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Story on Kyle Petty charity ride

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by budcrew08, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Would like some feedback on this story, thanks!

    SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Kyle Petty Charity Ride cruised into Saratoga Race Course Monday morning with more than 250 motorcyclists.
    Petty flew in from the NASCAR race in Chicago Sunday night, but by 7:30 a.m, Kyle himself was leading the pack.
    The third stop on this year's ride, which raises money for children's charities through events on the East Coast, included NASCAR stars Steve Park and Burney Lamar, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker and supermodel Niki Taylor.
    But Kyle, who said he was thrilled to be on the grounds of Saratoga's thoroughbred track, emphasized that anyone - not just the celebrity riders with him - can take a lead role in helping a children's charity like the Double H Hole in the Woods ranch, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses in Lake Luzerne.
    "You guys have a great camp here," he said. "People forget there's a camp right down the road."
    A dinner at the Saratoga Automobile Museum Sunday evening raised $12,200 for Hole in the Woods.
    This year's ride started in Bar Harbor, Maine on Saturday and will take the riders all the way to Hollywood, Fla. on |July 21.
    The event started in 1995 as a four-person ride, including Saratoga native Robin Pemberton, but has grown considerably in the decade since. Since
    the ride began, riders have logged more than 45,000 miles, 5,000 riders and more than |$9 million has been donated.
    "The country sees us and we get to see the country," said Richard Petty, wearing his trademark cowboy hat and sunglasses. "People sit alongside the road in their lawn chairs as we ride by. We even get some donations along the way. The fans just appreciate the fact that we're just riding through. It's our chance to thank the fans for supporting the ride and the cause. We can kill a lot of birds with one stone."
    The Double H ranch was founded by actor Paul Newman and local philanthropist Charles R. Wood and is a sister camp to the Victory Junction Gang Camp in North Carolina, the Pettys' home camp.
    Steve Park, whose NASCAR career has been cut short by injury, has been taking part in the charity ride for the past nine years. He remembers when the annual motorcycle trip down the East Coast consisted of just a handful of riders, a far cry from the 250-plus participants the event swelled to this year.
    "It's grown quite a bit," he said.
    Park said he has visited the Hole in the Woods camp numerous times and it has left an impression.
    "It's inspiring," he said of the camp, adding that although he is passionate about riding motorcycles, the real reason for being a part of the trek is the impact on the kids' lives.
    "You go there and it's easy to see why you're doing it," Park said. "It motivates you to see that it's not what you can accomplish in your life, but who can help along the way.
    "When your butt hurts and your back hurts, you think about these kids, and you realize, 'I don't have any problems,'" he said. "It makes you realize how fortunate you are."
    Louis Vendetti, 10, of Delmar, is a camper at the Double H ranch.
    He said the ride is "cool" and that Kyle is his favorite NASCAR driver.
    "I wish I could go 100 times," Vendetti said, standing in front of a starting gate that was set up in front of the Clubhouse entrance at the racetrack. "I wish there were 100 camps in the world, and space so everyone could do it."
    Kyle Petty said while they are having a great deal of fun on the ride, the end result is what's really important.
    "Hopefully it changes people's lives," he said. "The turnout shows what a caring group of people we have involved," Kyle Petty told a throng of media at the end of the event.
    "Most of the racers involved live in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, so they support Victory Junction because it's the local camp,"
    he said.
    He said he hoped the ride would heighten local awareness and prompt action locally.
    "This community should support the Double H camp," he said.
    "Hopefully people will volunteer."
    Saratogian Assistant Managing Editor contributed to this story.
  2. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

  3. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    I haven't read the whole thing, but I'd not refer to Burney Lamar as a "NASCAR star" since he doesn't currently have a ride.

    I'd also try to make my lede more active, more grabbing. The ride is a huge deal, raises massive amounts of money...do you have any scenes you could describe? Kyle hugging kids, kids crying, a special moment you could relate? It might be a better intro into the story.
  4. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    BC08 -

    First, thanks for posting your work with us.

    Sorry that it hung for a while, but summer is our slow season here, and most of the faculty is out playing beach volleyball most of the time.

    I think the piece has a lot of good information in it, but as ijag suggests, it needs a better, more vigorous lede. Which is the truth for most of our writing most of the time.

    With featurettes like this, I think opening in scene is the soundest strategy. Sometimes, you can combine a general notion with scene, and get the best of all possible results. By which, in this case, I mean something like this:

    It used to be that the arrival of a motorcycle gang on the streets of any small American town meant noise and trouble. Last Monday in Saratoga, though, it was an occasion for noise and hope. The long, loud parade of candy-apple hogs and leather-clad bikers rumbled down Main Street not just to rattle the windows and frighten the housepets, but to raise money and awareness for a great cause. And Kyle Petty was the leader of the pack.

    Now that's not very good, but it's a thought that took me about 15 seconds to come up with. When you undertake feature work like this, be sure to give yourself a little extra time to think out a relevant, and active, lede.

    Just a thought for the day.

    Thanks again for sharing your work.
  5. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback.
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