These signs greet all that enter the fair city of Centralia Washington. There are on every road leading to town, and on nearly every street corner in town. they have been in place going on 20 years. So it makes one wonder just why and how it is that Billetproof gets to cruise in Downtown Centralia. It took a ton of work. Phone calls, personal appearances (for those of you that dont know, I dont live in WA. in fact, I'm an 11hour drive away), meetings, traffic impact plans, emergency services plans, parking plans, insurance had to be purchased, forms created, attorneys consulted... on and on. In short, it wasnt easy. I didnt just put the words "Sat. Night Cruise" on a flier and hope for the best. The cruise in downtown Centralia is stunning. The city is gorgeous. The timing of the show/cruise is so that the city has put out flower pots and American flags on every light post. There are brick lined streets (more on these in a little bit) and historic buildings downtown. Narrow one way streets make for the perfect loop that leads through the historic district and loops back in front of City Hall (scene of most of the work mentioned above). There are bars and restaurants downtown that stay open late to feed the hungry crowds that come to the cruise. Downtown merchants proudly hang Billetproof posters in their shop windows. Now all of that is in jeopardy. Why? Take a guess. Its the same bullshit that Wally Parks fought going on 70 years ago... and here I am having to deal with the same bullshit today. Drunkenness, burnouts, rowdy behavior, noise, trash... in short.. .stupidity. Progress indeed. There were townsfolk and Billetproof'ers alike involved in the goings on. I'm not going to try to find a percentage, or lay blame on one group or another. The fact of the matter is that the cruise is a Billetproof event and everyone's actions at the event reflect on Billetproof. The behavior and the cruise are one in the same, no matter the source. The city is WELL aware of the problems as are the residents of the downtown area. Yes people do live there. Most notably some of the merchants who live above their shops... the same shops with Billetproof posters in the windows. They were kept awake to the sound and smells of lurid burnouts until the wee hours of the morning. The toes of those that welcomed us with open arms and have done their best to help the show be an enjoyable one have been stepped on. As has the toes of the City Managers Office, the Police Chief, the City Council and the Downtown Association. What insult was inflicted upon the City Council and Downtown Association? Well, remember those "brick lined streets"... yep those... wellllllll... the stamped concrete brick like circles in the intersections were recently refinished, at no small cost... and are now covered with burnout marks. Nice huh? (note: I'm not implying that any of the cars in the photos above are responsible for the marks, the pictured just illustrate the roads and scene downtown very well) Not even to mention the amount of people that were downtown as the night wore on. The streets were lined for blocks 3 and 4 deep, and the crowd wrapped around in front of city hall. This cruise was easily as large if not larger than Paso ever was. Kids, dogs, grandma and grandpa all came out to enjoy a warm summer evening and some cool old hot rods and customs. They got a nice cruise.. but every so often it turned into a pretty dangerous environment akin to standing next to the burnout box at a drag strip. In short...What I saw made me a little upset. I think some of you saw that come out when I informed a few people doing burnouts of my displeasure. Hopefully I was too harsh with anyone, if I was I apologize publicly and will make sure I do with you in person as well. I'm a pretty easy going guy, but something had to be done... and seeing as I was the one wearing the cowboy hat (that means I'm in charge ) and was the biggest fooker on the street... it fell on my shoulders. Until I called the Police Dept. to send a cruiser. Now some folks said that the Police were being "cool" about it all and didnt have a problem with the activities. Not so. The Police expected what we had last year, a smaller, mello crowd. What we got was a crowd at least 3 times the size and while the majority were indeed mello, the law of averages says that the number of trouble makers will also increase. So there was not the Police presence that would have kept events from snowballing. Add into that several emergency calls over the course of the evening and police resources were stretched thin. I dont want to give the impression that the cruise was an all out riot. Far from it. For the most part it was a very nice event. There was a VERY small number of people that made their presence known. Where is this long drawn out post leading? Well... there are going to be some changes for next year. Right now everything is on the table... from not allowing a cruise... to closing the main street and having an up one lane and back the other (no loop) type of cruise.... to only allowing cars with a Billetproof window card into the downtown area... to the "cruise" being a closure of the street and a parking lot in downtown sort of thing.... to just a greatly increased police presence not only watching for on street stupidity but for public drunkenness and the like.... Its all being discussed by me, the City Council, the Police Chief, the Downtown Association and the residents of downtown. And by discussed I mean that some of the parties are screaming at the top of their lungs. Fortunately Billetproof has some friends in all of these organizations so cooler heads will likely rule the day, but just so you all know there are some VERY unhappy people in Centralia, and I cant blame them. There will be much more to come from this in the near future as I have spent more than a little bit of the past couple days since the show discussing the situation with the interested parties. There is a solution to this and hopefully I can impress upon them that shutting the cruise down is not the best one. There are other solutions that are on the top of my list. Unfortunately they all involve extra effort and cash to make happen. We will see how much of each is required. What can you do? Other than making sure you are not one of the very few causing problems? Suggestions are welcomed. Offers to help are welcomed (I've already gotten a few). There may come a time when some letters to the city council would be helpful. I will let you know more in the future. in the end... what was the purpose of this post? To let ya'll know that there is a change a'comin' to the Billetproof Washington Cruise. Hopefully we can save it. I'm pretty sure we can. And to let you all know that I'm working to make sure this show and cruise remains one of the best in the country. I go to all the car shows I can, I study what separates the good ones from the GREAT ones... and Billetproof Washington has all the hallmarks of a GREAT show. I'd like to see it remain as such and I think there are some things we, not just me, but we can do to make it even better.