LAURINBURG — A wide expanse of grass and dirt was on Friday transformed into a miniature village.
Vendors were setting up, a stage was under construction, and campers were moving in for a weekend of mud-slinging — and to witness tonight’s performance by country music rapper Colt Ford.
Mike Evock, owner of Outback MotorSports Complex, said the event is expected to draw 8,000 people to the ATV and dirt bike track off McGirt’s Bridge Road in Laurinburg.
“It was one of my guy’s ideas, and we just put in the word to him and everything just kind of fell into place,” he said.
The event begins with exhibition races from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Opening acts will take the stage at dusk, and Ford is expected to perform after nightfall. Tickets can be purchased at outbackmotorsports.ticketleap.com for $20, or at the door for $25.
Ford has released four albums under the label Average Joes Entertainment, which he co-founded. Six of his songs have hit top country charts in Billboard magazine.
Paul and Lisa Whitley and their black Labrador retriever Dala, named after NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, made the two-hour drive from New London with their four-wheeler and camper in tow. The two are regulars at the ATV park, and bought tickets to the show two months in advance.
“It’s Colt Ford,” Lisa said with a grin. “That’s all I can say.”
Jeff Manning, of Laurinburg, was busy setting up picnic tables in front of The Smokin’ Pig barbecue truck.
“We’re tired, but we’re happy and excited,” he said. “Anything like this that we can bring to Laurinburg is a good thing.”
Cory Hughes, executive director of Scotland County’s Tourism Development Authority, was hoping advertising placed as far as Wilmington would pay off.
“Obviously we’re excited about the crowd that’s coming in,” he said. “… We’re hoping it’s drawing a lot of folks who haven’t been to Laurinburg in the past. It’s going to draw a younger crowd that maybe a lot of our events haven’t targeted, those in the 18-25 range.
“I’m excited by the number, but I’m excited also about the new faces we’ll see and people who will get the opportunity to experience our town.”
The concert is the first of what Evock hopes will be many at the complex. Since Evock took ownership of the park nearly two years ago, the track has attracted motor sports enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada.
For information, visit outbackmotorsportscomplex.com or call 910-916-2115.