Sports

Silverdale Thunder answers call

As Belfair’s GEICO Presents Namron Racing Team gets ready to defend its 2006 Silverdale title this weekend at the Graham Trucking Cup at Silverdale Thunder hydroplane races, team owners Bud McKay and Brandon Payne hope to find themselves going through piles of cell phones rather than piles of racing equipment.

Namron Racing Team, the 2006 Unlimited Lights Hydroplane Racing Association 8-cylindar stock Lighter-Than-Lights High Points champion, has partnered with the Cell Phones for Soldiers program for the remainder of the 2007 season.

Cell Phones for Soldiers, started by teenage siblings Brittany and Robbie Bergquist from Massachusetts, collects used and outdated cell phones and recycles them to earn pre-paid calling cards they donate to deployed military members and their families.

The goal for 2007 is to earn 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards.

To do so, Cell Phones for Soldiers is expecting to collect 15,000 cell phones each month from throughout the country.

McKay hopes fans coming to the shores of the Silverdale Waterfront Park Aug. 18-19 for the race will bring their old cell phones to the race.

“We’ll have a collection bin at our boat in the pits over the weekend,” McKay said, a retired Air Force Reserve master sergeant. “I’d love to fill our cockpit full of old cell phones from hydroplane fans by the end of the racing season so that we can help recycle them.”

Both McKay and Payne are current civil service employees at McChord Air Force Base.

Unlike most motor sports events, the ULHRA opens the pit area to fans. Because of tides, racing begins at 10 a.m. The pits open for the fans to come and see all of the hydroplanes around 2 p.m. on Saturday, 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Graham Trucking Cup is free and features the fast and loud Unlimited Lights hydroplanes.

“Silverdale’s our home course and we hope to have the GEICO Presents Namron Racing Team back in the winner’s circle when it’s all over,” McKay said. “But we hope to have an even more impressive showing in collecting old cell phones for our deployed loved ones.”

For the fans who can’t make the race, collection bins will be at the North Mason Chamber of Commerce office in Belfair and in Silverdale at the Guest Services desk at the Kitsap Mall.

For more information about the Cell Phones for Soldiers program, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com or call McKay at (360) 801-1626.

For the latest schedule of events and more about the race, visit www.ulhra.org.

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