'Beat The Heat' drag racing set for Saturday in Ardmore

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Retired and active law enforcement officers from all over the country will meet in Ardmore this weekend for some high-speed racing action.

The organization is called Beat The Heat.

Law enforcement officers and other emergency responders take old law enforcement style cars and trick them out into drag racers.

Former trooper John Harris said he was with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for 29 and a half years and races in his 1980 Chevrolet Malibu.

He said this weekend is the annual World Finals, where the winner will be declared Top Cop.

"We've got guys from Canada, Florida, 16 different states that will be here with their cars," Harris said. "And we'll all be vying to be that Top Cop."

Beat The Heat's original mission was to educate young drivers about the dangers of illegal street racing.

Harris said many of the drivers, including himself, have worked horrific crash scenes that stemmed from street racing.

Beat The Heat has also added distracted and impaired driving to the mission as young drivers usually have cell phones.

Lieutenant Brad Thompson has seen the effect of major accidents in his 29 years with the Gainesville Fire Department.

"Hundreds of them," Thompson said. "I've cut a number of people out of cars with the jaws of life."

According to NHTSA, distracted driving killed more than 3,000 people in the U.S. in 2017.

"It's a big problem," Thompson said. "They need to understand that there's a time for it. There's a time not for it."

Thompson, who is the national president of Beat The Heat, said he has been around racing most of his life.

Anyone is welcome to race their own cars in the event if it means staying safe.

"Bring it to the track," Thompson said. "Race with us. Race in a controlled environment where there's safety equipment if something goes wrong. That's our whole goal: saving lives."

Races begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. and go throughout the day.

The Ardmore Dragway is north of Ardmore at 15793 U.S. 77
Ardmore, OK 73401.

Adult entry is $15. Kids 12 and younger are free.