Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.

RTTTTed On January - 30 - 2012


Billy Barker Wants His Own Viper 


Ted Hlokoff

From 900hp Supercars to 1 horsepower wagons; 20 children escorting the RCMP Safety Bear and a Serged out Officer; Walking, driving and cycling clowns; some antique and some new cars; a Regency Longhorn Ram pickup towing a 20’ Duck – the streets were crowded in Quesnel for Billy Barker Days.


Held on July 15-18th this year Billy Barker Days is a celebration named after one of the richest gold mines in North America.  Billy Barker discovered it, mined it, sold it and died broke years later.  Easy come easy go?


 Last year a few Viper fanatics (Ron, Don, Louie and their wives) checked out the event to see what it was like.  After watching the Parade, checking out the Mud Drags and catching several of the street bands they thought that they’d like to share it with their Viper friends and asked me to help with the hosting.  Winter is a bad time to send emails to charity groups because they wait until the snow melts and they are forced to park their snowmobiles for the winter before turning on their computers.  I copied Chris Campbell on the emails to keep her in the loop.  I phoned a few friends and sent more emails to the Prospector Car Club and waited.  After months Chris contacted some officials and started the contact with the organizing body of Billy Barker Days.  I spoke to a few people, got invited to a Parade and copied Jim Tait on emails.  Chris spoke to some of the officials and she booked a block of rooms for us at the Best Western, the Parade would go past the Hotel.  Jim arranged the Parade participation and I arranged secure parking for our Vipers.  We were expecting 10 Vipers to participate. 


Days before leaving I called Gustafson’s Chrysler in Williams Lake, since we’d bought a Ram from them and they knew me and my Vipers.  I asked Glen, the Sales manager, for door prize donations.  Glen complied and said he’d help out.  The event being in Quesnel, I called Regency Chrysler and they donated an Emergency Roadside kit worth a few hundred bucks.  Timbo (of Viper Trinket fame) had donated a few pieces of his artwork to me which I offered up as a couple of “Best Appearing Viper” awards.  Originally, I had picked a nice Sneaky Pete Medallion and a Fangs Medallion, but arriving in Quesnel … I was driving the only Gen 2 there so they became first and second place awards instead, – I disqualified myself.


Deana and I had some banking to do in Williams Lake.  After washing my GTS (again) we needed to pick up parts for the daughter’s Dodge.  Jim called our cell phone and said that they were waiting at Gustafson’s so we moved a little faster and finally got to Gustafsons.  Jim and Debbie Tait, Fred and Eloise Kappler were waiting for us with Trevor and Terri Cameron of Leduc, Alberta.  I went in and spoke with Glen and he handed over some hats and a go cup for us to hand out as door prizes.  Glen came outside and met the other Viper people, pointing out that being a Viper Dealership they were in a position to help if we had any ‘issues’.  We thanked him and headed down the road.  We took Hwy 97 north to Quesnel, about an hour and a half scenic drive from Williams Lake to our Hotel. 


 It was a good feeling seeing 4 Vipers in the cordoned area of the parking lot.  The empty spaces were for us.  The Best Western had also given us a fantastic room rate and their facility was full service. 


 After throwing our bags into the rooms we met up with Louie & Sharon Geirstorfer, Don & Chris Campbell, and Ralph Willcott from Surrey.  Jim was out in the parking lot wiping his car clean.  Trevor and I used some of our microfiber cloths and cleaned our Vipers making all (now) 7 sparkling clean and ready for the Parade in the morning.  Everyone around the table were old friends.  Acquaintances were renewed over dinner and drinks.  11pm was closing time and we all wandered off to ‘kiss’ our cars goodnight.


 Most of us met in the Hotel’s restaurant for breakfast and Jim told us that he didn’t know how many dignitaries we were supposed to carry in the parade, but stay in a group and follow him to the parade area.  We lined up on a closed street flagged down a few of the quad riding Parade Marshalls and said, “We’re here, where do you want us?” 


