NEW WESTON, Ohio – A steady rain on the first day of summer made mud puddles on the dirt track at Eldora Speedway. But blood donors found the perfect pit stop to avoid the rain drops at the Eldora Ballroom Blood Drive.
Eldora Speedway helps Community Blood Center boost the blood supply before the challenging July 4th holiday week by donating race tickets for door prizes. The ticket drawings helped attract 26 donors, resulting in 22 donations.
Rossburg’s Evelyn Linebaugh made her 154th lifetime donation at Eldora and took home the grand prize: a pair of tickets to the 35th running of the Kings Royal Race on July 14. Six other donors won pairs of tickets to race weekends in September and October.
“We come out here all the time,” said North Star donor Julie Ruchty, who hoped to win tickets. “If I don’t go my boys will steal it!”
Donating next to Julie was Marcia Mescher from Osgood. She admitted she isn’t a race fan. “This is my regular blood drive, and what else was I going to do!” she said about the rain clouds on the longest day of the year. “I’m not going to stay outside to see how long the sun goes tonight. It’s not going to seem that much longer!”
Donor Jeff Gehret from Versailles welcomed the idea of winning ticket to Eldora. “I haven’t been out here in maybe 20 years,” he said. “A lot of things have changed since then.”
But summers at Eldora are very familiar to Coldwater donor Larry Giere who wore a neon yellow t-shirt emblazoned with the Eldora “E.” Larry has worked at Eldora for six years, spending race nights in the kitchen frying chicken and fries for hungry race fans.
“Standing over that deep fryer, it gets a little warm on these summer days,” said Larry. “People ask me ‘Who won the race?’ I say, ‘I don’t know, I was frying chicken all night!’”