On Sunday, sunny skies greeted the families who came out to enjoy Christmas in July, an event made possible by the efforts of the Old Bradford Speedway and The Era’s Less Fortunate (ELF) Fund.
The speedway also held Autograph Night.
The ELF Fund and the speedway offered a chance for up to 100 children ages 16 and under, along with one adult each, to be admitted to the race track free for the event.
“We filled our quota of 100 kids,” said Rhonda Gray, ELF Fund board member.
As a bonus, race car driver Bill McKinney from McKinney Automotive gave rides to three of the young people who came out for the event: Harper Mitchell, 7, of Smethport; Jaeden Tarr, 10, of Olean, N.Y.; and Jasmine Stone, 15, of Smethport.
McKinney bought the car from driver CJ Irons, who gave three children race car rides at the inaugural event in 2018.
He explained that when he bought the car from Irons, it was a two-seater. McKinney still had the seat, so when he was contacted about taking some children out for a spin in between races, he was happy to do it.
“It means a lot,” said McKinney of the chance to bring joy to local children. “I love going out of my way for anything for kids,” he added, explaining he is glad the event gets children out to the speedway and gives them a chance to do things they can’t do all the time.
Riding in a race car is a special treat for the youths.
“They get a big smile on their face when they get in there and get going around,” McKinney said.
All of the children received a free meal, a checkered flag souvenir and the chance to choose a gift from a Christmas tree. Each could choose a free book, too.
The ELF Fund also arranged to have C L McKeirnan Bus Garage in Smethport transport families from Bradford to the Old Bradford Speedway.