 A short while later one of the quads (they don’t use horses much anymore) came by and suggested the roadsters lead with the Coupes behind and our group moved to the front of the parade. 


 We parked beside about 30 kids that were with the RCMP summer camp float and behind the Lead, guys wearing skirts and carrying Bagpipes. 


 Since I didn’t bring my 2000 Viper ACR, which was for sale, I left a 4 sale sign on my dashboard to see if I could evince any interest.  To demonstrate the effect of the high-tech Corsa exhaust, I started my car, waited for a few seconds and then buzzed the revs.  My car is LOUD and when I lowered the revs and shut the beast off, we all heard the RCMP kids clapping and cheering and screaming with Joy!  Although a little unexpected it’s always great when you can make children smile. 


 The Lead bagpipe marching band was followed by Ralph’s beautiful Copperhead SRT at the front with the Quesnel city Mayor riding shotgun.  Next was Louie’s Red supercharged SRT carrying the “Honorary Parade Master” with Trevor’s Red modified SRT carrying a “BC Ambassador” .  Don and Chris followed Trev in their Black SRT coupe.  A Sebring convertible cut in – with a ‘period costumed’ lady riding on the trunk leaving Jim’s Venom 650R coupe, Fred’s Grey with black stripes ’08 coupe and me in my loud, overpowered (for the parade) Sapphire with silver stripes GTS.  I did see several locals in the huge crowd that I knew and occaissionally revved the engine a bit for fun.  No broken windows, but quite a few smiles came in return.  Perhaps one or two grimaces as well.  Mostly, I let Jim do the revving with his rumbling Hennessey 650R.


 Behind my Supercar was the RCMP truck with a Red Serged Officer and Constable Safety – a red serge Bear (mascot?) and the horde of camp kids.  Interesting contrast my rumbling Supercar being trailed by a cop truck with all the ‘goonies’ (flashers) going.  I couldn’t see past them in my mirrors but I do recall a monster 20’ duck at one point during the parade. 


 The sidewalks were lined with people 3-5 deep in spots.  Old cars, floats, clowns, even a group of Keystone Cops were participants. 


 The parade took about an hour and we went about 2 miles through downtown Quesnel. 


 We ended where we started back at the beginning, but as we pulled up the last float was just moving past the barricades.  I said to the guys, “The parade is going right past our Hotel, maybe we should just follow it around ‘till there?”  I wandered off to get all 7 Vipers into a picture and after a couple shots I saw that everyone was moving into the parade so I hustled and followed.  Probably kind of strange to do the same parade twice, but it was fun both times. 


 Later I got an email from a friend’s wife in Quesnel that our Viper participation in their parade was appreciated and enjoyed by all.


After parking our cars in the lot we grabbed our wives and walked a block to where the street action was taking place.  We’d heard some great Abba music and other ‘classics’ that we all recognized.  Deana bought herself a straw hat to match her Turquoise Cowboy boots she was wearing because Billy Barker Days also includes a Rodeo.  I’d even worn my Timbo Denim Viper (Stryker) shirt for the Parade.  After the music we were treated to a Dog Kissing contest?  The cops had their dog and the Firemen had their dog.  Whoever collected the most donations was the winner and the other representative had to kiss the opposing teams Dog.  It became quite entertaining even though the donations were a paltry $58 & $81 to start.  They quickly moved upwards causing the ‘Kissmaster’ to switch back and forth from Police to Fireman and back again.  More than $300 each team was raised before the Firechief leaned over and kissed the Police dog.  I think he liked it? 


 There was tents selling T-shirts, many booths sold Hats, some sold scarves, paintings, artwork and even a Taro card reader tent.  We walked back to the Hotel and ate lunch.  We wandered down the street and watched a few "homgrown bands" play on the street for awile.


 Then we headed through town to the Park to watch the Powder Blues band play in the evening.  The Park had a Carnival with confectionaries, rides and even bumper cars!  Because of our (public) parking worries no one had interest in the CASCAR race that evening.  Jim had arranged for a dinner reservation at a restaurant on the highway where we met at 7.  Food was excellent! 


