Remote Control Car Racing Event Gives Shopping Fun to Children in Foster Care
It’s about people stepping up and helping make their community become a better place – especially for children.
Karl Wikman always wanted to get into remote control car racing. But when he was a child, it was just too expensive. The cars cost from about $100 to $1,500. Then there’s also costs to enter races. But now, as an adult, he said he “can afford to have some toys.” He races Wednesday nights and Sundays at Junction City’s Superior RC racetrack.
If you’ve never heard of this sport, called RC Racing, you’re probably not alone, even though there are many racetracks in Oregon where participants race several times a week. Radio-controlled vehicles are modeled after cars and trucks. The cars are one-tenth or 10 times smaller than the size of the actual vehicle. They race year-round on an indoor track with special carpeting. The track has jumps, hills, curves and tight corners. The cars are often airborne as they zig, zag and careen around the track at top speeds.
But here’s what grew out of Wikman’s love for RC Racing – a great fundraising event for children in foster care and other children in need.
Here’s how it happened. Two guys, who also were RC Racers, Tim Davis from Creswell and Jobi Withers from Harrisburg, were brainstorming about creating a project to help the community.
“How could we give back to a community through RC and for the track? How do we get stuff to kids in need?,” Davis, said. He is the owner of Apollo Laser, which does engraving on items such as tumblers and leather patches.
Then the two men ran into Wikman at the Junction City racetrack. They knew he works for the Oregon Department of Human Services as a Child Protective Services Supervisor.
“We asked him if he had the means to take a donation and to get it into the kids’ hands?,” Withers said.
This was the beginning of improving and building community well-being – taking the initiative to create an event to help children.
They decided to hold a charitable fundraising event centered around RC Racing, called Stuff the Stockings. This event will take place Saturday, December 3, 2022, at Superior RC racetrack. Every entrant will donate a $35 gift card per race, which will be given to children in foster care and others in need. The cards would be for local places where children could buy what they want. Originally, they were hoping to get around 50 participants. They’re now expecting about 100 participants and many of them are likely to enter multiple races, which means a lot of gift cards for kids.
“We were also looking for donations from some people and businesses in the community, from hobby shops and from some of the big names in racing — you know, things like t-shirts, stickers, hats,” Davis said.
National companies like Team Associated, Amain Hobbies and JConcepts made donations to the raffle. Many local companies have jumped in to help also such as Speed Freak, RC Plus, Northwest BMX and Vision racing. Due to this outpouring of support, they got a lot more donations than they asked for: remote control cars worth $1,000 or more a piece; three chainsaw wood carvers; racings kits; even a professional scooter and other big-ticket items. The track’s owner is donating the track for the day. Withers’ employer, Reese Landscape is providing a free lunch for all the racers. Even the race announcer is donating his time.
They are all bowled over by the support they have pulled in for the Stuff the Stockings event.
“The community has really come behind us,” Davis said.
Withers pointed out that all the money raised goes to the children.
“Resource parents do the work in caring for children but not everybody has money to get their child in care what they want. Sometimes they need hygiene supplies, a toy, stuffed animals – having a gift card gives the children the freedom and the choice to get what they want,” Wikman said.
The three men are also wanting to promote this fun and exciting hobby.
“It’s one of few things as a grown up that gets my heart racing. You see grown men trembling, trying to win. But afterwards we shake hands and laugh and have fun,” Wikman said.
And it’s not just for grownups. Kids compete also.
“Some kids don’t go the route of ball and stick sports. Young people learn a lot through RC. It’s not easy. You have to control the car and put it where you want it to be while eight other people are trying to go faster than you. One of fastest guys I know, just learned to do his times tables,” Davis said.
All are welcome to come watch the races for free. You only have to donate if you want to participate in the race and the raffle. People who can not make it the event but would like to help the cause can contact Karl Wikman: Karl.P.WIKMAN@dhsoha.state.or.us; 541-952-1886.
Event: Stuff the Stockings
Where: Superior RC, 125 E Fourth Avenue Junction City, OR
When: Saturday December 3, 2022, Doors open at 9 a.m.; Racing starts at 11 a.m.