The annual MORE, Powder Puff, Race for the Cure in Barstow, California brings together a unique mix of cars and drivers every October during Breast Cancer awareness month. Older, sometimes previously retired cars race alongside state of the art, high dollar machines. The female racers are just as diverse, ranging from first timers to seasoned pros. The one thing they all have in common, along with everyone else in attendance, is their support for breast cancer research.
Since the events inception, the desert racing community has been successful in raising significant donations for Cedar-Sinai Hospital’s ladies breast cancer research institute. The institute tirelessly researches treatments and cures for the disease because unfortunately, too many wives, mothers, girlfriends and sisters, as well as their loved ones, have been affected by this horrible disease. Not many are aware that men can develop breast cancer as well but it’s rare compared to women.
The Powder Puff race however, is all about the ladies. Cars are decked out in pink boas, pink ribbons and others are painted pink. For some of these cars, this is the best they will look all season because the teams go all out to put on a great show. Some even go to great lengths adorning their vehicles with some of the largest over the shoulder boulder holders I’ve ever seen, of course they are pink too. Some teams show up dressed in pink and several men have been seen in all types of female attire. Cars carry the names of survivors as well as some loved ones who were lost. We all grieve for them but this event does not dwell on the loss, instead it celebrates their lives. It gives tribute to the positive impacts these brave ladies gave us while they were here and their inspiration that lives on. That’s what makes this event unlike any other. It’s a positive “vibe” for lack of a better word that permeates the race. I’ve always felt that about the Powder Puff race but it really hit home after talking to first time competitor Nicole Pitell-Vaughan who drove the Total Chaos, Toyota Tacoma to first place in class 1400. Nicole admitted to driving the “bleep” out of the truck and had the blisters on both hands to prove it. She credits the trucks performance to the Total Chaos crew who did the prep and her Mother in Law Kathy Vaughan for the inspiration. Kathy is a cancer survivor who beat the terrible disease. Nicole’s trophy is going to Kathy.
Thanks to the work that Cedar-Sinai and others are doing the survival rate of patients at all three stages of the disease continues to rise. Nicole and Kathy’s stories are similar to many of the competitors. Hopefully with the great support from MORE, the desert racing community, sponsors like Royal Purple, who donated 50,000 dollars to the cause! and the hard working doctors at Cedar-Sinai the survival rates will continue to rise. If you’ve never been to the race, make sure you attend next year’s race; you too can experience the outpouring of good will and the great times had by all.