Dinner with racing kings offered Thursday

Courtesy photos"Fast" Jack Beckman

Courtesy photos"Fast" Jack Beckman

Imagine eating dinner with Supercross motorcycle racing King Jeremy McGrath and National Hot Rod Association drag racing champion "Fast" Jack Beckman.

It can be a reality for Fallon residents and visitors this Thursday at the Octane Fest fund-raising dinner for the Boys and Girls Club of Fallon.

The dinner will seat 300, making it small enough for people to get up and speak with the professional racing stars face to face, said Rick Gray, executive director of the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority.

McGrath, 36, is an accomplished Supercross racer who has been riding since the age of 5.

"He reined king of the sport for over a decade," said Ty Erquiaga, Octane Fest director.

From 1993 to 2000, he won a record 72 of the 250cc main events and seven of the 250cc championships, according to the JeremyMcGrathLive.com web page.

McGrath has already made his mark, but Beckman is just making his start.

"Jack is on his way up," Erquiaga said. "He is a real success story."

Beckman, 41, is a cancer survivor, and he came from a working class background, Erquiaga said. He is currently in the top 10 of the Top Fuel Funny Car premier class, he said.

McGrath and Beckman will be speaking at the dinner, answering questions, giving autographs and taking photos, Erquiaga said.

Proceeds will go to the Boys & Girls Club, which offers children ages six to 15 guidance and recreational fun, said Shannon Goodrick, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fallon.

Coordinators chose the Fallon Boys & Girls Club because it was a rather new organization that could use the support, Erquiaga said. Although this is a tourism event, it's a community event first, he said.

The Boys & Girls Club charges $20 a year and $15 a week during the summer per child, Goodrick said. Additional funding comes from state programs when families qualify and from fund raisers like the Octane Fest dinner.

The festival coordinators' goal is to fill up the room by selling 15 to 20 corporate tables and allowing walk-ins to fill up the rest.

"The state of the economy compromised our mission this year. We haven't been able to sell that many," Erquiaga said, adding that he's still confident that ticket sales will go up. "We're hoping we'll get a big walk-in crowd."

No matter what the turn out, the dinner will create awareness and bring in more funding support to the Boys & Girls Club of Fallon, Gray said.

"It's nice when individuals and groups in the community think about the Boys & Girls Club and the youth," Goodrick said.

The Boys & Girls Club dinner is going to be held at the Fallon Convention Center on Thursday. Tickets are $50 for individuals and $750 for a table of eight. Purchase Tickets at the Fallon Convention Center, 100 Campus Way, call 775-423-4556, or visit www.octanefest.com.

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