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FARMINGTON — Radio-controlled, or “RC” car racing has gained popularity over the past few years, with adults and kids alike enjoying building and racing small battery— or gas — operated remote-controlled vehicles.

And Jeremy Vigil, who opened Finish Line RC on Hines road four months ago, wants to channel that interest to support people in a community — hit hard by persistently low oil and gas prices — who are currently down on their luck.

Vigil decided to sponsor a “Food for Fun Run,” which will consist of an RC race and food drive held at the local outdoor RC track on Nov. 13. The outdoor track, a public-use track, is located at 1615 Ojo Court off the Bisti Highway. Vigil is asking participants to bring food items that will be donated to the Echo Food Bank and the Knights of Columbus.

“Because of the location of my store, I see a lot of homeless people walking by – guys who need a place to sleep and something to eat,” said Vigil. “So I thought it would be good to collect food, especially since it’s right before Thanksgiving.”

Vigil said many of his vendors, including RC companies such as Venom, JConcepts, Kyosho and ProMatch Racing, have provided items to give away at the event, and said many hobbyists are coming from other cities for the event. There is no charge for the family-friendly event, and RC hobbyists don’t have to preregister to participate. “If they bring some food to donate, they can just show up and race,” said Vigil.

Finish Line RC caters to those who enjoy this unique hobby and offers everything from pre-built RC cars, trucks, kits and replacement parts, to drones and quad copters. The location also features a carpeted indoor RC racing track, and assists new RC operators by providing training and RC maintenance advice.

Vigil has found the indoor track has attracted great interest. He said there sometimes are misconceptions about what RC racing means to hobbyists.

“A lot of people think these are just toys, but it really is a serious sport,” he said, adding that RC vehicles in his shop range from about $240 to $1600 each. “This is a huge, huge sport — there are actually factory team drivers who make six figures” competing with RC vehicles.

The Finish Line RC track is the only carpeted indoor track in the area — Vigil said that even Albuquerque does not offer a carpeted track.

Carpet, he says, offers many advantages over the traditional RC track material, which is usually dirt or clay.

“Carpet is so much cleaner,” he said. “Clay is so dirty and can get in the car and make a lot of dust in the air. With carpet, the car stays clean and it doesn’t get as scratched. It (carpet) is pretty much what everyone’s going to.” Vigil had the idea to create an indoor carpeted track after visiting a similar but much larger indoor track in Las Vegas.

Paul Valdez is President of the 505 RC Club, a local organization of RC enthusiasts who meet monthly and whose members often gather at Vigil’s track to race their vehicles.

Valdez says the hobby is a very addicting one, but said it’s also an educational and positive sport for kids and adults, alike.

“The kids basically become engineers (building their RC vehicles from kits), and it’s such a fun, non-biased sport. This gives kids something to do,” he said, adding that the club offers a novice class to new RC hobbyists and occasionally holds RC rock-crawling competitions.

Valdez said he appreciates having an indoor RC track in this area.

“With Jeremy’s shop, we have a place inside so we won’t have to go out and race in the snow,” he said. “Water really deteriorates these vehicles.”

Valdez said his organization will be volunteering to help at the “Food for Fun Run” event, and said those wishing to help purchase food items for the drive can do so by visiting the group’s website at 505rcclub.com.

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor at The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.

If You Go

Food for Fun Run - RC race and food drive

When: 11 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 13

Where: 1615 Ojo Court, Farmington (off the Bisti Highway)

Information: Call Jeremy at 505-327-9959 or visit the Finish Line RC Facebook site

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