"This is going to be awesome," said Moore County Health Foundation (MCHF) Executive Director Kathie Fuston. The Health Foundation is holding a "Dino Dash" dinosaur race on Saturday, October 19 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Santa Rita Equestrian Training Facility at 4-Way to raise funds for the Rural Nursing Education Consortium that Moore County Hospital District (MCHD) has entered into with Amarillo College, Frank Phillips College, and several hospital districts across the Panhandle. The consortium is designed to address the chronic nursing shortage that plagues area rural hospital districts by training nurses locally. In the past, students from Moore County and other rural counties in the Panhandle had to complete their nursing studies in Amarillo, where they were often lured away to jobs in Amarillo facilities, leaving rural hospitals to scramble for nurses. Classes are expected to get under way in September 2020.
"It is hilarious," said Fuston. Dino Dash dinosaur races are foot races by people dressed in enormous dinosaur costumes. Fuston says that when someone first suggested a Dino Dash as a fundraiser for the foundation, she checked out the phenomenon on the internet. Watching a video of people trying to run down a track in giant, bouncy dinosaur suits convinced her that it was something she had to be a part of.
"The general public is invited to participate, either as individuals or teams," said Fuston. She adds that there are already teams signed up from MCHD, Amarillo College, Frank Phillips College, Coon Memorial Hospital in Dalhart, and Hereford Regional Medical Center. She is hoping to get teams and individuals from civic groups, first responders, schools, and others. The first, second, and third place winners of each heat will receive a medal. The three best overall times will receive trophies. The gate fee for those who just want to watch the racing is $5.00; entry fees for racers are $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for children, six and up. Fuston says they have the costumes for adults and children to age six. Those interested in attending can register at the foundation website, moorecountyhealthfoundation.net, or call 806-934-7804.
In addition to the racing, Fuston says there will be plenty of other fun to be had. The band Caliche Dust will play live from 11:00 AM to 2:00 pm. The Dumas Fire Department will be there with a fire truck. Ed Montana will call the races, while KDDD radio will be broadcasting live from the event. There will also be food and drinks for sale. The Dumas Rotary Club will be serving beverages, and JBS has donated hamburgers.
"It is a family event," said Fuston. "I think it will be a lot of fun."
Finally, Fuston said, "After 4:00 pm we are taking "dinosaurs" over to the Emmapalooza event." The Emmapalooza event is a fundraiser taking place at Hacienda Garcia Event Center beginning at 5:00 pm on October 19 to benefit Emma Preston and her family. Emma is a young girl battling cancer.