Maybe it was the cries of the kids as they gleefully smashed their remote controlled cars into the plastic barriers, or the patient smiles of the parents, or the colorful cones and banners that lent Fundemonium its festive air on Sunday for their monthly R/C Outdoor Racing event. It’s hard to point to any one thing.
People from all across Sonoma County descended on the Fundemonium parking lot to gather together for the little known hobby of R/C racing.
“I have too many cars, as my wife would say,” said Stephen Buttrick.
Buttrick first got into the hobby at 15 when he accidentally broke his brother’s R/C truck. His brother forced him to replace it, but in doing so he got Buttrick started in the sport. Now Buttrick is sharing his passion with his two sons.
“Ethan is the older one, he’s almost five, and he’s starting to work on his own R/C car,” Buttrick said. “So it’s up to me to teach him everything—all the little tricks that I know. And of course make sure we don’t break it so Mom doesn’t get upset.”
Most people were like Buttrick who came to the sport while young, but for others like Walter Alexander it was the chance to spend quality time with their kid that drew them in and kept them interested.
“It’s good father and son time,” said Alexander. “It’s something we’re both into. There’s a competition to it and it’s just good outdoor fun. I like working on my own truck, so I guess working on these is the same thing only smaller and less expensive.”
Smaller and less expensive is a major selling point on a vehicle that can go over 60 miles an hour and be legally controlled by a 10-year-old. In fact, for many of the kids attending the event, crashing seemed to be most of the draw.
“We have a saying ‘round these parts: If you don’t break it once in a while then you’re not having enough fun,” said Fundemonium’s owner, Steven Elliott.
Elliott and his wife have been in business in Rohnert Park for about four years now. Before then they were in Petaluma and they moved north for the chance to expand their square footage and to provide a more communal area. Gatherings like the R/C Outdoor Race are incredibly important to Elliott and harken back to why he and his wife started the business in the first place.
“When I was a kid I was into scale plastic modeling and it was really hard to meet other people that liked doing that. I always wanted to have a place where you could find others and share that experience,” Elliott said.
For those that wish to dive into R/C hobby, the Redwood Empire R/C Ground Pounders meet on the second Tuesday of every month here in Rohnert Park.