Story by Chris Hardesty
I was fortunate enough to meet Kelley (Ike) Isenhower at the Raceview Family Campground during this years U.S. Nationals. He was playing on a stage in the campground surrounded by a crowd of screaming fans. I heard him say something about "all proceeds go to DRAW" well needless to say that caught my attention so I talked to him after the show. Here is a guy that you dont hear about, playing his heart out on stage and giving the proceeds to the Drag Racing Association of Women. I asked him to tell me his story and how he started getting involved with DRAW.
He started attending the U.S. Nationals in 1991 with his brother and father. He was hooked after he saw
the first Top Fuel Dragster run down the track. This event quickly became a tradition every Labor Day for him and his family. He remembers that his mom and dad would get to every final race early and stop by
the DRAW booth to donate a little cash and pick up a ladder sheet so they could keep track of their favorite drivers throughout the day. Some 25 years later they still do the same thing.
Ike started donating small amounts to DRAW every year and decided in 2013 to try something different.
He has been a touring musician for over 20 years, playing in excess of 240 shows per year. He has been putting on a concert at the Raceview Family Campgrounds every year starting in 1996. The concerts
started small, sitting around campfires with close friends. Over the years, more people would show up to listen and eventually he started using a stage and a large PA system. He brought a couple of bands out to play and the crowds just kept getting bigger.
In 2013 at the 59th US Nationals he decided to try and raise some money and his father mentioned that
they should do something for DRAW. He was able to get an acoustic guitar donated by IRC Music in Indianapolis and with the help from some great friends was able to get the guitar autographed by about 20 professional drag racers. That evening he played his show to a crowd of about 400+ people and started selling raffle tickets for the guitar. Towards the end of the night they drew the winning number and gave it away but only after raising about $1200 from the raffle. A few other donations took the total to almost
$1400! Ike and his father delivered the money to the DRAW booth Monday morning before the finals. The look on the eyes of the ladies at the booth was very heartwarming, they were very thankful and so was he.
Ike played this past Labor Day weekend at the 61st US Nationals and it was his 20th year at the campground. He purchased an event flag, got about 13 driver autographs raffled it off that night at the
show. The flag raised $250 and with the help of some friends from Fort Wayne (Team Social) they were a
ble to sell some T-shirts they had made. Between the shirts and the flag Ike was able to present the ladies
at the DRAW booth $500 on Monday morning.
Ike has done a lot of gigs in his career for many different charities including the American Cancer Society, Loop for Life, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Wounded Warriors, Craven for the Cure, Red Mask Foundation, Alzheimers Research, SIDS, College Mentors for Kids and Care-N-Share to name a few. Its always been
a joy for him to provide music for these charitable events. Ike plays music because he loves it, if there are those whos day can be brightened by what he does, then he is going to continue doing it. Ike is going to continue supporting DRAW every year, as he truly loves the sport of drag racing and the mission that the great people at DRAW follow, "Fast Help for Fast Friends". Its his pleasure to be associated with such a grear organization as DRAW and he looks forward to raising more money in the future. Come check out
Ike is a solid example of the people we do not hear about that are regular donors to DRAW and have
been for years. If you know of anybody like him, tell me about it. Send the details to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post up the story right here in the website.