Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Opening Day of Dale Jr.'s Corral at Victory Junction Gang Camp

On Saturday, Oct. 23, Victory Junction Gang Camp hosted an open house to show off the new Corral and Amphitheatre that was built because Dale Earnhardt Jr. donated $1 million of his own money in March.

Victory Junction Gang Camp has helped 11,000 children and families from 47 different states and three different countries since the facility opened in 2004. It's located in a town called Randleman, N.C. Victory Junction helps children with chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, hemophilia as well as many other illnesses. The camp was founded by Kyle and Patty Petty after they lost their son Adam during a practice run at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway; they knew that this is what their son wanted, so they built it to keep his dream alive. Mr. and Mrs. Petty also had help from Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Michael Waltrip, Richard Petty and Tony Stewart.

There’s an arts and craft center and a bowling alley called Victory Lanes with Jimmie Johnson’s car on top of it. There’s a theater and an auditorium. There’s even a hair salon as well as a diner with a black-and-white checkers design. There’s a barn with goats, donkeys, horses and llamas! Yes, llamas - it was the first time I’ve seen them. There’s a Kurt Busch Superdome where kids can play baseball and other sports.

Dale Jr.’s Corral and Amphitheatre is a cool-looking town, western-themed in true Dale Jr. fashion and consists of a mock jail, general store, bank and outhouse. While the venue features playful and colorful buildings, the amphitheater's design is fashioned after the mock western town located on Dale Jr.'s property in Mooresville, N.C.

Dale Jr. took time away from Martinsville on Saturday to participate in the amphitheater's grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. He took a few minutes to sign autographs and take pictures with the kids. After addressing the audience, he said goodbye and a local band played to end the day.

If you would like to find out more about my day, please visit my site, In the Driver's Seat.

All views expressed are solely those of the writer.

(The middle photo of the stage and was taken by Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Facebook page; the other three were taken by Genevieve Cadorette.)

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