By Jacob Factor, News Editor
One of OBU’s biggest events, The Green and Gold Gala, raises funds every year for student scholarships.
Hosted at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center March 8 at 7 p.m., the Gala includes live music, OBU student life stories, a silent auction and a keynote speaker.
For the Seventh Annual Gala, the speaker is NASCAR legend Kyle Petty who will be introduced by Hobby Lobby Founder and CEO David Green.
Henry Wrinkler is the confirmed speaker for the 2020 Green and Gold Gala.
According to the Green and Gold Gala event page, individual tickets are $150, and half of that goes directly to scholarship funds as a tax-deductible gift.
There are also sponsorships available, from the $2,500 Green sponsorship to the $50,000 Lead sponsorship. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 3.
Petty is considered royalty in the racing world, as he is the son of “The King” Richard Petty, the most successful racer in NASCAR history, and the grandson of Lee Petty, a NASCAR pioneer.
Kyle Petty’s son Adam Petty was the first fourth-generation NASCAR racer before his tragic death May 12, 2000 during a practice race; he was 19 at the time.
Adam Petty’s memory is honored by Victory Junction, created to “enrich the lives of children, ages six to 16, with chronic or life-threatening illnesses,” according to its website.
Every year since 1995, Kyle Petty hosts the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.
When the Petty Family opened Victory Junction in 2004, the Charity Ride’s proceeds started going primarily to it.
“When the Charity Ride began in 1995, we had no idea it would become the huge fundraising event it is today,” Petty said. “We were just a bunch of guys riding our Harleys and having a good time! Then we realized we could help others and it became so much more.”
Since it’s inception, Petty said the Charity Ride has raised $18.5 million in donations. More than 8,000 riders have participated in the Charity Ride.
In 2018, they raised $1.3 million.
Part of their route went through the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where Kyle Petty’s son had his accident in 2000.
“From lapping the track at New Hampshire to our homecoming at Victory Junction, this year’s Ride was a little bittersweet,” said Petty. “It was more emotional for me this year than past Rides because we ended at Camp. I’ve said it a million times – when I see a camper, I see Adam in their smile and I know he’s still here with us. And there were campers everywhere as we pulled into Camp.”
Victory Junction has served more than 23,000 campers and their families.
According to their website, the cost for one camper to attend is $2,500, but no child or family has to pay that because of the generosity of corporations, organizations and individuals.
According to OBU’s official statement, “Kyle has been named or nominated by NASCAR, plus various media outlets and corporations, as Person of the Year, Father of the Year, Sportsman of the Year and USA’s Most Caring Athlete. He is an inductee in both the Philanthropy Hall of Fame, the Humanitarian Hall of Fame and the Little League Hall of Excellence.”
Kyle Petty is also an analyst on NBCSN’s daily show, NASCAR America. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, “Fast Talk” on the Performance Racing Network.
For more information of Kyle Petty’s Charity Race Across America and Victory Junction, visit kylepettycharityride.com.