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La Grande Observer Daily Paper 07/28/14

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By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

STARKEY — "Flaming" Frank Holdren of Moses Lake, Wash., has been racing at the Starkey 4x4 races for about 18 years.

He comes back because "there's really good camaraderie" among those participating for several years, he said moments before heading off to race Saturday.

Holdren and his wife, Mary Pat, put on the Moses Lake Drags at the end of April and May. The Starkey 4x4 club helps them out.

Holdren races in the X class and C modified buggies divisions.

Mary Pat bought Frank "Way Far Gone," his race vehicle, for his 40th birthday, and she said he's "way far gone racing, there's no stopping him now."

The Holdrens enjoy Starkey because older racers continue the tradition.

Mary Pat said Bob Meredith, a 69-year-old sand drag racer from Camas, Wash., is influential.

"We like it here," she said. "The older people keep your dream going."

Mary Pat said Frank started in the lowest class, a mountain jeep, and he steadily worked his way up to the top class where he's a competitive racer.

Daughter Bridget, 25, who lives in Moses Lake, races. Frank's mom, who is a retiree, will race at the Moses Lake Drags next year.

Meredith drove 5 1/2 hours to watch the 27th annual off-road races this weekend and enjoy the atmosphere.

"(There's) camaraderie between all these people up here," he said.

Meredith ran a race track for 17 years in Washington and added that he has "never lost up here (Starkey)."

"I'm 69 years old, and still race," he said.

Meredith said he is amazed by the number of spectators.

"Biggest crowd I've seen" for sand dragging he said.

Results of the 27th annual Starkey 4x4 off-road races will be published later this week.

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