This Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., Red Square will fill up with tricked-out trucks, cars and bikes for the annual Ridin' Low in the 3-6-0. This is the eighth year of the event, sponsored by AS club Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan (MEChA), and they hope for an even bigger turnout than last year, MEChA minister of education Maribel Galvan said. They are anticipating filling Red Square and spilling over to Carver gym, under the sky bridge and even onto High Street.
“We want people to see the cars for the pieces of art that they are,” Galvan said. The show means to break down the stereotypes of gang affiliation that pervade low rider culture.
The show won't just include low riders (vehicles that have had their suspension modified so that they ride as low to the ground as possible). Last year's event showcased supped up mini vans, 1940's classics, old and new custom painted trucks, cars with booming sound equipment, and customized low rider bicycles with chrome banana seats and handles.
Greg Gonzalez, MEChA head of publicity, said that they also want this event to reach out to the Latino community. Often there is a lot of fear related with visiting the University and it is seen as a privilege, Galvan said. MEChA wants to encourage everyone to attend, especially high school students so some of that fear will disperse, Galvan said.
There will also be a jalapeno and watermelon eating contest, dance competition, taco trucks, and games to create a welcoming space for all of the community, Galvan explained.
“The event is here to bring community together [and] show that college isn't a scary place and our culture does have a place on campus,” Gonzales said.
There will also be booths raising money for the new Latino Achievement Scholarship. This year the AS Board decided it will be giving $3 for every dollar raised for the scholarship. MEChA's goal is to help raise $20,000—giving them a total of $80,000—which will enable them to make the scholarship a permanent part of Western, Gonzales said.
The show has drawn participants from all over Whatcom County and also Vancouver B.C., Oregon, Nevada, and California, with many car clubs coming to participate, Galvan said. There will also be trophies awarded for around 10 different categories to be decided at the show and four cash prizes of $250 for best truck, best car, best bike and for the winner of the hop contest.
The hop contest, which is often one of the most popular events, is for low riders with hydraulics installed into the suspension system. They use these pumps to raise and lower their vehicles off the ground. The vehicle that can hop highest off the ground wins the cash prize.
Galvan said all participating cars can register online at http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~esc/clubs/mecha/ to save $5 off the fee for registering early. For those registering the day of, the cost is $25 for cars and truck, $15 for bikes. Registration is from 8 a.m. to noon and cars can start arriving as early as 7 a.m. The event is free to attend.
The campus section of High Street between the will be shut down for the majority of Sunday due to the event.