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  • Fairbury News staff

A racin' good time at PCE

(Third graders at PCE race their Muscle Kart creation Tuesday morning)

Third grade students at Prairie Central Elementary in Fairbury were caught speeding Tuesday morning.

While the kids can’t legally drive a motorized vehicle, they can hop into the driver’s seat of a Muscle Kart. The annual cart-building event and subsequent races were held in conjunction with the Fairbury Speedway.

Rain forced the event inside the PCE gym this year but no one was complaining. Kids were smiling and even the adult volunteers seemed to enjoy teaching the kids about teamwork along with timing and speed.

“We invite some crew chiefs, racecar drivers and people that are associated with our speedway,” explained Matt Curl, owner and promoter of the Fairbury Speedway. “The kids have such a blast.”

Third grader Coen Huber was on the winning team and enjoyed the teamwork experience.

“I liked it,” he said.

Student Piper Mashburn echoed Huber’s comments and admitted it felt “really good” to win.

After spending more than an hour assembling the carts and decorating them, students and their volunteer leaders raced them up and down the gym floor.

Third grade teacher and organizer Christy Decker enjoys the cooperation with Fairbury Speedway.

“It’s great to have the volunteers come and donate their time and I think the kids learn a lot from them,” Decker said.

Curl recognizes the great partnership the speedway has with the Prairie Central school district.

“Anything that we can do to help our town of Fairbury and Prairie Central, it’s where I grew up and graduated from.”

Curl and Gunner Sullivan helped organize the festivities. Adult volunteers included Mike Norris, Andrew Quain, Macy Vaughan, Austin Friedman, John and Victor Strong, Alan Stipp, Terry Kalkwarf, Russell Snearly, Erin Ifft, Ryan Edwards, Jeff Curl, Kent Casson, Karen Coombs and Tina Seifert.

Other helpers included PC High School Industrial Technology teacher Alan Dunahee and students Brayden Platz, Caiden Schulz, Kaden Davis, Wade Fehr, Easton Friedman, Jaydyn Knox, Landon Cottrell, Carson Leman, Preston Plenert, Tyler Curl, Gavin Tredennick, Lane Whitfill, Will Skala and Avery Elder.

Former third grade teacher Lisa Lange worked with the STEAM program director at Illinois State University originally to borrow the muscle karts for a week in 2018 and again in 2019. When the STEAM director left, he contacted the school asking if they would want some karts and the building instructions to continue the program at Prairie Central.

Lange had organized a group of community members, racers, pit crews and members of the Fairbury Speedway board to create a day for third graders based on science, engineering and sportsmanship.

When Lange left, Decker took over and worked with Curl to continue what Lange had started.

(Team "F" poses after completing work on a Muscle Kart, prior to racing)

(The gym at PCE on Tuesday morning)

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