Chili Bowl Adapts To Hold Its First Event During COVID-19

Wednesday, January 13th 2021, 6:24 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

This year’s Chili Bowl is the first one to take place during a pandemic, and organizers are working hard to keep race fans safe while still encouraging fun.

"It's all I do, it's all I think about,” Rico Abreu said.

Abreu from Saint Helena California loves to race. He said 2021 will be his 10th year competing in the Chili Bowl.

Abreu said he needs to win first or second place Wednesday night to qualify for the Chili Bowl Championship this weekend. With around 65 other drivers competing tonight, Abreu said he'll need to be on his "A" game.

"It's all about winning that Golden Driller on Saturday,” Announcer Bryan Hulbert said.

Hulbert said with a pandemic going on, the event helps bring back some normalcy to Tulsa.

To help stop the spread, Hulbert said they've reduced their general seating capacity to 25% and limited pit passes. Hulbert said anyone who walks inside must wear a mask. Hulbert said security monitors the events, and those who refuse to wear masks must leave. They’ve also placed sanitation stations around Expo Center.

"We have had to only escort one person out and everyone for the most part has done a fantastic job." Hulbert said.

Abreu said for him and his team, racing is their livelihood. He said even the pandemic won't stop them from doing what they love.

"It’s important people come out and support this race,” Abreu said.

Hulbert believes folks will continue to do a good job of following the mask rule even as they draw closer to Saturday's championship event.