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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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June 3, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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June 3, 2015
 

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Bulletirl, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, June 3, 2015 11B Little cars bring big fun to Indian Valley Miriam S. Cody Staff Writer mcody@plumasnews.com KidsFest in Indian Valley welcomed a new activity last year when Greenville artist Russ Flint brought pedal car races to town. This year's KidsFest, set for Aug. 7, will have bigger and better races, said Flint, now that he has 12 cars compared to only a handful last year. Flint collects the German-made Kettkars, fmding them on Craigslist, usually for around $50. He said he's in it to give local kids something fun to do, boost their confidence and help them build relationships with their adult peers through the racing network he hopes to build. "The biggest part of it for me is to give them a chance to experience winning," said Flint, who "has a thing about kids learning to compete." He said he believes they must learn both determination to win and the ability to accept and handle defeat. School-based sports can sometimes become a negative environment, he said, and he doesn't subscribe to that. Last year at KidsFest, Indian Valley Academy Director Sue Weber cheered for each and every racer and gave them all pep talks. "She poured herself into those kids and went from one to the other," said Flint. "I'd like to have entire adult encouragement teams at the races." He has queried local businesses for sponsorship, and said so far seven local businesses have donated to the costs of buying the cars, gas to pick them up and minor repairs. Flint said Ken and Centella Tucker, owners of Evergreen IGA, have been particularly, supportive of his project.,He: said he'd like to eventually have individual sponsorship for each car, with the business names painted on them. KidsFest 2014 was the first venue for the Kettkar races. Flint has big plans for the little cars, which come in Indian Valley's Russ Flint shows off one of his Kettkar pedal cars. Flint said he is enthusiastic about holding races at this year's KidsFest on Aug. 7 at Evergreen IGA in Greenville. Photos by Miriam S. Cody "The biggest part of it for me is to give them a chance to experience winning .... Safety is important. Fairness is important, too, but fun is the most important." Russ Flint Founder Indian Valley Pedal Car Races different sizes and speeds for different age groups, around the valley and elsewhere in Plumas County, if possible. He said, "Eventually I'd like to have at least 16, and have four for each class." The smallest cars, suitable for even really little kids, constitute Class 4. Flint said the carts are mainly for elementary school students, due to their size, but sixth- and maybe even seventh- or eighth-graders could operate the largest Class 1 Kettkars. The carswlllmake  - appearances at this year's Gold Digger Days, in the parade or as a racing event, or possibly both. They will also be introduced somehow at Running With the Bears, an Indian Valley marathon at which the APOLLO (After-School Partners Offering Life-Long Learning Opportunities) program will host an aid station. Flint said he's excited about working with APOLLO and with the Indian Valley Youth Summit because "They're able to teach and have the kids experience things that they just don't get to experience in a normal school day." APOLLO runs a summer school series of events, a week of activities that will lead up to KidsFest as the grandinale .... ,-, .v;. How it all started Flint said he and Lauren McIntyre, of APOLLO, were planning KidsFest 2014, which was sponsored by Evergreen IGA in Greenville. They were in a meeting, just throwing ideas around, and McIntyre suggested getting a few go-carts. Flint looked around for some, and stumbled upon a pedal cart instead. McIntyre loved the idea, he said. The first cart he bought had some serious issues. "It was just so old it wouldn't go," said Flint. He looked around online and found two more in much better condition. After that, the carts just kept collecting on his porch. Matt Cerney, of the Indian Valley Recreation and Parks District, helped Flint and McIntyre plan the first races. "I gave the idea to him (Cerney) and he just ran with it. The thing came off so spectacularly well. The kids just went wild for it," said Flint. The organizers of KidsFest Flint has a collection of over 12 Kettcars and said he is currently seeking more. Flint announces the winning team from last year's KidsFest pedal car races on a big billboard. "1 just get a kick out of the kids," he said. include the APOLLO Program, Indian Valley Youth Summit, Evergreen IGA, IVRPD, the Indian Valley 4-H Club and many other Indian Valley community members. Flint told Feather Publishing plans for KidsFest 2015 are well underway. More and bigger teams will race on a circle track, instead of the back-and-forth straight track used in 2014. This year, he plans to get a trophy for the champion of the races, to be passed down from year to year to the new champion. KidsFest is a free event, with food provided by Evergreen IGA. Safety first Flint said when he presented the idea to Ken Tucker the first question out of Tucker's mouth was, "Is it safe?" Flint assured him it was. Helmets are required for all racers, and the Plumas County Public Health Agency donated 12 helmets to him last year so they will be provided at the races. "Safety is important," he said. "Fairness is important, too, but fun is the most important." Shoes are also required when operating Kettkars. No open-toad sandals or flip-flops ; may be worn. For more information on the project, visit pedalcarraces.com. Flint also does the artwork on the chalkboards at Evergreen IGA and has work on display in Main Street Artists Gallery in Quincy. 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