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SORC seeks second venue

September 29, 2011

More than 70 residents of Thomas and Blaine County attended a meeting in the Halsey gym Sept. 21, to discuss the possibility of expanding the Sandhills Open Road Challenge to the Halsey/Purdum area. While residents at the meeting supported the idea, the county commissioners still must approve it.

HALSEY - - The Sandhills Open Road Challenge (SORC) board of directors, came to the Halsey Elementary School gym Sept. 21 to invite area residents to “grab the chance to enhance your economy.” Since its conception, SORC has stimulated a positive economic impact to Custer County. Board members Joe Shown, Donny Olson, Clay Mohr, and Alan, Becky and Brock Dailey, came to invite the residents of Thomas and Blaine counties to do the same.
Joe Shown, with the aid of a video presentation produced by Arnold students, explained what SORC is, the rules governing its annual occurrence and how they (the board) would assist in getting a similar road race to happen along the 14 mile stretch of paved road between Halsey, in Thomas County and Purdum, in Blaine County
“These drivers and their families come from all over. There are only three such races in the United States - Nevada, Texas and Nebraska. Drivers who attend all three have complimented us on being the best.
“It is due primarily to the friendliness and hospitality of the people here.” Joe explained. “Anything we can do to help keep them in central Nebraska a little longer has a huge positive impact on the economics of our communities.”
Becky went on to comment that Arnold looks forward to this race every year.
“Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is like welcoming family back. They love to come to Nebraska. They love the wide open spaces and the hospitality shown.”
“The first step is going to the county commissioners in both counties and getting the permission to close the road for most of the day,” Becky explained. “Land owners must all be on board with this. Several were hesitant at first, but when all the questions concerning liability and such were answered, they too showed their support. SORC covers all the aspects of insurance.”
Joe added, “The number one priority is safety – for the drivers, the spectators, the volunteers. Anyone helping with the race is covered. “
“Volunteers are the key”. Joe continued. “If you do not have enough of them, this will not be successful.”
It was estimated 20 volunteers alone will be needed along the route during the race.
“Again, for safety’s sake, every aspect of that road must have eyes on it.”
Joe passed around sign-up sheets in the audience for those willing to step up and help make this race possible. Thomas County Sheriff Gary Eng, was concerned with the small number of EMTs the two counties have, if something were to happen requiring medical personnel. The SORC board members stated they would have some of their volunteers on hand.
“Thomas County Fire and Rescue and EMTs have volunteered their help on the main race day for years, I think we can reciprocate,” said Joe.
After the meeting, Red Chrisitensen invited those interested to form a committee to attend the upcoming SORC meeting. Even though the commissioners have not had the chance to endorse this event, the 70-plus residents at the meeting appeared to.
If you would like more information, or would like to volunteer to be a part of this new leg of SORC, contact Red Christensen or Dave Masek.

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