By Sam Stoecklin
MSFS Public Relations
August 12, 2012
It was just over two years ago on August 6, 2010 when officers representing several different genres of the law enforcement profession gathered at the ‘Historic Half Mile’ that is Missouri State Fair Speedway to raise funds for the Special Olympics. In three events, law enforcement officers have raised over $80,000 for Special Olympics. This year’s event marks the third time that officers have gathered for this highly anticipated event. This Sunday, the Battles cars will return for exciting heat race action along with a main event to crown the Battle of the Badges Missouri State Fair Champion.
For the past 27 years Law Enforcement personnel have raised funds for Special Olympics; however, the Battle of the Badges race is far and away the most exciting event in which funds are raised for this special cause. The effort supports over 15,000 Missouri Special Olympics Athletes. Teams were established and competition among competitors ensued to see who could raise the most funds for this special cause leading into the special event.
Participating officers have diligently worked on their team entries for this event in which each driver will compete in Ford Crown Victoria automobiles that give a “cop car” look to each entrant. Event trophies will go to the feature event winner as well as second and third place. In addition, accolades will be handed out to the ‘Hard Charger’ and to the team that raises the most money for Special Olympics.
The last time the ‘Battles’ cars appeared at the speedway the officers brought a large contingent of fans to the track to cheer on their favorites among the 21 cars on hand. Sergeant Steve Weaver took home the trophy for most money raised in 2010, while the lone female competitor, Capt. Zim Schwartze, representing the Columbia PD came away with best in show and best looking driver. Senior Deputy Officer Jason Conn took home the hard charger award while the Jefferson County team took home the longest distance traveler award. After a few cautions late in the event, in the end it was Sergeant Weaver who came away with the victory.
This year, the St. Louis County Police Department will compete in two cars. Behind the wheel of the #34 car will be Captain Mike Dierkes while Office Dan Schroeder will pilot the #43 entry. “Jack Voracek (St. Louis County Highways and Traffic Supervisor Mechanic) has donated his time and money in helping build car #43 this year” stated officer Schroeder. “Without his help and support we would not have a second car to race for this honorable cause. I have decided to dedicate this car to his late grandfather, Corporal Charles E. Voracek, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty on 8/28/1952. I have also placed a tribute to his grandfather on the hood of the car.” The team has many supporters it wishes to thank for making their battle possible, including Electronic Tracking Systems, Shapiro Steel, Southern Metals, NAPA and the South County Police Business Association.
Jason Worthley will participate in his third Battle event this year. The first year Worthley participated as a Water Patrolmen but this year after the merger of the Water Patrol and the Highway Patrol he represents Troop F, Zone 6 as a Missouri State Trooper. Worthley refers to the unfortunate incident in which his good friend, Trooper Fred Guthrie lost his life in the floodwaters in Northwest Missouri as inspiration for his participation in this year’s event.
“Fred was on the SWAT team with me, he a good friend to all of us. I started to build a car in memory of him but changed the theme to pay tribute to all the Troopers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. My car will have the names of every Trooper who has paid the Ultimate Sacrifice and the names will be down the side of my car.”
“None of this would be possible without the help of my sponsors. They loved the idea and handed over money to help me get started. Along with getting my own sponsors I have also obtained sponsors who need to be recognized. They are as follows: Springfield Armory, they donated new XDs pistol to give to the race winner. Gearforsports.com donated Under Armor gear to give to the second and third place finishers, while Snap-On Tools donated a package to be given to the driver who raises the most money for the event. Surdyke Yamaha and Marina in Osage Beach, Springfield Armory, and Pepsi, who donated banners for Event Sponsors, also played a big role in our entry for this event.”
The theme at the fair this year is ‘Then and Now’ and race fans will have a taste of this theme as they make their way to the speedway when a piece of local race history will be on display with the McCown #96 car owned by CT Jacobi on display for all to see. Race Receivers are required for all classes. Drivers are reminded that there will not be Race Receivers for sale or rent at the track, all drivers will need to bring their own. ASCS 360 Sprints, MLRA Late Models, and Modifieds make up the exciting competition during the championships along with the officers in the Battle of the Badges!
Visit the speedway’s official website at www.missouristatefairspeedway.com or search and like the speedway on Facebook. On race night, pit gates will open at 3 p.m., admission gates open at 4:30; hot laps take place at 5:30 with racing getting underway at 6 p.m. General Admission – $18, Senior & Military – $15, Kids 6-12 – $8, Five & under free; all pit passes are $25.