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From Roy High to the Raceways – Mike Eames

Brandon Garside

Sports Reporter

WEST VALLEY — When he was 12 years old, Roy native and general manager of Rocky Mountain Raceways Mike Eames got his first job. But instead of bagging groceries or delivering newspapers, Eames was working on the drag strip at Bonneville Raceways.

“I handed out the ET (elapsed time) slips at the end of the drag strip,” said Eames. “After you finished your run, I was the little crumb cruncher that gave you your ticket. That was really my first job. I worked here all through high school.”

The love of racing came from being involved at an early age, which was a family affair.

“My parents literally have been involved in street rods and racing forever,” Eames explained. “For the last 40 years my parents have published a book called Mountain West Street News that comes out every other month, and it basically tells everybody on the Wasatch Front where all the street rods, rod runs, car shows, cruise nights, all that fun stuff is. They were always around racing.”

The Eames family worked at Bonneville Raceway from its opening in 1968 to the mid 70s.

”I love racing. All racing. Whether it’s motorcycles, go-carts, I don’t care what it is,“ Eames said. ”Anything that makes noise, goes fast, turns, goes straight, I don’t care what it is.“

Spencer Young bought the facility in 1995, tore it down, and built up what is now known today as Rocky Mountain Raceways.

Eames and and his brother were racing announcers, but wanted to make a return to their old stomping grounds by pestering now directional manager Ron Craft about helping out down at RMR.

“I always asked Ron all the time, ‘Hey if you need announcing help … we came down to a lot of races,’” Eames recalled. “We hounded them all the time, ‘Hey, if you need announcing help, we’re 40 minutes away.’ We were born and raised in Roy.”

The persistence eventually paid off.

“The week before Memorial Day in 2005, I get this weird phone call, and it was a number I didn’t recognize,” said Eames. “It was Ron Craft, the direction manager. I picked up the phone and he says, ‘Are you serious’ and I was like , ‘Am I serious about what?’ And he said, ‘About announcing. I really need some help. Can you start next week?’”

For five years, Eames and his brother announced the events at RMR, and then a more intriguing position became available.

“In 2010, the general manager job became open,” Eames said. “This is really where I was raised. I went through the interview process and Spencer Young offered me the job, and it took me about a millisecond to say ‘Yeah absolutely, I’m ready.’”

With the recent news of Miller Motorsports Park potential to close this year, Eames looks at the situation as being negative not only for the sport of racing, but for the state of Utah in general.

“There should be more race tracks, not less of them,” he said. “Miller Motorsports Park is a world class facility. I know they’ve had a real tough go of trying to make that thing profitable. If it does close, it’s a real loss — not only for racing but for Utah. It sucks that a venue like that is possibly going to shut down.”

Fortunately for Eames, RMR is still profitable.

“Our spectator count continues to grow, our sponsorship numbers continue to grow every year that I’ve been here,” he said. “I think we do a pretty good job because we continue to grow. I think we have a good product to sell. We pride ourselves on being a unique entertainment experience and suitable for the entire family. Between the 100 events that we put on in our three venues, there really is something for everyone.”

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Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BGarsideSE, and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.