If it’s Sunday in Tippo, the dirt is flying.
By John Allison, Staff Writer/Photographer/Producer
A $5 bill gets you in the gates, where large and prominently displayed signs warn, ‘Ride at Your Own Risk.’ Barbecue ribs hiss on the grill and, nearby, a woman sits in the bed of a pickup truck, adjusting knobs and engineering the music for the crowds. Welcome to the Redneck Races.
Bubbas and Bubbettes of every racing stripe have been tearing up the country back roads in their pickups for generations. But the revved-up phenomenon of truck racing on dirt tracks is now shaking Mother Earth from Batesville to Pontotoc to Tippo and Winona.
Last Sunday afternoon in Tippo, crowds came to witness these wild and whacky redneck races out at Tom Pomplin’s place. The exhaust pipes pierced through truck hoods like gun mounts, loud and ferocious at the driver’s command. The hair on my neck stood up as a shrill roar spread through the countryside.
High-volume super trucks come from the hills and surrounding Delta towns to participate in the dust-ups on a pair of dirt tracks cut side by side, extending just over a hundred yards. It’s a fast, straight-ahead drag, pitting these wild beasts against one another in a race to the finish.
Each truck has a name proudly displayed on its doors. There’s ‘Here Kitty Kitty,’ ‘Sledge Hammer,’ and ‘Mule-Headed Farmer,’ just to name a few. The trucks are not only loud, but they throw heavy dirt and mud in their tracks at the start. Those standing at the rear know to take cover when those wild wheels start to spin.
The thirsty crowd keeps the Bud Light and soda flowing. Old and new friends mingle, laugh and carouse as they jaw about engine valves and modified carburetors like other sports fans talk about first downs or slam dunks. There is Tallahatchie Ted, a friendly fellow, whom everyone seemed to know. One man dressed in camouflage showed off a large pot of chitins in the back of his truck. I pass on that dish, but soaked in a fine day of races, redneck style.