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Two Newton organizations hope to raise money at Iowa Speedway

Gary Mechtensimer poses with his doe he caught on a deer hunt outing last November. He is able to hunt because of a lift blind, a ranger and the help of others in Central Iowa Outdoors Without Boundaries.
Gary Mechtensimer poses with his doe he caught on a deer hunt outing last November. He is able to hunt because of a lift blind, a ranger and the help of others in Central Iowa Outdoors Without Boundaries.

Every weekend at the Iowa Speedway, two organizations participate in a 50/50 raffle sale fundraising opportunity. This week, you’ll see two groups that directly benefit and affect the citizens of Jasper County: Central Iowa Outdoors Without Boundaries and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa.

“Anymore, people are hunting the 50/50 tickets down, and people truly want to know about these organizations and what they do,” said Debb Smith, director of the Iowa Speedway Foundation.

Each January, the foundation committee meets to decide which organizations will be chosen for the raffle ticket sales for the upcoming season. Two groups are selected for each race weekend and given the opportunity to raise funds for their organizations.

Groups apply and provide information about their organizations to the Iowa Speedway Foundation. To be eligible, each group must be willing to bring at least 30 people to the event to sell tickets.

“The more people that show up selling, the more money that will be raised,” Smith said.

The sale will conclude before the start of the final race of the day, and the winner will be announced during the race. Fifty percent of the collections is given to the individual raffle winner, 25 perfect is for the Iowa Speedway Foundation and 25 percent goes to the selling group.

The Iowa Speedway Foundation’s purpose is to promote and give to charitable, religious and scientific causes. It is an important part of the Iowa Speedway, as its goal is to give back to the community and support people locally.

For example, the Iowa Speedway Foundation was able to donate $10,000 to the Newton Community School District for its iPad project for high school students.

Central Iowa Outdoors

Without Boundaries

On Saturday, Sept. 7, Outdoors Without Boundaries will be selling raffle tickets at the speedway and will conclude its efforts prior to the start of the ARCA Racing Series at 8 p.m.

The non-profit organization is committed to helping disabled hunters get into the outdoors and to help them to hunt.

The group hosts an annual banquet, turkey hunt, fishing trip, deer hunt, pheasant hunt and Rock Creek Management hunt put on by the Rock Creek DNR, along with other events each year.

The annual banquet is the largest event the organization presents; however, with upward of 40 disabled hunters participating, the pheasant hunt is the biggest hunting event.

The hunters are driven to the Wild Feathers Hunt Club in Baxter, where they are escorted to different hunting locations.

Volunteers transport the hunters using an all terrain vehicle. The most common one is called the Polaris Ranger, which can carry wheelchairs and get them into the wilderness.

Past donations have allowed the organization to purchase outdoor lifts for the wheelchairs.

Volunteers set up lifts that raise a handicapped hunter up to 15 feet off the ground. Many handicapped hunters have never had the equipment or access to hunt from tree stands, but this allows the hunters an advantage they aren’t use to.

“We are trying to raise money to buy a Polaris Ranger, which is the type of all terrain vehicle we use. Right now, the rangers we use are the volunteers’, but the group doesn’t have any that belong solely to them,” Outdoors Without Boundaries committee member and volunteer Kristin Titus explained.

“Sometimes there’s a volunteer out of town or a ranger breaks down. If the group has one for themselves, then it would help alleviate having to find a ranger when we run out of options.”

“The raffle sale is a great opportunity. I like how the speedway helps local organizations and it raises money for local groups,” Titus said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

of Central Iowa

On Sunday, Sept. 8, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa will be selling raffle tickets for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200 that begins at 1 p.m.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa is an organization with a mission to provide children and our youth who face adversity with stable and supportive professional relationships that make their lives better. The service is free for at-risk children and their families, but the non-profit organization has activity and operating costs.

There are two types of mentorship programs: school and community.

The school-based mentoring program matches high school students with an elementary- or middle-school aged student, where the two students spend time together working on homework, playing games or just talking for about an hour a week.

The community-based mentoring program is for people 18 or older to visit with a student, doing activities like visiting a zoo, going for walks or visiting the library.

The program asks “Bigs” for an easy commitment of four hours a month to their respective “Little.” These efforts are to increase self-confidence and academic performance.

“We nearly always have a waiting list for boys, but right now, we have a need for both boys and girls,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jasper County director Rita Baker said.

Besides Jasper County Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers from Des Moines will be coming to the event in Newton to assist in the fundraising, and everyone is excited at the opportunity to fundraise at the speedway on Sunday, Baker said.

“All of our volunteers get to come spend the day at the races too, and we’re excited about that.”

Due to a change in funding over the years, Big Brothers Big Sister of Central Iowa had not calculated funds for a traditional, annual T-shirt for volunteers. Last year, Baker went to the organization’s CEO Kit Curran and asked if she found the funds, if she could get the shirts made for BBBSCI. Baker received a “go ahead” and asked the Iowa Speedway Foundation for help.

“They bought our first 500 shirts, made locally right here in Newton, and we got them just last week,” Baker said about the support from the Iowa Speedway Foundation.

The group is excited to be able to wear a uniform shirt together as they work to raise money.

Outdoors Without Boundaries is also thrilled to work this weekend.

“It’s really good to partner the Iowa Speedway with small, local groups, and to raise money coming in from all over the state, all over the Midwest,” Titus said.

“They’re both such great organizations and what they do for people is tremendous,” Smith said. “I encourage everyone to come out, find out more about what these organizations do and give $20 to the fundraiser.”

Staff writer Kate Malott may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at

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