BATAVIA — Kids and families continued to try racing radio-controlled cars in hopes of winning and racing again Saturday night as the first-time event, FAME racing, visited the Genesee County Fairgrounds all week.
Individual races began last Saturday, offered free to participants by Fast Action Motorsports Entertainment (FAME) races. The two reigning FAMEs are Rob Strawbridge and Maureen Wright.
“The whole family can expect a lot of fun. What we do is we bring in eight drivers at a time of all ages and they can race and compete against each other for a series of trophies that we give away. If they win their first race, they get our Small Goal Rookie trophy,” he said. “All of our top drivers will compete on the final night of the fair for our 25-lap Grand Championship trophy.”
“We give one of these away at every single fair,” Wright said, holding the championship award, larger than the trophies that go to kids who place first on the other competition days.
Strawbridge said the FAME races will be here until the end of the fair.
“We will invite 24 riders back for the grand championship,” Strawbridge said.
As for the popularity of this racing event, Strawbridge said, “It’s been popular enough to keep us in business for 22 years now, full-time. It is aimed at the whole family. We’ll gather everyone here. Our bigger demographic is kids, but that’s the good thing. The whole family can compete.”
Sometimes, he said, you’ll see parents, grandparents and everyone else there at the same time.
“You might see a 5-year-old or a 4-year-old with his father behind him helping him. It’s designed for complete family fun,” Strawbridge said.
Several local businesses have sponsored the cars that fairgoers can race, and the sponsorship makes the event free for those who participate, he said.
“It’s free for the whole family every time we come,” Strawbridge said.
Jose Rodriguez of Batavia was with his son Joseph, 5, who was driving one of the cars in Monday afternoon’s race. His wife Lucy and their daughter Emilia, 6, sat nearby to watch the race. Jose Rodriguez said Joseph may have been third in the early afternoon race.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said, although at first he said he didn’t know which car to drive.
Joseph and Emilia have been to the fair before.
“I like turtles,” he said.
After watching the race, Emilia had decided she wanted to give it a try. Lucy Rodriguez said the family usually goes to the fair for one day each year.
Right next to the FAME racing venue, Johnny Pearce of the Johnny Muttville Comix comedy dog show was preparing to entertain families on Monday. The show also ran Saturday and Sunday and will return today for another set of shows, at 2, 4:30 and 6:30. During the event, Peers had children and families cheering as he put the dogs through various tricks — jumping through a high hoop and lower hoops, jumping over an obstacle, running up one side of an object and sliding down the other. At one point, Pearce called several girls from the audience to help him with a trick. During the show, one of his dogs placed his paws on Peers’ chest with a line of dogs behind the first dog in a dog train, each with their paws on the back of the dog in front of him or her. When Peers walked backwards, all the other dogs walked forward.
“Some of these dogs nobody wanted. I’m happy to have them,” Perce told the crowd.
When the first performance on Monday afternoon ended, the children who were there were able to get up close and pet the dogs. He said he had about 14 dogs with him at the fair. Three of them – Bobo, Piccolo and Gio – were new to his act this year.
Asked if the tricks in his show change from year to year, he said: “I change according to the dogs. Dogs don’t live that long.”
Peers, based in Sarasota, Florida, performed comedy decades ago.
“I started as a clown with Ringling Bros. in 1970. It’s a comedy show,” he said.