The real Cannonball Run went extinct years ago. But what's this? A man, a moonshine making man who believes America and the USA are different, is now selling tickets to a new Cannonball Run on eBay. How is this even legal? And what the hell is going on?
(Our friends at The Smoking Tire received word that tickets for the new Cannonball Run were being sold on eBay. Here is Matt Farah's research and story on the enigmatic and frankly strange character that is running the show. - TO)
We at The Smoking Tire are no stranger to road rally and "Cannonball" type events. I, in my more reckless youth, participated in 5 years worth of Bullrun Rallies, the videos of which you can revisit as many times as you like on our YouTube channel. There's also Gumball3000, Gold Rush, Fireball, Modball,Rally North America, Targa Trophy, the Babe Rally, and the list goes on. All of these events feature varying levels of professionalism, luxury, and participation, but they all have one very obvious and very important thing in common. Now, repeat after me: It's a rally, not a race.
This simple mantra is not only what you tell the cops when you get pulled over in your fully-stickered high performance vehicle, but also, it's true. Races have prizes. No matter the race, there is some type of incentive to get there first, besides your stupid ego. Do people drive fast on rallies? Sure. Do they even race each other for fun (or stupidity) within the context of the rally? Absolutely. But when you sign up to do the event, pay your entry fee, etc, the phrase that pays remains an absolute constant: It's a rally, not a race.There is no prize or recognition for being there first.
This isn't just to protect you, the entrant, but to protect the organizer of the event. "It's a lifestyle road trip." "All I did was set up the hotels." "It's a party on wheels, it doesn't matter who gets where, or when." This stuff should be pretty obvious when driving anywhere in a group of sports cars. Converseley, a proper "Cannonball" in the traditional sense is a coast-to-coast, underground race. No hotels. No stopping. Invite only. Low key. Tell no one. Don't advertise it, or we'll all go to jail. Wait a year to release your time so the statute of limitations on speeding expires first. Want to hear my thoughts on Cannonballs in general? Feel free to listen to my discussion with The Truth About Cars' Jack Baruth on the subject.
Which brings us up to speed on rallying versus racing. Everyone with us? OK then, moving on to the story at hand.
Facebook user Robert Masek sent us this little nugget this morning: A man named "Colonel" Vaughn Wilson, who lives at 2808 Coral Circle, Alma, AR, (listing his own house as the destination of payment on his web site, and yes, the phone number on the home page for his event is his personal number), is "world renowned for his moonshine activities and attempts of beating the law," is offering a $50,000 prize for a "Coast to Coast Race," AKA "Cannonball Run." Really.
This guy makes moonshine? No way.
At first, I thought Mr. Wilson was just an idiot; someone who did not know any better. Turns out, however, that Mr. Wilson is not an idiot; rather, he is quite well known as a builder and seller of Moonshine Stills, which he calls "A felony they can't get me for." Nevertheless, I wondered what selling copper kitchenware had to do with organizing a Cannonball, and he lists his phone number right there on the main page, so I gave him a ring.
You can watch the video below for the entire phone call (some language, but otherwise SFW) , or here are some of the best nuggets:
- He can't be sued because he's not running the race on public roads in the United States, he's running the race on public roads in America.
- The United States only exists in the District of Columbia, and everything else is "America," so the rest of the country doesn't count towards statuatory regulations affecting "The United States."
- He can't be sued or held liable for anything non-violent, because he refuses to acknowledge the existence of anyone that would sue him. He also claims he can't get tickets, and doesn't pay any taxes. This, presumably, is also why he thinks it's ok to violate Brock Yates's Copyright on the term "Cannonball."
- He can't be held liable for what someone does in their own car, even if they pay him to enter his race under the assumption that if they get to LA first, they win $50,000. He says that "recommending against speeding" is enough of a disclaimer to release his own liability.
- He can install GPS trackers in cars to prove who got there fastest, and there is no way the government can or will ever see that information, or be able to use it to prosecute.
- He claims he can't be arrested because he claims not to be a US Citizen (but he's not a foreigner either. He just lives here, and is not subject to our laws).
- Offering a $50,000 prize for being there first is not encouraging people to break the law, only those with "evil in their hearts" can break the law.
The entire video is pretty insane, and is worth a watch if you've got a few minutes. I'm not sure how someone thinks they can be immune from the laws of the state and the country in which they live, but he seems to think so. I'm not a legal expert, but I am a pretty good judge of character, and anyone who rambles on the way this guy does is usually pretty delusional, and/or sustaining himself on moonshine alone.
If there are legal experts out there, feel free to chime in on this, but I think there's a pretty big difference between the technicality of selling moonshine stills (while not actually handling moonshine) and organizing a race on public roads, while offering a cash prize, and refusing to accept any liability for what might happen. This is like saying, "$50,000 for whoever sends me the longest child porn video**" with the asterisks leading to, "**we do not recommend making child pornography."
You can scream all day about how you weren't the one making it, they were, and how you recommended they didn't actually make it, but the reason so many people were motivated to go out and film kiddie porn was because you offered them a cash prize. Last I checked, what he's doing here is openly promoting a fully illegal event, and taunting anyone who dares to challenge it. I'm sure he's got his technicalities in a row, and it certainly seems he's well read, though he apparently only reads the parts that work in his own favor, and if anything does happen, he will almost certainly be arrested, as, in instances like this, common sense just has to prevail, or else we're all fucked.
Now, I suppose there is a small chance that Mr. Wilson is actually correct, and he is indeed immune from any criminal prosecution or lawsuits relating to this event. But bear in mind, if you are
fucking stupidadventurous enough to enter, Mr. Wilson is basically saying that if anything happens, the first thing he's doing is throwing you under the bus. You pay him, sign over your rights for a reality TV show in which Mr. Wilson retains the rights and, presumably, all profits resulting from said show, (which we all know will never happen), allow him to place cameras and a tracking device on your car, and if it all goes wrong, it's your fault, because no one told you to speed.
Oh yeah, and if you want to enter Colonel Wilson's race, you can buy tickets on Ebay. Smart people should line up now because the race starts on June 1st, 2014, at 8 AM. Also, I'm pretty sure this photograph on top of the "Entry Form" page of his web site is of a man.
This story originally appeared on The Smoking Tire on January 2, 2014, and was republished with permission.
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