Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Incredible History Race

By Will Bublitz

A new Lincoln County resident is helping spearhead a first-ever Fourth of July race that both promotes the local area’s rich history and helps a worthy cause.

Jeni Stansbury, who moved to Hugo in January, is the volunteer coordinator for the “The Incredible History Race,” a driving race where contestants follow a series of clues about local history in Lincoln and Kit Carson counties. The event begins and ends in Hugo.

“This is going to be a fun race,” Jeni said. “It’s also a fundraiser for the Home Health & Hospice program at Lincoln Community Hospital in Hugo.” 

The two-person teams in the July 4th race will be competing for cash prizes. The first-place prize is $500, second $300 and third $200.

But what if you’re not an expert in local history? Not to worry, Jeni said. The clues given to the contestants should be fairly easy to solve.

“I’ve had some people wanting to race who expressed concerns because they’re not deep into local history,” she said. “They don’t have to be worried. The clues are more like trivia, which includes a lot of common things that most people will know. A fun part of this race is to learn more about our local communities.”

Jeni also explained that nothing in the race’s rules prevent contestants from using their cellphones and iPads to google answers to the clues. Also, there are no restrictions on the teams bringing along friends and family members in their vehicles to assist them with the clues, but only the two members of the team will be allowed to participate in the challenges.

The Incredible History Race is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 4 at Lincoln Community Hospital. Before starting, each two-person team will be given a clue.

“For example, their first clue could be to go to where an NFL player who played for the San Francisco 49ers graduated from high school,” Jeni said. “The answer to that clue is Simla High School. After they figure it out, the team drives to Simla to the high school football field to complete a challenge such as throwing a football through a hoop from 20 or 30 feet away. Once they complete the challenge, they are given their next clue.”

A total of eight stops will be made during the  Incredible History Race. The final stop is the finish line at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Hugo. The first team to cross the finish line is the winner, followed by second and third places.

All of the stops are within a 60-mile radius of Hugo.

“All of the teams will be driving a maximum of 90 miles provided they don’t get lost,” Jeni said. “The race starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 4. We’re hoping that all the teams will be across the finish line by noon.”

Jeni said the contestants have the opportunity to give themselves an extra edge at the start of the Incredible History Race.

“The race is designed as a fundraiser for Home Health & Hospice,” she said. “When they sign up for the race, each participant is given a donation envelope to get pledges and contributions. The amount of money raised by each team will determine their start order. For example, if one team raises $1,000 and the next one has $900, the team that raised the most money will start the race first. That’s why we set the race entry fee so low at $25 per team.”

 Whether they win the cash prizes or not, all of the contestants are sure to have a great time both during the race and after it finishes at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. Vendors and concessionaires will be selling food and crafts at the fairgrounds. There will be festivities for children to enjoy. Also, a live band and dance are planned for that evening. And, of course, no one will want to miss the Fourth of July fireworks display provided by the Hugo Improvement Partnership starting about 9 p.m.
Each participant in the race will receive a Incredible History Race T-shirt if they register before June 12. Entries will be accepted after that date, but may not receive a T-shirt.

All of the proceeds from the Incredible History Race will go for the purchase of the software needed to set up an Electronic Medical Records system at  Home Health & Hospice.

“Having Electronic Medical Records will help keep our our nurses more functional in the community because they will have less paperwork,” said Home Health & Hospice director Cerina Cunningham who is working with Jeni on organizing the race. “It will also help increase our department’s revenues because our nurses will be able to see more patients.”

Jeni, who is also Home Health & Hospice’s volunteer coordinator, came up with the idea for the Incredible History Race as a fundraiser.

“The Amazing Race on CBS is my favorite show on television,” she said. “In that show, the contestants race around the world following a number of clues. When I first moved here in January, I talked with some of the local ladies who told me about the amazing history that we have around here. That got me thinking about how we could use local history to do some fundraising, which is so essential to Home Health & Hospice right now.”

Jeni is a firm believer in the mission of Home Health & Hospice because of her own family experiences.

“Last year, we had to put my Mom in a hospice before she passed away,” she said. “I really got to understand the dying process. As an employee of Home Health & Hospice now, I get to help other families who are going through that same process.”

Jeni moved to Hugo in January after her husband, Kevin Stansbury, was hired as the new Chief Executive Officer for Lincoln Community Hospital.

"In the last several years Kevin and I have lived in Cheyenne, Nevada, Pennsylvania and now here,” she said. “We were really excited to move here because it felt like home and was closer to our roots. We really feel welcome here and plan to stay for many years." 

Jeni was born and raised in Scottsbluff, Neb. Kevin and she were high school sweethearts before going off to college. Jeni attended Western Nebraska Community College, she worked for several years as a volunteer coordinator for a domestic violence organization in Scottsbluff.

“Kevin and I have three grown children and three grandchildren,” she said. “Our two daughters live in Colorado and our son is a resident of Kansas.”

For those wanting more information or to register for the Incredible History Race, contact Jeni at Home Health & Hospice by calling (719) 743-2797, ext. 3406.

(Note: In the photo accompanying this article, Jeni Stansbury is holding an advertising T-shirt for the Incredible History Race.)

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