Remote-control racing big in Rifle
RIFLE — It was just a year ago when Frank Shaw got into the hobby of remote-control cars.
“I bought one, and I didn’t have a place to run it,” he said.
The cars are not allowed on city streets in Rifle. So Shaw, a supervisor in the city’s Public Works Department, got permission to create a track on spare city ground near where he works at 1221 E. Centennial Parkway (U.S. Highway 6) in Rifle.
The resulting Rifle Remote Control Park, full of challenging jumps and turns, is free to the public. It has hosted races attracting dozens of entrants, plus multiple times as many family members and other spectators.
Since its opening, Shaw has installed bleachers, doubled the track’s length to 560 feet, overseen construction of a drivers stand and obtained donations from the city and Clough family to pay for a $5,000 scoring system.
“Frank is very dedicated … and he’d do anything to help people have fun,” Rifle resident Brad Church said.
An experienced racer, Church is glad to no longer have to drive afar to find a place to compete. He also is thrilled to watch others improving, and to see women and especially children getting involved. In places such as Denver, some who start competing while young have gone on to great success in the sport, he said.
Shaw first became interested in remote-control cars because his brother-in-law, Keith Forney of Grand Junction, had one. Shaw’s wife, Leslie, and his sister, Deanna Forney, have gotten into racing.
“It’s good family fun,” Shaw said. “I even got my dad into it.”
Said Shaw’s father, Loren Polley of De Beque, “It’s one of the few sports where someone like myself, 65, can participate with my kid.”
Polley marvels at how talented some of the children racers are.
“Age puts no limit on this sport, really,” he said.
Shaw said it also introduced him to a lot of new friends over the past year.
With racers coming to Rifle from Grand Junction, Utah, Minturn and elsewhere, and spending money on things such as food and gas while in town, the track is helping the local economy, Shaw said. Timberline Sporting Goods in Rifle and Whimsical Wagon in Silt have begun selling remote-control cars and equipment.
Shaw is gratified to see how his undertaking has benefited the city where he graduated from high school and now works.
“I’m just trying to give back to the community, I guess — give something free to do.”