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Rev it up!

Nine-year-old Matthew Richardson has organized a fundraiser for summer camp



BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE :  The Santa Maria Speedway and several local businesses are helping Matthew Richardson organize a fundraiser to benefit Camp Ocean Pines. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE : The Santa Maria Speedway and several local businesses are helping Matthew Richardson organize a fundraiser to benefit Camp Ocean Pines.
Like fast cars? So does Matthew Richardson. This youngster is on the fast track to raising some serious cash to help kids his age make it to summer camp.

Matthew had a blast during the week he spent at Camp Ocean Pines. Afterward, he and dad Jim sat down to figure out how they could help other kids afford the experience. “When we were thinking of what we could do for a fundraiser, Matt basically dreamed up his perfect day. And as it turns out, there are a lot of kids who would love the same stuff,” his father said.

With the help of local businesses, A Day at the Races was born. On May 8, 25 lucky youngsters will get their fill of flashy cars, good food, and a number of special surprises—all to raise $6,000 for Camp Ocean Pines’ scholarship fund, which helps low-income youths take part in a childhood essential: summer camp!

How does this sound? Meet up at Christianson’s Chevrolet for a tour of the dealership and the opportunity for an up-close look and pictures in Corvettes and Camaros, then head to Mullahey Ford to check out Mustangs, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and other exotic rides. Next stop, Doc Burnstein’s for a little ice cream, followed by a trip to the Santa Maria Speedway (it happens to be Family Night) to see the racecars up close, meet the drivers, take pictures and get some autographs. The kids will then be treated to a pizza party provided by Me n’ Eddy’s Pizza, followed by a big surprise. What’s that? Sorry—Richardson’s sworn to secrecy.

 “It’s amazing how enthusiastic our local businesses are to help children,” Jim said. “We’ve had people really go out of their way to help in any way they can. And they’re helping a charity that’s doing really great things for the community, for children.”

“Camp is a wonderful thing for kids and an important part of their development,” said Camp Ocean Pines Executive Director Chris Cameron. “But everything good costs money, and this fundraiser is going towards those who might need a little help.”

“Camp Ocean Pines is a great place; every kid should do it,” Matt said. “You stay for a week and get to go kayaking, hiking, do archery, and you eat really, really good food.”

Cost for the entire event is $50 per child. But get this: As an added bonus, Camp Ocean Pines will discount the same $50 off summer camp admission. Children planning on camp this summer thereby could enjoy A Day at the Races essentially for free.

“If another boy loves cars as much as me, why wouldn’t they want to do it? Because it would be really hard to find a Lamborghini or Ferrari on the road that you could see up close and get to go inside,” Matt said.

It may be a day for kids, but parents are welcome to join. To register or sponsor the event, call Jim at (559) 250-5520, or email him at


Fast Facts

United Cerebral Palsy of SLO County invites you to experience the events of their 10th annual SLO Life Without Limits, kicking off from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, April 29 at the SLO Farmer’s Market, where vendors will be present with information about living with a disability. Come to the Access for All film festival Monday, May 3, at the SLO Library for two entertaining films about life with disabilities. The biggest event is the Abilities Fair, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4, at the SLO Veteran’s Hall, where attendees can network and see the latest in adaptive equipment, products, and services. Finally, the Adult Services Open House from 10a.m.-2p.m. will showcase the variety of services, daily living activities, employment, and training options available to persons with disabilities in SLO County and Santa Maria. More info is available at

The City of Atascadero’s Community Services Department is offering drop-in adult basketball at the Colony Park Community Center. Games are held 12-2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 2-5 p.m. Saturdays through May. Saturday games are $2/person; Monday-Thursday games are free. For more info, contact 470-3360.

The SLO County Arts Council is seeking sponsors for a special art exhibit opening May 7 at ARTS Space Obispo in the SLO Creamery. The show, KIDNEY DAZE: Paintings by Isaac Wollman, will not only showcase the young artist’s work, but proceeds from sponsorship will go toward expenses for Wollman’s upcoming kidney transplant. Interested in helping? Call Marta at 544-9251.

Staff Writer Matt Fountain compiled this week’s Stroke & Plugs. Send love letters to mfountain@newtim

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