Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Post image for Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Yep it has been awhile since I last wrote a blog. One reason is the flood of Lakeside Speedway took some of my passion away from writing, another reason is quite simply I had writer’s block. Everything going through my thoughts was negative and does not belong on a piece of paper or electronic media. But I am back with a message born from the January C.A.R.B. meeting. That message is ringing loud and clear to me, I hope it rings loud and clear to others – IT IS TIME FOR BACK (our racing history) TO THE FUTURE (A HALL OF FAME MUSEUM BUILDING IN KANSAS CITY).

To get there, though, we have to put away our “me, me, me” attitudes which permeates our sport. To everyone reading this blog, “WE, WORKING AS A TEAM” can accomplish our dream of a Hall of Fame Museum Building. As you may or may not know, C.A.R.B. established a Hall of Fame in 2004. It required a ton of work from several different volunteers to establish the Hall of Fame. But a ton of work was accomplished and C.A.R.B. has announced to the general membership of the club and is preparing a press release to announce the NINTH class of the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to those eight inductees.

From the very first class, when the Roberts family donated $5,000 to purchase a trailer (thank you Rick Beebe) and display the Hall of Fame material it has always been the goal to establish a museum building. Work towards that end of the goal began in earnest in 2010 when C.A.R.B. held the drawing for the El Camino (thank you Mike and Kyle Johnson). This past year thanks to the Christy family another drawing was held for a factory stock/stock car, in addition to an auction. If this was a railroad, then a least the Hall of Fame museum is on the track, but we have only begun to roll. In Back to the Future III movie lore, we need to reach 88 miles per hour and we need the catalyst to push this train to that speed.

It is obvious the racing community has the passion to make this happen. David Isaacs was the guest speaker at the January C.A.R.B. meeting. He challenged C.A.R.B. to push forward with the Hall of Fame museum. Along with all our other guest speakers for the last two years there is a wonderful and rich racing history in this area. All of the guest speakers have brought history alive, theirs and others.

From the first class inducted into the Hall of Fame to the current class to be inducted everyone wants a museum. Luther Brewer, a 2010 inductee, recanted to his daughter after leaving the Hall of Fame ceremony how great it would be to have a museum. Junior Hower, original inductee in 2004, now in his late 80s calls to advise of buildings available. Joan and Clyde Ellis are searching for a building. The drag racing community wants to be a part of this and have their own corner. Passion is overflowing for this museum.

Our challenge though lies in channeling the passion and working as a team. There is plenty of talent in the Midwest to make this happen. There is plenty of passionate people in the local racing community willing to work towards this goal. All are willing to help us reach the 88 miles per hour and shoot to the future.

We have to get out of the way, though, of our pettiness. We have to quit saying, I, mine, my, and work as a team saying, us, ours, we. Who cares how it happens just as long as it happens. We have to learn cooperation and compromise and working together. We have to get over grudges, learn to apologize when necessary, learn to eat crow, because this is not about us as individuals, it is about us as a racing family. We can do it, there are way too many of us that have a passion for this Hall of Fame Museum.

The next step for the Hall of Fame is to become a 501c(3) entity. Once this occurs it opens the world to tax deductible contributions. The current organization C.A.R.B. is a 501c(7), a social club, and donations are not tax deductible. This requires the assistance of an attorney, a new non profit corporation, new bylaws, a new constitution and a board of directors.

After the Hall of Fame is established as a 501c(3), then another phase will open – fundraising. As mentioned above C.A.R.B. has been fundraising with drawings and an auction, but that is just the start. 501c(3) fundraising involves the collecting of donations, both large and small, individual and corporate, holding benefit auctions, issuing tax receipts, maintaining outstanding bookkeeping, selling others on our dream, our goal, our Back to The Future Delorean (the museum). This will take a team of volunteers, a team of salesmen, a team not afraid to hear the words “no”. Quite honestly we should be good at this because what we are looking for are sponsors. What other sport relies as much on sponsors as our sport. Who knows along the way we might find a sponsor or two for our local racecars. Never hurts to dream.

While the fundraising is ongoing another team of individuals can work with local governments and politicians. Remember, Kansas Speedway would not be where it is without the hard work and dedication of Carol Marinovich, then Mayor of the Kansas City Unified Government. Remember, Kansas City Missouri lost a golden opportunity to have the speedway located just northeast of the airport. There is an ongoing battle between cities and states for businesses, what if our museum became one of those battles? Could we obtain tax benefits, land benefits, building benefits? Doesn’t hurt to dream does it?

That is part of what Junior Hower has been calling and pushing me to do. He wants to get the city involved. Sound crazy, maybe not, what if we presented to the city an opportunity to build a racetrack, a drag strip, and our museum and with those entities put people to work and add to the tax base? Sound crazy? Crazier ideas have become reality.

Back (our history) to the Future (our museum) can be reality. For those reading this respond with your talent and how you can help. The responses will help those working this project to determine when and how to use your talents. Maybe you don’t even know your talent but volunteer and someone will contact you. You can be a part of bringing Back to the Future to Kansas City.

J D Green

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