The Pettys Make a Pit Stop in Lamar

Over 100 motorcycles, riders and support staff and vehicles from the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, rolled into Lamar for a fill-up at the Pit Stop on North Main Street Thursday morning.  Kyle and Richard Petty, plus Matt Kenseth, Donnie Allison and Rutledge Wood from the racing world, coupled with Herschel Walker of NFL fame, were all part of the 21st Anniversary Charity Ride Across America that came to Lamar for a brief lay-over.  The ride helps raise funds and awareness of Victory Junction, a camp created to help improve the lives of numerous children who suffer from chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

Lamar is one of the final stops on the seven leg journey that stretches between Santa Cruz, California to Branson, Missouri.  Some stops are for an overnight rest while the one on Thursday was to gas up, stretch some legs, eat some road food from The Pit Stop and mix with the crowd.  Over 100 residents managed to slip away from work for a while, during the 45 minute layover.  Debbie and the Pit Stop crew were ready for the riders, putting together a quick bite of breakfast biscuit, sausage, bacon and cheese, plus coffee and fruit drinks for the riders who were assembled on the parking area between The Pit Stop and Burger King.

Selfies, lots of selfies were going on as all the Pettys displayed equal measures of friendliness and business, making sure the rider’s needs were taken care of during their brief stay.  Kyle Petty explained how the ride benefits youngsters who use the camp, “The ride has become one of our largest fundraisers and we’ve benefitted the camp for about the last dozen years out of the 21 years we’ve been doing the rides.”  He added, “All the stops along the journey help promote awareness of what we’re trying to do for the camp.  We’re happy to do it and at every stop we’re always happy to see the turnout of our fans and the people who want to help support our drive.”

Lamar Police and Fire and Ambulance were on hand to direct traffic along the busy street while passers-by slowed to read some of the signs on the support vehicles to determine what was transpiring.  You know after 21 years and journeys, the logistics had all been mapped out before-hand.  Early arrivals manned the gas pumps while riders lined up for a quick-fill up for their tanks and then moved ahead out of the way of the riders to their rear.

Since 1995, more than 7,500 riders have traveled over 11 million cumulative miles on these trips, raising over $16 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities.

By Russ Baldwin

 

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