A Bucket List Moment...

Old 10-18-2016, 09:08 AM
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Harbone
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Default A Bucket List Moment...

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]Saturday October 15 2016 in Ennis Texas at the Texas Motorplex, the Drag Racing Association of Women held our annual fundraising auction. Usually hosted by retired NHRA annoouncer Bob Frey and current NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart. That evening Alan was stuck working late so Bob ended up bringing over new NHRA announcer Brian Lohnes. If none of you are familiar with Brian, he and Chad Reynolds started the website Bangshift.com in 2009 and that machine has grown into the giant beast it is today. I have been a HUGE Bangshift fan since 2010 and was in total awe when Brian showed up to assist Bob with the duties of the auction. The night was great with Shirley Muldowney showing up, she is the reason DRAW was formed back in 1985. Shirley in an inspirational moment took off her necklace that she received in 1982 as the Car Craft Driver of the Year Award and let DRAW auction it off! Also there was John Force, Jack Beckman, Bo Butner, Stan & Sheila Holt, Rodger & Karen Comstock and a ton of other racers, fans and DRAW members. The event was great to say the least and we raised a bunch of money to help out injured racers and crew members. By 10 pm the auction was over, people were cashing out and picking up their items. In the area in front of the stage stood Bob, Alan and Brian just chatting. I took that moment to thank all three of them for taking their personal time to help DRAW at the auction. Next thing you know Bob is telling stories about some of the greats in drag racing history. I realized then I was in the conversation with 3 generations of NHRA announcers. My wife came over and got in the conversation along with our friend and DRAW Board member Nancy Ross. Soon Bob had to go so we all moved over to the tables in front of the bar and sat down with drag racing legend and Texas Motorplex owner Billy Meyer. I can not say enough about Billy and his wife Deborah for all they have done for DRAW over the years and giving us the use of the Champions Club for DRAW's annual fund raising auction. So now the stories were rolling from Billy, Alan kept was grabbing beers and we were all just locked in on every word coming from Billys mouth. The one I think was most impressed was Brian and to hear Alan tell Billy that he may not know Brain now but in 10 years he will. I thought Brain was going to fall off his chair. Brian was asking questions that almost sounded like an interview and was loving every minute of it. By 11;30 all who was left in the Champions club was Billy, Alan, Brian, myself, my wife Karla, Nancy and DRAW Division 3 representative Theresa Tilford. Billy then told the story of a horrific fire he had in 1977 at the NHRA Le Grand Nationals in Montreal Canada. Brian had actually touched on this story a little earlier but Billy told the whole thing from beginning to end. How nobody at the hospital spoke English and he wanted out. Donnie Couch, who was crewing for Billy at the time, called up Connie Kalitta to help. Connie showed up with a gutted out transport jet, Billy was tied down with ratchet straps and Donnie was sitting on a bucket in the back they then took off directly into a storm. Billy was telling this story along with some colorful language and some great impressions of Connie. If you search the Bangshift sight you can find a detailed account told by Donnie Couch (without the language and Connie impressions) along with some photos taken by Bob Boudreau at the top end. So Billy finished the story telling how they did safely make it to Michigan and that he "had never been so happy to be in a burn unit in his life". It was now midnight, we were all tired. I again thanked Billy, Alan and Brian for all they did for DRAW that evening. As I loaded the ladies in the truck for the drive back to the hotel I realized that I had just had a "bucket list" moment that was not on my "bucket list". I had sat with legends of the sport, past current and present, got to listen to some great stories and have a cold one, all after raising thousands of dollars that goes to help injured drag racers and crew members in the name of the Drag Racing Association of Women. Life is good...





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Old 10-19-2016, 03:23 AM
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curtisreed
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Very cool stuff Chris. Sounds like a once in a lifetime chance.

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