"Straw hat Gala"

August 1, 2009


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The Inaugural Season "Straw Hat Gala" celebration at HPR on Saturday August 1st was such a huge success, we're devoting this entire page to pictures of this grand event.  The day-long party and fund raiser will go down in HPR's history as a most memorable day.  Thanks to all who attended.  For those of you who couldn't be there, you missed fabulous party!  The weather was picture postcard perfect, in the low 80s with nary a cloud all day and only an occasional gentle breeze.  Fantastic!  If you took any neat pictures during the day, please send them to us and we'll try to post them.  Send them to   (Click on any image to enlarge.)
This aerial photo at left shows the great crowds attending the Inaugural Season "Straw Hat Gala."  The thousands able to attend were treated to a fun day with great weather and lots to do for the entire family.  HPR wishes to thank all those who attended, all the vendors, volunteer workers, and those who donated the exotic cars, Miata racecars, and cars and motorcycles for the show.  All combined for an historic and wonderful day.
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The Event Staff was well prepared  in the HPR Booth to receive the thousands of folks wishing to buy donation rides, tour rides, HPR regalia, and answer questions. About ten o'clock the crowds started gathering. And continued to swarm the paddock and all the vendors all day long. Krista May (of May Farms fame) is dwarfed by the  92.5 Wolf in the background.
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Vendors saw a constant flow of visitors all day long..  And the HPR Booth was busy all day selling regalia and rides in the Exotic cars. The Aerial Atom proved to be a very popular exotic ride, for good reason! 
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The Gala was the first opportunity to see the Commemorative Bricks for all Founding Contributors of $1,000 or more.  There are over 300 such donors who made HPR a reality. Something for everyone at the Gala.  The Face Painter stayed busy all day fulfilling  the dreams of kids. Uh Oh!  Prepare to get wet.  The Dunk Tank did a brisk business all day long.  Luke and Jill Hoffman had a blast with the tank. There was a fantastic turnout for the day's Car/Motorcycle Show.  A little bit of everything from customs, to drag racers, to just plain neat collectables of every age and description. There were over over 175 fine cars and motorcycles on display.  People's Choice trophies were awarded for nine different classes.  CLICK HERE to see a list of  the winners.
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Donations for rides in exotic cars was a huge success, with rides in all the exotics sold out.  Of course, rides in the Harry Mathews' McLaren Can-Am car were, as one happy rider said, "The best damn $250 I ever spent in my entire life." No doubt Greg Mathews gave all the riders the ride of their life. Other exotic rides (all sold out) included Porsches, Camero, a Audi R8 and others.  :The guys with the big cars have all the fun. Not sure if this is "Thanks for a great ride!" or "Please don't kill me." During the day the paddock was jam packed with spectators.   Crowd estimates for the entire day range from 3,000 to 4,000 people.  Many were first time visitors to the track and were, undoubtedly, bitten by the HPR bug to become future road racing junkies.
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The Spec Miatas all lined up and ready to go for the well-received Pro/Celebrity race in the afternoon.   See more great photos of the Pro/Celebrity race thru the lens of John Waugh The drivers in the  Pro/Celebrity Miata race: Randy Pobst, Andy Pilgrim, Phil McClure, Nick Ham, Adele Arakawa, Buzz Caulkins, Paul Dallenback   Attendees really enjoyed watching the extensive warm-up, practice and 20-lap Pro/Celebrity race. As advertised, fun for the whole family.  Kids had a great time.
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During the day there were several live auctions for things as varied as some ladies wear (modeled here by Erica Pederson and auctioned by Glenn Conser, HPR Track Manager).  During the morning  there were some really neat items auctioned  such a ride in a Murcielago 670-SV shipped in just for this Gala. The HPR classroom building has now been painted and decorated with an HPR sign and banners for all the wonderful Founding Sponsors of HPR.  The Audi R8 in  the foreground was one of the cars donated for exotic rides. Our thanks to Mike Pederson. Mark Mercer was kind enough to do a fly-over during the day with Jay Bonvouloir, a professional photographer, along to take these spectacular photos of the HPR paddock.    What a  day!!
Here's are but a a few of the crack Event Staff.  Left to right, Christine Jerritts, Anne Bonvouloir, Denise Longwell, Rome Chelsi, Bonnie Mortimer, Patricia Crowley, and Bob Alder. iHerrera_155-web.jpg (50593 bytes) 

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At the end of the day, Denise Longwell receives well-deserved congratulations for organizing and riding heard on the many volunteers who made the Gala a day to be remembered.  And how the heck she arranged for the fantastic weather is the subject of much speculation.

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