NEW WESTON, Ohio – The Eldora Speedway Ballroom Blood Drive comes a few weeks before loyal legions of Kings Royal Race fans jam-pack the normally sleepy communities of Rossburg and New Weston. But thanks to race tickets for door prizes, donors will be in the grandstand.
The Thursday, June 23 blood drive in the historic ballroom resulted in 36 registrations and 26 blood donations. Everyone who registered to donate could enter the drawing for a pair of tickets to the 33rd annual Kings Royal Race on Saturday, July 16, plus other race tickets and official Eldora Speedway apparel.
Everyone 18 and older was automatically entered in the Community Blood Center “Wild About Alaska Adventure for Two” summer blood drive drawing to win a deluxe Alaska vacation.
Donors were a mix of serious and casual race fans, and included past winners. “I won a Tony Stewart hat and t-shirt,” said Mike Mangen, who made his 20th lifetime donation Thursday. He’s a long-time fan of the track, and remembers the award banquets in the ballroom, but he can take or leave the Kings Royal. “I’m more of a late model guy,” he said.
Beverly Grillot made her 29th donation Thursday. When she won tickets two years ago she donated them to the annual drawing at St. Paul Lutheran Church that benefits local members of the military.
Joe Wagner celebrated his “10 gallon” milestone of 80 lifetime donation Thursday. He won Kings Royal tickets last year, but didn’t get to see the race. “It ended up getting rained out, and we couldn’t stay,” he said. Two massive rain storms delayed the start until 1:30 a.m. Shane Stewart wasn’t crowned the winner until 4:30 a.m., making it one of the latest but most memorable nights at the speedway.
Yorkshire’s Ed Brand, who made his 11th donation, appreciates the history of Eldora – the track and the ballroom. “I enjoy it,” he said. “Years ago they had little dances. My parents would come here all the time and talk about the history of the place. It was before my time, and was fading away by the time I came along.”
Adam Barga would be happy to win the Kings Royal tickets. He lives in Rossburg and made his 23rd lifetime donation Thursday. He said Eldora’s proud history and the crowds of fans that continue to come are is what puts his hometown on the map.
“I like the noise, which is a weird thing, but I like the rumble,” he said. “It’s different, it’s crazy and it’s in our own backyard. That size and that famous and be in the middle of nowhere.”