Heavy Metal in Motion at Tellus puts focus on transportation
by Brande Poulnot
Oct 10, 2010 | 2159 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Drag racer Kelly Gray helps Lola West into the seat of her dragster at Saturday’s Heavy Metal in Motion at Tellus. Lola attended the event with her grandparents, Nancy and John Martin. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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While its well know for its minerals and fossils, the focus Saturday at Tellus was on heavy metal -- no big hair bands and guitar riffs involved.

In addition to the mining machinery regularly on display, Heavy Metal in Motion gave visitors a peak at a variety of machinery, including tractors, drill rigs and vacuum trucks, and tracked brush firefighting and amphibious vehicles.

"We have one gallery which is a transportation-based gallery. It has vintage cars and a helicopter and deals with transportation and we thought it would be neat to have an event that deals with that -- kind of bring the gallery outside with real working vehicles and a whole variety of them," said Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria. "This is the first time we've done something like this. Looking at the turnout, it's looking very promising [that we'll continue it]."

Children and onlookers were allowed to climb aboard some of the vehicles, which included a fire apparatus and an amphibious vehicle. Visitors eyed others, such as 1979 Bell 206L Long Ranger helicopter, antique tractors dating back to 1940 and cars dating back to 1914.

"Something really neat is a lot of the machines that we [had] the actual owners out here with them, they [let] people go inside, kids climb the tractors. They [let] people go inside the tractor-trailer," Santamaria said. "I guess the coolest thing is the dragster ... . We [had] a big tow truck from Matthews Towing and they [let] the kids raise and lower the boom.

"All these folks volunteered their time and vehicles to be part of this. It's all about the experience. It's not just looking at something but interacting with these vehicles, getting in them or on them. It's something that people don't usually get to do."

The dragster Santamaria mentioned, a popular attraction at Heavy Metal in Motion, belongs to Adairsville High graduate Kelly Gray, who is now a quality engineer coordinator with Yanmar. The 24-year-old has been drag racing since the age of 14.

She displayed a Spitzer Supercomp Superpro Dragster at the event and allowed children to climb in for a photo courtesy of Gray Family Racing.

"We try to support the community as much as we can and inspire the kids to do well in school," Gray said. "That's always been our motto, Good Grades or Else."

Gray, a 2004 Jr. Dragsters track championship winner who now races twice a month up and down the east coast, reached more than 176 miles per hour in the vehicle completing the quarter mile in 7.62 seconds.

"They like it a lot. The [children] asked a lot of questions about how fast does it go and have I ever wrecked. The good grades motto and how does that work," Gray said. "We did photos so the kids could have a memory of seeing the car and being in the car for their personal benefit."