April 1, 2016 By Sandi Argo Photos by Sandi Argo and Sharon Burby
March 30th found 2 local reporters in a world that many have only dreamed about. Coming from a county that has more cattle than people, most news coming “hot off the presses” are about the every day small town happenings. From car wrecks to council meetings, the news is often mundane and can even be depressing. With social media so strongly followed, quite often the news is thought of as “old news” by the time it hits the streets on the local news stands.
With that on their minds it was quite a refreshing moment that found the reporting staff of the Jack County New Edition as “official” credentialed media participating in the Texas Motor Speedway Media Day, held at Gilley’s in Dallas. For both Sandi Argo and Sharon Burby, the “invitation only” event showcases where the online newspaper has gone since it began on April 25th of 2015, and where it is headed in the future.
“We have worked hard to make our newspaper a place where people from all over the county and surrounding areas can come for entertaining stories about people and places that will bring an uplift to their day. With so much bad news in the world today, we want to show that there are still great things happening. Great people still exist, and so do great companies and great organizations”
Sandi Argo ~(Owner) Jack County New Edition
A long time NASCAR fan, Argo often finds herself in “expressive conversations” with friends, neighbors and strangers about the sport and, more often, the drivers. A die hard follower of the now retired Jeff Gordon, Argo has “recruited” (or some might say man-handled) a number of friends into following the sport, and is working toward her goal of making Jacksboro the official “town” of NASCAR…one fan at a time. Oddly, Argo says she fought against the lure of car racing for a number of years. “My dad and family members raced karts when I was a kid. We would load his kart and equipment in the trunk of my mom’s ’69 Mustang fastback and then cram all of our things (clothes, 2 kids, Argo’s parents and their dog) into the front and off we would go to tracks around the Midwest and Texas for race weekends. How we got everything into that Mustang, I’ll never know, but we did.”
It was around the age of 15 that Argo decided that she had had enough and told her parents that she was “done with races”, and held that thought for a number of years until she and husband, Lane, were given free tickets and attended an IRL race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Discovering that (perhaps) she had been a bit “narrow minded” Argo decided to try attending a Sprint Cup race…and was hooked. “Once that Grand Marshall said ‘Start your engines’ and the ground shook…my Sundays changed forever!” Argo says.
Argo decided that bringing news from her favorite place (other than a warm beach) …TMS, would be a great addition to their online paper. “We have a great number of NASCAR followers, just like me. Why in the world wouldn’t we try to bring the track news to Jack County?” Argo said, adding “Who knows, maybe our stories might ignite the fire that was lit in me, way back when. Or at least stir some curiosity”. When she applied for the credentials, Argo never dreamed they would be considered. “I was hoping, but reality was that I was a new paper from a small town” she said. When she received an email from the media department stating that they were considering her credentials, she was pretty shocked, thrilled that they had even responded to her request. When she received the word from TMS that she had actually received the media credentials for Media Day, it was a sweet moment. “I’ve always believed that if someone works hard, plays fair and always tries to do the right things they will be rewarded. Being taken seriously in this market is a huge reward. I am truly humbled” Argo said.
With fresh batteries in her camera, a brand new pen and her side kick, Burby, Argo headed to the bright lights of the big city. Arriving at the venue at 11 a.m., the first thing the pair looked for was the check in counter. As she stood there checking out the surroundings, Argo was drawn to a radio station booth close by. The station was broadcasting live from the venue. As she focused in, Argo noticed that the person broadcasting was holding a live interview with none other than Willie and Korie Robertson, of the A&E hit show “Duck Dynasty” as well as sports empire and legends Duck Commander and Buck Commander. The Robertson’s were there promoting their latest charity, the “Drive Adoption Foundation”. The Robertson family have been the official sponsors of the spring race for the last 2 years, with the 2016 race being the last year of a 3 year sponsorship. At the race in 2015 the Robertson’s met a young man, who they adopted soon after. Very devout Christians, the Robertson family believes in “paying it forward” in every way they can. Adoption has been one way of many to do so. During the afternoon interview, Willie Robertson noted “Bringing a child out of a horrible situation and giving them a chance at not just survival but thriving is a life changing thing”. Having adopted a sibling group of 3 back in 1998, Argo found Robertson’s words especially poignant, stating “The Robertson’s are a great family doing great things”.
Texas Motor Speedway and NASCAR themselves are very big on changing the lives of others. With well over 60 different charities listed connected to the NASCAR Foundation, virtually every driver is involved in a foundation. From helping raise awareness about cancer to animal rescue, drivers give a tremendous amount of time, off track, helping others. Great people doing great things.
TMS supports the Speedway Children’s Charities, who (according to the TMS website)
The mission of Speedway Children’s Charities remains true to the ideals it was founded upon in 1982: To care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need in order to help them lead productive lives.
Speedway Children’s Charities was founded by Speedway Motorsports, Inc.’s Chairman and CEO, O. Bruton Smith in 1982 after the death of his son. Since 1982, the charity has grown to include chapters at each of the SMI speedways across the country including, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Bristol, TN, Sonoma, CA, Loudon, NH, Fort Worth, TX, Sparta, KY and Las Vegas, NV.
Since 1997, Speedway Children’s Charities at Texas Motor Speedway has distributed more than $9.7 million in funding to non-profit organizations in North Texas supporting children in need. The funds distributed by Speedway Children’s Charities are raised through special events held throughout the year.
Great people doing great things.
As Argo and Burby walked out of the Media Day event, they left knowing they had been in the presence of many who have dedicated their money, their companies and most of all their time giving to others. People that are true competitors behind the wheel of a race car, or those who cheer from the pits and grandstands, who put their rivalries and any disagreements aside to pull together to make the world a better place. Truly great people doing great things.