The holiday season at Texas Motor Speedway opened in earnest Monday evening with both a strong sense of the traditional and a nod to the digital realm as Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter announced $306,911.28 in grants distributed to 12 North Texas children’s organizations and Big Hoss TV lit up the sky with a digital Christmas tree that filled the nearly half-acre HD LED screen.

This year’s digital Christmas tree benefitted from Big Hoss TV’s 20,633.64 square feet of HD LED display that consists of 4.8 million pixels and 281 trillion colors. On April 6, 2014, Guinness World Records officially certified “Big Hoss TV” as the world’s largest HD LED video board.

The 23rd annual event took place in the infield of Texas Motor Speedway and included a parachuting Santa Claus and a drive-in movie. SCC-Texas also presented 100 bicycles and riding helmets to underprivileged children. Holiday revelers in attendance also enjoyed the Gift of Lights, one of the state’s largest holiday light shows showcasing more than two-million lights and a 22,000-square-foot Santa’s Village.

Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas has awarded $11.1 million in grants to area children’s organizations since its inception in 1997. The funds are raised through special events held throughout the year, with the majority focused on Texas Motor Speedway three major event race weekends. Nationally, Speedway Children’s Charities has distributed $58.3 million since 1982 & will distribute $2.9 million this year.

The 2019 Founder’s Grant of $126,015 was presented to Larry Robins, of PediPlace, a non-profit pediatric healthcare practice for children from birth through eighteen years of age who are uninsured or who qualify for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) benefits.

“Speedway Children’s Charities’ decision to award PediPlace its 2019 Founder’s Grant is an extraordinary investment in PediPlace’s mission to make healthcare a reality for every child,” said Larry Robins, President and CEO of PediPlace. “There are important moments in any organization’s business cycle that require strategic focus and commitment to insuring the proper infrastructure is present to support current and future operations. This grant award provides PediPlace the opportunity to replace aging technology and modernize equipment that will enhance the quality of primary healthcare services to our patients and their families. On behalf of our board of directors, professional staff, and the 7,000 children who receive healthcare from PediPlace each year, we are very grateful.”

Serving approximately 7,000 children in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant Counties, PediPlace will utilize the Founder’s Grant to update their technology infrastructure and replace aging medical equipment in order to sustain and enhance their ability to provide healthcare to children in need.

PediPlace was one of 12 organizations in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties that received Speedway Children’s Charities’ grants, including four of $25,000 each.

In addition to the Founder’s Grant presentation to PediPlace, SCC-Texas provided grants of $25,000 each to:

Additional organizations receiving grants Monday night were Health Services of North Texas, Inc. ($19,890), Metrocrest Services ($18,082), Southwest Diabetes Foundation ($12,000), Manegait Therapeutic Horsemanship ($10,000), Parkland Foundation ($10,000), CASA of Denton County ($5,000), Community Partners of Tarrant County ($5,000), Tarrant Area Food Bank ($811), and Special Olympics ($112).

The 100 bicycles and helmets were sponsored by Premier Truck Group, SSR Fanatics car club, Ron & Cherie Rodenburgh, Mark & Sheri Beatty, Duane & Mary Ann Bailey, and Jeff & Pat Jones and donated to the following organizations: Folds of Honor, a Wish with Wings, Santa Cop and Christian Community Action.

The SCC-Texas Chapter also recognized its top volunteers and supporters of 2019. City of Roanoke received the President’s Award and Maurizio Corrao and Laurie Hart accepted the Dick Cerza Award.

The Texas Motor Speedway tree lighting ceremony is a 23-year tradition that has taken place since the facility opened in 1997.

Tickets to ‘Gift of Lights’, open through Jan. 5, are available at the gate or online (giftoflightstexas.com) for $30 (cars/trucks), $50 (RVs/truck trailers), and $60 (bus of 20 people). There’s a $2 discount for anyone with a military/first responder ID or any car that brings five canned goods.

— Texas Motor Speedway —