 We managed to wander to the River and historic bridge for a group photo.  Modern DSLRs have a shutter delay – push the button and run.  10 sec. later the camera shoots the pic for you.  Rain started and we all wandered back to the Hotel’s lounge and had dinner and drinks to finish the evening.


Next morning was sunny as we ate breakfast at the Hotel and Jim handed out numbers to pic a prize.  Everybody WON!  Trevor and Terri scored big when they collected their Emergency roadside kit (Regency Chrysler) and Trevor won a Dodge Ram ‘furred; winter hat (Willowbrook Chrylser).  Trevor was insistent that the hat was warm and would be perfect while he was driving his Ram pickup around his yard during those Cold winter days of Alberta.


 We paid our bills and headed along Hwy 97 to the North of town where we turned east and drove the 55 miles to Barkerville.  My transmission plate scraped the high center off of the road in one area that had been repaired after a washout – partly repaired. 


 Barkerville was a nice drive through the Forest and the town was amazing.  Old West which included period actors speaking in accents and ‘living the life.’ 


 Many of the restored buildings were blocked by plexiglass to enclose the original habitats, furniture and museum pieces.  A large percentage of the old and restored buildings were actually in use.  We went into the Merchantile (General Store) and bought sugar crystal and sugar stick (rock) candy.  I bought some ‘old fashioned’ licorice because the modern Government regulations require that licorice be made with chemicals causing a perfumey taste.  Deana and Terri really thought the Confectionary was cool.


 The Blacksmith shop was open for business, as were most stores, bakery and Saloons.  The Royal Theater still puts on shows and the Millenia year was where new Canadian Citizens were invited to become sworn in.


 People still get married in the old chruch there.  After checking out the ancient Post Office and a couple saloons we went into the restaurant where they sold Borscht, but not hamburgers.  The waiter was an older, petite, very polite gentleman.  My wife said, “I want to take him home for my Butler.”  I told her that I didn’t think the Gent was for sale.  When we left and started walking down the gravel street I wondered what it would have been like, to be back in the early days, walking down this street with a Smith and Wesson hanging low on my hip …  That would get me thrown in jail for weeks or longer nowadays.  Apparently, only the criminals and Police are allowed to carry guns so you’d better be a cop if you’re walking while ‘heeled’ nowadays.


 Louie, Sharon, Don, Chris and Ralph left early to get started on their longer way home.  Jim, Fred, Trevor, I and our wives headed back down the highway and stoppe to take some pics in a few scenic spots along our way home.  Jack of Clubs Lake had a large parking lot and was in the sunshine so we pulled in there and took some car pics and car with people pics.  While setting up the cars evenly spaced I saw Deana standing at my car.  "What are you doing," I asked her.  "Got a few bugs on the windshield and this one looks tastey," she bent over and it sure looked like she cleaned my windshield!  GOOD wife!  and she has a sense of humor.


 Jim and Debbie Tait, Venom 650R


Trevor and Terri Cameron


 Fred and Eloise Kappler’s 09 coupe


 Deana and Ted Hlokoff  GTS


We let Jim & Debbie, Fred and Eloise take off as we had seen a few wide scenic spots for pics and planned to get some great pics.  Armed with our Canon DSLRs we stopped at a few pull offs and shot a few mountain shots.   We did catch up to Jim and Fred at the A&W in Williams Lake for lunch.  Afterwards, Trevore and Terri followed Deana and I West on Hwy 20 to Nimpo Lake for a few days.  The hyw leaves Williams Lake and curves over mountains then down into the Fraser River Valley and crossing a bridge climbs Sheep Creek Hill.  We stopped at the rest area in the middle of a switchback.



Visiting Casa Ted’s at Nimpo Lake is another story on this site.  Trevor and Terri Cameron helped with some of the pictures in this story, thank you.  Go to Casa Ted’s story for more awesome pics.




                                                                                                                           -the end-


Categories: Dodge Viper Stories

One Response so far.

  1. Steve Nickoriuk says:


    Great job

    Really makes me upset i missed that


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