you have to do," he said.
Glen and Bonnie Heinmiller decided to stop in and watch the races while they were visiting from Ontario. Although they were used to seeing quarter mile strips, the eighth mile course provided them with a few thrills. The eighth mile course is a little different for drivers as well.
"It's just a little bit of a different type of racing. It's still drag racing, it's still fun, but it's just a little different,"explained Wade Stachura, the vice president of Kambusters. "With the eighth mile the race is so much shorter you have a lot less time to make a mistake or try to optimize on somebody else's mistake."
"Just the power of the engine, the noise, the fast cars" keep Leonard Hack coming out to watch the races every year.
"The spectators are always looking for a good show, a lot of smoke and noise. We think we did that with our features," said Stachura. The alcohol-fueled funny cars provided the extra edge in speed and flash.
With many hours of take-down left, the end goal is simple for the many volunteers.
"This was a working airport when we came out and it's gotta be a working airport when we leave," laughed Stachura. "The only thing you see after we leave here is footprints in the grass and more rubber on the runway."
Yorkton residents took only one of the prize categories as Don Tkachuk took home first in the Pro Street competition with his 1979 Aspen. Coming in second in the Trophy class was Steven Delorme in the Trophy class with his large diesel truck.