ROSSBURG – Word from the castle of Eldora Speedway has come down that Susie Barga, sister of Eldora founder Earl Baltes, has been chosen as the Royal Sovereign for the 32nd Kings Royal on July 17-18.
Barga, 87, from Versailles, is often at Eldora races and worked with the Baltes family for many years.
“It’s about the highest honor I could ever have,” Barga said. “I worked with Earl all my life. He was a great leader, advisor and one of the best persons I’ve ever known.”
The Kings Royal is a two-day winged sprint car show that was started in 1984 by Baltes. While the racing has always been spectacular, it’s Saturday night’s post-race victory lane ceremonies, and the $50,000 winner’s check, that has set the event apart from all others.
The winning car pulls into victory lane and the ceremony begins with one queen placing the cape on the winner while the other hands the driver a scepter. The Royal Sovereign is summoned to the stage carrying the crown while the driver kneels down.
Barga then will state: “With the power bestowed upon me, I hereby crown thee King (driver’s last name) the 32nd,” and places the 14-inch high crown on the winner’s head. The driver then sits down on the 287 pound throne, which has been used since 1984.
Superstars such as Steve Kinser (1984, 1988, 1991, 1997, 2003, 2005 and 2010), Jac Haudenschild (1987, 1994 and 1998), Sammy Swindell (1992, 1999 and 2012), Donny Schatz (2007 and 2009) and brothers Dave (1993 and 1995) and Dale Blaney (2000) have all be crowned king. The Kings Royal is on currently on a run of seven different winners in seven years.
“I’m pretty excited. I’m thrilled to do this and am honored. I don’t believe it at all. I tell people I’m going to do this, and they don’t believe me,” Barga said with a laugh.
“I hope Earl is looking down on all this and smiling,” Barga said of her brother, who passed away on March 23.
Tickets can be purchased at www.eldoraspeedway.com or by phone at 937-338-3815.