By Paul Hinkle | Contributed
As many of you are already aware, Mike “Blackie” Gejeian peacefully passed away at his home on Sept. 2, 2016.
Blackie was raised on his family’s ranch and enjoyed driving his dad’s roadster on the dirt roads around the vineyards. He built his first roadster in the chicken coop behind the ranch house. It was built for racing, not for show. In 1948, he took his roadster to the races at El Mirage for a few runs on the dry lakes. While waiting to make a run, he was hit by a car returning to the pits. Blackie was T-boned and hit so hard that his roadster was cut into two pieces. Blackie was almost killed and spent the next two weeks in the hospital.
After rebuilding his roadster, he gave it the name “Shish Kabob.” In 1955, Blackie entered it in the Oakland Roadster Show where it won the prestigious America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) Award. It was the first roadster to ever have a chrome-plated undercarriage. Mirrors were not used as they are today, so in order to show off the undercarriage Blackie and his friends would turn it on is side so the undercarriage could be seen. Blackie partnered with his friend George Barris to build the “Ala Kart” for his friend Richard Peters. The “Ala Kart” won the AMBR award twice.
Blackie promoted and ran the Clovis Speedway from 1960-1980. He ran an open competition program, Blackie’s rule was: bring what you got and run what you got. The Clovis track was considered to be one of the best tracks in the nation, enticing racers from as far away as the East Coast. Blackie was quite a racer himself, winning the Valley Racing Association Championship from 1953 to 1957 in cars that he built.
Blackie ran the Fresno Dragway in Raisin City for 18 years. He was the first promoter to ever run four dragsters side by side. He also ran four funny cars and four jet dragsters side by side in separate competitions. After the closing of Fresno Dragway, Blackie operated the Madera Speedway.
Blackie’s greatest adventure was creating and promoting the Fresno Autorama for 51 years. He became to be known as the Ambassador to Hot Rodding. Blackie was known worldwide for having one of the best car shows in the world. It was an quite an honor to be personally invited to the Fresno Autorama as Blackie would travel to car shows all over the country to hand pick cars he wanted in his show. He always strived for the public to see something unique.
Blackie will be missed by many in the Hot Rod World, not only as a man of passion for cars but also for his kind nature. He was everyones friend.
October 8th – Immanuel Lutheran Church 15th Annual Car Show
October 8th – San Joaquin Valley MOPAR 23rd Annual Fall Finale Car Show
October 14-16 – Mariposa Yosemite Cruise, Hot Rod Custom Car Show & Drags
October 15 – Hanford American Graffiti Tribute Car Show
October 21 – Clovis Senior Center Car Show
October 21 – 23rd California Hot Rod Reunion Famoso
October 29 – 30th Valley Nationals Madera Fairgrounds
November 1 – 4th SEMA Show Las Vegas
November 5 – Annual Toys for Tots Clovis
– Central Valley Aviation Association “Remember When” Fly-in and Car Show
If your club or organization is putting on a car show or motorsports event we are always looking for interesting cars, people and events to share. You can reach Paul Hinkle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (559) 970-2274 or Eric Hinkle at email@example.com. Be sure to follow us on Twitter@clovisparknpark and on Instagram@clovisparkinthepark.
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