While NASCAR driver Ryan Newman is looking for his first win of the 2017 season in the Monster Energy Cup Series, he’s also fighting for the welfare of animals back in Statesville, N.C.
Newman and his wife, Krissie, are the founders of Rescue Ranch, a non-profit animal-welfare organization situated on 87 acres. The ranch headquarters itself is an 8,000-square-foot building with classroom-style rooms.
“We have the opportunity to kind of touch the people in Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and other areas around us,” Ryan Newman said.
According to the group’s mission statement, “Rescue Ranch promotes, through its education, respect for all animals as well as agricultural, environmental and wildlife conservation, and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership to enhance the human-animal bond.”
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Krissie, who serves as the President of Rescue Ranch, came up with the idea in 2010 on a trip to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego. And in January of 2012, Rescue Ranch was born.
While the ranch is located in Statesville, it has been effective at reaching those in surrounding areas, too.
Rescue Ranch has been a hotspot for field trips from schools in the region. Kids are able to come play with the animals while learning about the work needed to properly care for them. In addition to the education center, the ranch also has a nature trail to educate the kids outside of the classroom.
In addition to all of that is the ranch’s newest addition, a 10,000-square-foot playground designed to give students some recess time in their full day at the ranch.
Another feature on the site is the Earnhardt Family Playground, which was donated by the Dale Jr. Foundation and the Earnhardt family. More than a typical playground, it’s all-inclusive and fully accessible to children with disabilities, including those in wheelchairs.
“It is important for us to make sure every kid has an opportunity to learn, to experience the ranch and to be able to play at the same time,” Ryan Newman said.
The playground continues the animal theme and, according to Newman, gives the ranch the ability to host full-day field trips.
Coming to KC
NASCAR’s Monster Energy Series makes its playoff visit to Kansas Speedway this month.
What: Hollywood Casino 400
When: Sunday, Oct. 22
Where: Kansas Speedway
More info: www.kansasspeedway.com