Lions Club president: ‘Misunderstanding’ led to suspension of lawn mower racing

Bostick: “Going to do everything within our power” to restore racing

By Kevin Spradlin

Read previous coverage here

One day after an emergency meeting of the Ellerbe Lions Club, organization president Joey Bostick told The Pee Dee Post he believes it was a “misunderstanding” that led to the suspension of lawn mower racing at the Ellerbe Lions Club Speedway.

Kevin Spradlin | Drivers in the junior division compete over Memorial Day weekend at Ellerbe Lions Club Speedway in Ellerbe.

Kevin Spradlin |
Drivers in the junior division compete over Memorial Day weekend at Ellerbe Lions Club Speedway in Ellerbe.

Bostick declined to speak publicly with the Post in the first hour of Sunday morning, approximately 19 minutes after comments from track manager Kermit Perkins seemed to point the blame of the suspension — announced shortly before racing was to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday — at Bostick at other Ellerbe Lions Club representatives.

Bostick said Tuesday that he needed time to gather information, as he was not at the track on Saturday. On Saturday, Perkins told the Post that things came to a head when the club appeared to show favoritism toward a lone food vendor who also happens to be a club members.

Perkins also expressed concern about gate receipts from the national competition held at the Ellerbe track over Memorial Day weekend. Perkins receives a percentage of gate receipts.

Bostick said he felt Perkins “overstepped his bounds on this situation” regarding the food vendor. Bostick said the club’s agreement with Perkins indicates that Perkins is in charge of the track and that the club remains in charge of food vendors. Bostick said that when Perkins invited an outside food vendor to the race site, it crossed the line into the club’s domain.

“We clearly have the right to have anybody, any vendor that we want, on our property,” Bostick said by telephone late Tuesday morning. “It is Lions Club property. It’s in our proposal with Mr. Perkins. I feel like he overstepped his bounds on this situation. I have no problem with the way he was operating the track. If he had went ahead and operated the track on Saturday night as usual, without overstepping his bounds, I feel like this would not have happened.”

Bostick continued: “We don’t interfere with the operation of the track. That’s what we agreed, to let him run and operate the track.”

Of the vendor in question — the one who showed up, according to Lions Club representatives, unexpectedly — there is a history. Bostick said the Lions Club member in charge of food vendor applications has dealt with the unspecified vendor in the past. Those dealings, Bostick said, led to an “altercation.”

“Nobody’s going to disrespect my fellow Lions Club (members),” Bostick said. “When you raise your voice towards another Lions Club member, you’re disrespecting us. He was told, on Thursday, that we … felt best … we not have him up there.”

Bostick said he learned at Monday’s special club meeting that Perkins had given the vendor approval to be present “and that’s how this started.”

“It was over something that really shouldn’t have involved Mr. Perkins or the other vendor,” Bostick said. “We don’t discriminate against vendors.”

Bostick said he was not yet able to discuss any alleged discrepancy in the gate receipts from Memorial Day weekend. Bostick said he’s hopeful that Perkins and the Lions Club, through club vice president David Poland, can arrange a meeting.

In addition, Bostick said, Perkins has not notified the club of a specific figure he feels he is owed.

Bostick said he remains hopeful that lawn mower racing can resume at the speedway. With the controversy, Bostick noted that work will have to begin to “regain the confidence of the spectators and the races that I feel has maybe been damaged.”

“I feel strongly that we’re going to make every effort to get it running,” Bostick said. “I think it’s a big asset to the community and Richmond County as a whole.”

Bostick corrected an error on the Posts’s original story about the suspension. The Richmond County Tourism Development Authority does not support weekly lawn mower racing in Ellerbe in any way, he said. The TDA did support lawn mower racing only during Memorial Day weekend during the national competition, which drew participants and spectators from across the south and further. However, that agreement was negotiated through a third party and did not affect the operations of the Ellerbe Lions Club Speedway, Bostick said.


Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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  • Jay Hudson

    I hope the issues wiith the Ellerbe Lions Club and the track operator can be resolved. I became a fan of mower racing when Bobby Dale decided to race at Ellerbe. His appearance there helped the attendance a little.
    I have considered applying as a vendor, but didn’t know who to contact.

    Jay Hudson

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