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RMR collects more than 8,000 pairs of socks to help Salt Lake’s homeless population

RMR collects more than 8,000 pairs of socks to help Salt Lake’s homeless population

By Jim Burton

Rocky Mountain Raceways

WEST VALLEY CITY — As he sat at his gate inside the Salt Lake International Airport in early November, awaiting a flight to Pomona, Calif. and the Auto Club NHRA finals, Rocky Mountain Raceways’ General Manager Mike Eames got hit with a bit of inspiration.

A morning news show was playing on a nearby television and the topic of conversation was winter weather and how it effects the homeless population.

Eames said he heard the show’s hosts mention the usual wintertime necessities: coats, shoes, hats, blankets, etc.

And then he heard something that caught his attention.

“I heard someone say something about socks and how that’s a big need this time of year,” Eames said. “It immediately got me thinking about what Rocky Mountain Raceways could do to help.”

Those who know him know Eames’ mind often races faster than a top fuel dragster, and on this particular occasion he couldn’t stop thinking about those socks and what RMR could do to help people in need.

He quickly came across an idea whereby RMR could collect new packages of socks for men, women and children. All it would take would be to trade socks for tickets to 2016 events.

“I started thinking about what we could call it,” Eames said as he excitedly told the story. “I kept thinking, ‘Socks, socks, socks … how do you link socks to racing?’ I was literally standing in line, waiting to get on an airplane, and then it hit me: ‘Speed For Socks!’” IMG_3354

Eames fired off an email to the staff at RMR and before his plane touched down in California, the “Speed For Socks” campaign was off and running.

A plan of attack was devised and a logo was drawn up.IMG_3329

The initial goal was to collect 1,000 pairs of socks and distribute them at some of the shelters in the Salt Lake City area. That initial goal was met just after Thanksgiving and the total just kept climbing and climbing as RMR’s fans, its racers and their extended friends and families continued to pitch in, day after day.

Receptionist Sherie Echols collected the socks, handed out the free tickets and dutifully kept track of the running total. After five weeks a total of 8,085 pairs of socks had been collected and well over 4,000 tickets were given out.

In keeping with the plan, the socks were stored in a trailer in RMR’s conference center. They were sorted, boxed up and prepared for distribution on
Dec. 21, with stops planned for The Christmas Box House, Homeless Youth Resource Center and The Road Home.

IMG_3348Each stop along the route, grateful people expressed heartfelt thanks for the contributions and assured RMR staff members the socks would most definitely be used by those in need.

Lots of season’s greetings were exchanged.

“We are thrilled to play a small part in the community that will hopefully make a big difference,” Eames said.


Speed for Socks = Success

The counts are in and there is no denying it, the 2015 Speed for Socks Campaign was a HUGE success.

Our initial goal was to collect 1,000 Pairs of Socks, we have far exceeded that goal and finished off at 8,085!!!

The proof is in the trailer... and the 6 boxes on the floor.

The proof is in the trailer… and the 6 boxes on the floor.

This campaign was the brain child of Rocky Mountain Raceways General Manager, Mike Eames, as a way to help those less fortunate this season.

One of the most overlooked and urgently needed items the shelters are always asking for are socks, so here is where a simple idea turned into an amazing show of support from the RMR staff and our community.

The staff struggled with setting the initial goal, not really sure what to expect, but our amazing supporters have come together and proven why the Racing Community is known for their generosity, kindness and loyalty.

From 1 pair to 1,609, donations came in all shapes, sizes, colors and quantities. Donations were not only brought in from our local racers, families, friends and fans but they were also mailed in from other states, some even coming from friends who have never been to the track.

Rocky Mountain Raceways thanks each and every one of you who have donated this past month, we are truly grateful!

Fast Talk: A Few Minutes with MX Champ Jesse Hodges

Fast Talk:  A Few Minutes with MX Champ Jesse Hodges


Jesse Hodges, 32, has been a fixture in the MX scene at Rocky Mountain Raceways and has won numerous races and championships. In 2015 he captured the Over 25 A class, Over 30 A, Open Pro, 450F pro and was also named 2015 Racer of the Year/Overall Champion. He recently spent a few minutes talking to RMR Marketing Communications Manager Jim Burton.


How did you get started in motocross?: I’ve been riding since I was four. My dad bought me my first motorcycle. He used to race motocross. My cousin (Shane Turpin) is a professional AMA street bike racer.


So, how did you get involved in MX racing, was that just the natural progression for you?: I just decided I wanted to start racing when I was 20, and I did. I started when I was 20 in Intermediate, I skipped Junior and Beginner because I’d been riding my whole life. (Before I was 20) I did freestyle. I free rode, I raced BMX for a lot of years growing up.


You’ve done really well racing at RMR, what was it like for you to progress through the different classes?: I’ve done pretty well in general most of my racing career. I’ve always rode 450s — well, 250 2-stroke — and then 450s. I just started hanging out with friends who raced and I just decided one day, I want to race. So I signed up for Intermediate, got 3rd my first race, decided I liked the competition side of it and just moved up. 


During the season we happened to get a picture of you helping your son (4-year-old, Jason) ride his bike in after a race, what’s it like watching him race? It must be fun: It is fun, a little nerve-wracking, but it’s fun. I think (racing) is good for him. It teaches him skills.Hodges


As a father, being on a different side of the track, is it sometimes hard to watch?: No. I mean, when he crashes, yeah it is, but other than that, no. I enjoy the progression. I like to see him. I work with him a lot, his mom (Heather) works with him a lot. She was the No. 1 woman (racer) in Utah for a lot of years. 


Well, it probably won’t be long before he’s out there dominating. He’s got a pretty good lineage between dad and mom: I hope so, for his sake. 

Curt Stewart, our MX manager at RMR, has been working very hard to change the layout of our MX track. Have you seen it yet?: Yeah, I’ve got the layout. Him and I talk once a week. I think he’s just about done screening, so he’s gonna start building now and start cutting lanes. I’ve been going over some jump stuff with him, if I can help him.