Annual Pinto Stampede
Benefits Wounded Warriors Project
Larry Jewett - August 12, 2013 08:48 AM
The Third Annual Pinto Stampede (www.pintostampede.com) completed a four-day journey in as two dozen vintage Ford Pintos rolled down the Mississippi River to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP). The event started in Rockford, Illinois and concluded with "victory laps" around the Memphis International Raceway.
All proceeds from sponsorships and other fundraising efforts will continue to go the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps soldiers returning with disabilities regain normal lives. Prior to this year, the Pinto Stampede has raised over $30,000 for the veterans' organization.
“The Pinto Stampede enables Pinto enthusiasts the opportunity to celebrate our cherished little cars while doing something meaningful for others,” said "Trail Boss" Norm Bagi, organizer of the Pinto Stampede. We want to keep raising money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. Donations can be made through the Pinto Stampede website and go directly to the organization.”
Along the route, drivers in The Pinto Stampede made several stops, including Gateway Motor Park (Madison, Illinois), where the Pinto drivers drove on the oval and road course and participated in the Midnight Madness drag racing event. The Stampeders will also visited The John Deere Museum (Davenport, Iowa); Antique Archaeology (LaClaire, Iowa); Snake Alley (Burlington, Iowa), and Memphis International Raceway (Memphis, Tennessee), the final destination of the 2013 Pinto Stampede.
“The first Stampede was such a success we had to keep it going. Those who participated in the second event cried out for more, so this was the third installment," said Bagi. “Over the years, we made lasting friendships and dispelled many of the myths associated with the Pinto while raising money for a worthy and noble cause."
Enthusiasts of the Ford Pinto have truly established a unique way of recognizing the compact car, which sold more than three million units from 1971-1980. In the 1970s, the Pinto became known for fatalities due to fires caused when the car was rear-ended at high speeds. However, the actual number of fatalities (27) was far less than the “thousands” reported by the media of the era and was consistent with the performance of other compact cars of the time.