Rocky Mountain Raceway partners with Parents EmpoweredJun 29, 2018 03:26PM ● By Greg James
Rocky Mountain Raceway has set up several displays around the facility to remind its patrons of the dangers of underage drinking. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Rocky Mountain Raceway has teamed up with Parents Empowered to discourage underage drinking.
“I have come to the race track several times,” West Valley Youth Council Member Zack Christensen said. “My aunt has raced here several times. It is a fun place, and I am glad they are supporting this message. I know of friends that have gotten alcohol from their parents. It is hard to watch them go down this downward spiral. It can lead to dependence and life troubles.”
Christensen, who will be an incoming senior at Granger High School, said it is important for parents to set guidelines and become proactive in their kids’ lives.
“The race track is a great place to interact as families and groups,” he said. “I think teens will drink when they do not feel happy. I think families need to be part of kids lives. The race track can be an escape from reality. Even a small amount of parent involvement can reduce the real consequences of underage drinking.”
Parents Empowered is using RMR as a unique way to get their message out to parents.
“We are excited to work with Rocky Mountain Raceway,” Parents Empowered co-chairman Art Brown said. “It is a great venue that hosts families. It is a place where families can be together and watch some fast cars.”
According to the Student Health and Risk Prevention underage drinking has decreased steadily since the formation of the group Parents Empowered (10 years ago). West Valley Mayor Ron Bigelow has been a strong supporter of the program.
Studies also show the people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to become dependent during their lifetime. There are 16 million alcoholics in the United States; more than 4 million are teens (according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse).
Underage drinking impairs brain development. A teenage brain is still developing, and alcohol can do irreversible damage to the learning and memory center, the hippocampus.
In Utah, a person under the age of 21 who possesses, consumes or buys alcohol is committing a crime. Penalties are severe and can include fines and even jail time.
“Programs like this can make a difference,” West Valley Police Lt. Rob Hamilton said. “Many teenagers drink to get drunk. Studies show that kids are drinking as young as sixth grade. This is an important issue; we need to set clear boundaries. I hope the residents can work together with us. You or a friend should not have to be a recipient of me or one of my peers knocking on your door. It is one of the worst things we have to do.”
Alcohol is approximately 35 percent of the concession sales at Rocky Mountain Raceway. The track offers family sections where alcohol and smoking are not permitted. Hamilton said the racetrack is very proactive in preventing driving under the influence and underage drinking.
“RMR is very responsible, and their internal security is very good,” he said. “Our intel briefing has not seen an increase in alcohol-related crimes on RMR event nights. They are a facility that does a great job supporting families.”
RMR has several competitors that are under the legal drinking age, and officials plan to help provide public service announcements to remind parents of the laws.
“During our final season we think it is an important opportunity to help fight against the abuse of alcohol amongst teens and the hazards that it can do to a teenagers brain,” said Mike Eames, raceway general manager. “We have installed some creative signs and displays. They will be a reminder on race day about alcohol use, but it will remind parents the role that they can play in preventing underage drinking.”