Belt sander racing is a longstanding tradition in Port Aransas, Texas. Lively crowds of locals and visitors gather together to cheer on their favorite belt sander in these miniature drag races. Below is a quick Q&A with everything you need to know before you head off to the races!
What are belt sander races?
Probably the most frequently asked question when it comes to belt sander racing is “what is it?” The simplest answer to that question is…exactly what it sounds like. Two racers, armed with power tools, competitive spirit, and extra-long extension cords, face off in a micro race. The contestants place their belt sanders into parallel, narrow wooden racing tracks, switch ‘em on at signal time, and watch them zoom! The belt sander that reaches the end of the track first wins.
Where can I watch a belt sander race?
In Port Aransas, belt sander races are hosted by The Gaff, the “Birthplace of Texas Belt Sander Racing.” The Gaff is a beloved local pub that has been hosting the races since 2005. Besides drinks and good times, The Gaff is also known for their “you-choose-toppings” pizza. If you’re lucky, there will also be live music on race day, so stick around and enjoy the full experience!
When are the races held?
Belt sander races take place every second and fourth Saturday of the month, twelve months a year. The only exception is in case of bad weather, because the races are an outdoor event. To account for heat, they are held at 6 p.m. during the summer months and 3 p.m. during the cooler months. Check The Gaff Facebook page to see upcoming dates and times.
Can kids go?
Yes! Kids are more than welcome to join in the whooping and hollering for their favorite belt sander aficionado. Some families have been attending races since their children were small, and those kids are now some of the most exuberant fans in the audience!
Should I bring my own chair?
A limited number of picnic tables and chairs are available for guests, but you are encouraged to bring your own chair if you so desire.
Is there anything else I should know?
The Gaff isn’t just a bar! As a bonus, they will soon be opening a fruit and juice bar called “hair of the dog” that will be open and available every Friday through Sunday from 8 to 11 a.m.
Often, there is live music entertainment at The Gaff alongside the belt sander races. The combination of the music and the races makes for a must-do experience in Port Aransas. For a full schedule of live music around the island, visit Port A Live.