An Alaska Independence Day Tradition - the Glacier View Car Huck

Glacier View, Alaska, near the Car Huck location. (Credit: Ward Clark)

Consult a sunrise-sunset time table, look at the figures for Sutton, Alaska on Independence Day, and you’ll see that it doesn’t get dark enough for fireworks. Here in the Susitna Valley, you will hear a few desultory pops and whooshes as the folks who invested at the famous Gorilla Fireworks shop in Big Lake run through their supply. New Year’s Eve is the big fireworks holiday here, when it gets dark at about 4 PM and stays dark until almost 10 AM the following day; on that night, the fireworks light up the sky all around nearby Nancy Lake.


But in Sutton, Alaska, there’s an Independence Day tradition that doesn’t rely on darkness: The Glacier View Fourth of July Car Huck.

In Alaska, this time of year, there’s barely any darkness at nighttime at all. This morning, sunrise in Anchorage was at 4:33 AM and sunset is at 11:35 PM. The time in between if followed by lengthy periods of twilight where it barely gets dark.

This is a problem for Alaskans who want to enjoy fireworks like the lower 48. Shooting off fireworks is best at night.

Without any real semblance of nighttime, Alaskans have adapted to participating in the annual Glacier View ‘Car Huck’ where cars are launched off a mountain and explode down below. The Alaska car launch or ‘Car Huck’ is perhaps one of the greatest traditions in America and those of us in the lower 48 might never get to see it in person.

It just goes to show you — North, South, or anywhere else, crazy rednecks will always be crazy rednecks. I should know; I grew up amongst them. And I’m speaking as a guy who, the first time I heard one of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck” routines, realized that I had either done most of the things he described or knew someone who had. “Hold my beer and watch this” was an inescapable aspect of growing up in northeast Iowa in the Seventies.

One of the things we rednecks are good at, by the way, is finding interesting ways to entertain ourselves and others.


This annual event is held in the tiny town of Glacier View, Alaska with a population of 375 residents (up from 234). Technically, Glacier View is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Area despite being a 2-hour drive away in good weather conditions.

Each year on the 4th of July, people visit Glacier View for the Car Huck where cars are sent careening off a 300-foot cliff with spectators down below to watch the incredible crashes.


A van being ‘hucked’ at Glacier View. (Credit: YouTube/Tyler Sutcliffe)

How does it work, you ask? Because I was a little curious myself. I can’t quite see anyone telling a friend, “Here, hold my beer,” and driving a vehicle off the cliff himself, although back about 1978, I knew a guy who took a 1967 Mustang up to about 100mph on the state highway and yanked the wheel to “see how many times he could roll it” (six) and came out of it with a broken collarbone, a broken arm, a dislocated shoulder and a bunch of broken ribs — and a big boost to his reputation.

No, the Car Huck works differently.

My first thought was maybe they lock the steering wheels in place and someone places a brick on the gas pedal for the Car Huck but that seems wildly dangerous. I looked into it, and according to Fox 6 Now the cars are rigged up to “a rail system and rigged to accelerate on their own”.

It’s not uncommon for the vehicles to dislodge from the rail system and go tumbling around uncontrollably.

The event first began in 2005 when Arnie Hrncir created the Car Huck as a way to honor the military. He told the local news last year “This is just an appreciation for our military, the ones that have retired and the ones that are still active.” They also encourage locals to spraypaint the cars in patriotic colors before they’re demolished which seems like an odd way to honor the military and country, to be honest.


If you’re interested, you can check out next year’s Car Huck at the Glacier View River Retreat’s Facebook page. Here are some highlights from this year’s event.






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