I’m pretty sure I’ve found a few different ways to say how much I enjoy Final Bout over the years. Keep in mind, I’m no stranger to running my mouth about car things I don’t like. Truth be told, one of the reasons I do that is so when I talk about the Final Bout without any gripes, you’ll know that I actually mean it. My only real complaint about anything to do with Final Bout is that it has almost ruined all regular drift events. That’s not entirely true, but it’s close enough to true for me to write and stand by.
Let’s do this one more time from the top. Six years ago, I visited Chicago on a whim. A few friends were going to drive a ClubFR event. A Chicago drifter let us crash at his place, and the-then stranger turned out to be Eric C. or as the internet knows him: “Chob” (or MrChob if you’re good at Instagram).
Chob toured us around Chicago for a few days before heading out to ClubFR Jam at USAIR Raceway in Shawano, Wisconsin. This first trip to the midwest changed the way I looked at drift cars and it also landed my friends (the Hotboyz) and I an invite to the first-ever Final Bout the following year.
Five years ago (a year after my first trip), I returned to Chicago and made the trip to USAIR for Final Bout. From there on out, I spent time either trying to go to Final Bout events or finding people to cover them for DODOlogic.
A lot has changed since the early years of Final Bout. People have grown up, gotten married, moved away, sold their cars and had kids. The days of me traveling to drift events are mostly behind me. If I’m being honest, a part of me felt like Final Bout Gallery would be the last major drift event I covered.
DODOlogic isn’t quite what it used to be, but even at the best of times, I was still paying out-of-pocket to visit all the events we covered. Grown-up responsibilities can sneak up on you rather quickly and make it hard to justify the frivolous spending.
In the end, I’m obviously glad I went to Final Bout Gallery. I mean, I wouldn’t have spent countless hours going through photos and prepping this article if I regretted it all…
Seeing your friends find the same joy that you found so many years ago is sort of what makes these events so cool and unexpected. In some ways, people could be “over it” by now, but they aren’t. Final Bout finds new ways to rekindle the joy of drifting every time they hold an event. I was reminded of just how much I still love this scene more than any other aspect of car culture.
I was in the peripherals of a lot of cool stuff over this weekend. It was a real lucky-to-be-along-for-the-ride type of situation. However, my favourite part of the whole event was the night time drifting – not because of the pictures I took, but rather because of the pictures I couldn’t take. It gave me the opportunity to put my camera down and watch the event. It gave me a chance to watch the people who inspired me and watch the people who inspired them. And later on that weekend, I watched them all tandem together in one giant train that I couldn’t even fathom how to capture…
It feels like something as good as Final Bout can’t last. I mean, it has the word “Final” in its name, but yet here we are talking about it again. I’m not sure what it takes to keep these events going, but as long as they’re willing to stay the course, then so am I.