Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – Seeing lots of youngsters at a local track. It’s one of the most important things that we need to see to keep the sport moving in a forward direction.
In a time period where there are so many different things that kids can do to occupy their time, it is vital that when they are at their local track that it will be a positive and memorable experience for them. The goal is to turn these youngsters into lifelong fans of the sport like so many of us have become.
When the 2023 OCFS Motorsports Show had their pageants, the three winners, Ms. OCFS 2023 Shelby-Jo Murphy, Junior Miss Rilee Davies and Little Miss Renee Tyler got together and started to put a plan in place for the new season.
What resulted was just an amazing job by these girls. Many race nights saw a group of young fans go home with a smile due to the work these girls did. And also, the involvement of racers and fans alike helped make it a great season for the OCFS girls.
“I just want to thank everyone who donated and made it possible to do so many giveaways to our fans,” said Shelby-Jo. “We received 39 different donations over the 16 events in 2023. Once the first one came in, it really took off.”
And it wasn’t just local people who noticed the work that the girls were putting forth.
“We had a couple of donations from people in the Lebanon Valley area, some drivers up there sent things.”
The girls put in much work for one of the big giveaway nights of the season, Bike Night.
“It was 105 bikes that were given away in 2023. Backpack Night was another big success as over 75 were distributed. We are so grateful to everyone who helped out this season. It brought out a lot of joy to a lot of kids. I know a few of the kids that came back after their first trip.”
Another big donation was made anonymously. A Go-Kart was donated and the girls were able to sell over $1,200 worth of raffle tickets that they spent on giveaways for Eastern States Weekend.
The 2023 Pageant was Shelby-Jo’s 3rd attempt to win the title. And it was a special night for her.
“I wanted to honor the memory of my nana, Doris Morris. I wore her t-shirt and jacket of her favorite, Carl Van Horn. I wanted to make her and my dad proud, we lost them 6 weeks apart. Seeing my mom’s smile when my name was announced was just awesome.”
Shelby-Jo also wants to thank two drivers who were very helpful to the team in 2023.
This year has brought us girls so many friendships with different drivers but two that stand out were Daniel Morgiewicz and Tyler Romer. Those two guys always asked what we had planned and were helping us girls with different ideas to do and always were just as excited as we were.”
Rilee had been Little Miss OCFS 2019. When the Junior Miss class was added for 2023, Rilee walked off with the crown.
One of the things that Rilee looks forward to when she’s at the track is hearing OCFS announcer Tim Pitts do one of his famous calls, “Oh baby, baby baby.’
Rilee is great friends with just about all the Street Stock competitors, especially her favorite, Charlie Donald.
Renee had tried to win the Little Miss OCFS for a couple of years and got the crown for 2023. Renee is the daughter of Modified racer, Danny Tyler.
All three of these girls did a fantastic job for OCFS in 2023. They deserve all plaudits that come their way. And Shelby-Jo is grateful for the opportunities they had and the assistance they received.
“I want to thank Christina Contento of the Kids Club and Doug Dulgarian of the OCFS staff.’ Shelby-Jo said. “They helped us make our goals and it was great to have some intermission autograph sessions like in the past. I would also like to thank the photographers who we worked with in 2023, their photos were amazing.”
There were a lot of special moments for the OCFS girls in 2023. Hopefully, they made some great memories while going about their duties. Bravo to the team!!