CIRCLEVILLE — Returning for the first time in two years, The Big Wheel Race at the Circleville Pumpkin Show was back in a big way.
The race took place Thursday afternoon on what was a beautiful and sunny, although windy, day. Kids between four to five years old participated in the race.
In total, 44 kids participated in the event hosted by Circleville Noon Rotary. There were three lanes freshly painted, the sharp white lines making it look as if the racetrack was brand new. The competition had several races in order to determine which racers had the quickest times. Those with the top three fastest times then raced in the championship round, which determined first, second, and third place.
The three winners each got a pumpkin trophy and a Big Wheel Race shirt that was like a wearable trophy.
It took just over half an hour for all 44 racers to complete the time trial, and it was nothing but fun. The crowd excitedly cheered on the racers, especially if one of their kids was in the race. The kids had determined looks on their faces and big smiles as they crossed the finish line.
After all the racers finished, the kids and parents waited with bated breath to find out who was in the championship race. When the three names were called, the three racers ran to the starting line. They knew a trophy was on the line and they couldn’t wait to try and get first place.
The championship race was a fast-paced and excitingly close race.
Finishing in third place was five-year-old Jaxson Secrest. His parent is Briana Rainey from Circleville.
Finishing in second place was five-year-old Josie Willis, her parent is Rebekah Willis of Circleville.
Taking home the first-place trophy for the Big Wheel Race was five-year-old Raelynn Gifford. Her parents are Miranda and Shane Gifford of Laurelville, Ohio.
After the race Raelynn said she had fun.
What was her favorite part of the day?
“The racing,” she said. “The second race.”
The second race was the championship race. She also plans on wearing her Big Wheel Race shirt to school.
After the event concluded, Jim Hooks, a member of the Rotary Club of Circleville, talked about the success of the event this year.
“This was the first year for online registration and we had 60 kids registered.”
Turnout was great with 44 participants and a large crowd to cheer them on. Hooks said this event has become associated with the Pumpkin Show for the kids.
“In the 70s and 80s everyone had a Big Wheel but nowadays, kids don’t have a Big Wheel, it’s something they only see at the Pumpkin Show.”
Something happened for the first time this year that Hooks had never seen before, a spinout.
Hooks said the weather was perfect for the event this year and he thought the crowd size was bigger than the last time they put on the show.
“The Rotary Club volunteers came together and the event ran smoothly because of that,” he said. “I am grateful for that.”
Hooks also wanted to thank the City of Circleville for coming out Thursday morning and painting the lane lines.
“They did a wonderful job and we always appreciate their help every year.”
This was the 44th year for the Big Wheel race, and no matter what happens, the best part of the event is the joy on the kids’ face as they cross the finish line.
“If you ever want to see the purest expression of kids fully enjoying the Pumpkin Show, come watch the Circleville Noon Rotary Big Wheel Race,” Hooks said.