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Horsepower For Hope helps Camp Hope vets

Despite heavy rain Saturday that forced a one-day postponement of the 4th Annual Horsepower For Hope fundraiser for Camp Hope, the event turned out to be success and most everybody who drove out Saturday returned Sunday to race.

Event coordinator Shawna Pettus — the wife of Joe Pettus, owner of the fundraiser’s sponsor, Auto Plaza Group, —  said they had to postpone it a day two years ago also.

Racers compete for a $5,000 purse, which is one of the largest amounts of money in the area for a race.

Racers compete for a $5,000 purse, which is one of the largest amounts of money in the area for a race.

“We were waiting and the radar was looking like it was clearing up, but we kept having storms bubble up, so we made that call,” said Pettus. “All of our racers came back and we had a few that had some things to do but most everybody came back and they traveled quite a ways back home and made the trip back to Bonne Terre. We were very thankful for that.”

Pettus said they had a big tire/small tire shootout and last year they did a $5,000 purse, but this year they doubled it.

“We split it into two classes this year, so its $5,000 in each class, which is a huge, huge payout,” said Pettus. “It’s one of the larger races in Missouri with that kind of money, so we are really grateful for the racers who showed up and participated. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Pettus said every year they donate to Camp Hope, which is a veterans organization outside of Farmington. She explained Mike and Galia White lost their son Christopher in Afghanistan.

“They took the money from the government and went ahead and invested it in a place they could honor our fallen, by healing our wounded, in honor of their son Christopher,” said Pettus. “It’s a really beautiful organization.”

Pettus said this is their fourth year for the event and it has grown larger and larger with each passing year. People have been really receptive to it and it’s something people look forward to every year.

The stands fills with spectators Sunday afternoon during the Horsepower For Hope event to benefit Camp Hope.

The stands fills with spectators Sunday afternoon during the Horsepower For Hope event to benefit Camp Hope.

“Our spectators help raise the money for Camp Hope,” said Pettus. “We don’t make money on the racing, the racing is the entertainment. So we pretty much break even on the racing and then we sell food and drink. A lot of Auto Plaza Group volunteers are all around. They work at our dealerships.”

Pettus said they are running the kitchen, the gate and were all over helping out. She added friends and family members also helped with the event.

“So we make money on food and beverage and on spectator fees,” said Pettus. “All of that goes to Camp Hope. We are also selling merchandise this year so all those proceeds go to Camp Hope. We are also doing a 50/50.”

Pettus wanted to thank the racers and the Bonne Terre Drag Strip for allowing them to host this event. She said they did an amazing job and were very accommodating.

“I want to thank my volunteers, there are a ton of people who come out year after to year to help us,” Pettus said. “It’s a hot long day and we ask a lot of them and they still continue to come back. I want to thank the spectators as well, without them we couldn’t raise money for Camp Hope.”

For more information on the event visit the Auto Plaza Group on Facebook page.

A large crowd turns out Sunday for Horsepower For Hope after it was postponed a day due to the rain.</p><p class=

View additional photos online at dailyjournalonline.com” width=”800″ /> A large crowd turns out Sunday for Horsepower For Hope after it was postponed a day due to the rain.

View additional photos online at dailyjournalonline.com

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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