By Mike Henle
LAS VEGAS -- Bill Shapley showed up in Southern Nevada at the age of 14 in 1970 after living in Pico Rivera, Calif. About a year later, he joined the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts, and he’s been active with the club ever since.
“I was hanging out with Kenny Freeman while going to Rancho High School,” recalled Shapley, now the owner of NV Automotive at 4580 E. Lake Mead Blvd. in Las Vegas. “He asked me to get involved with SNORE and I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
From there, Freeman’s mother, Marian, took Shapley for a ride in a small pink two-seater and the rest is history.
“I have been hooked ever since,” laughed Shapley. “In fact, you could say that I took it hook, line and sinker.”
What Shapley discovered was an incredible group of people who also became his friends.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Shapley, who is now 56.
Nowadays, Shapley is involved even more with SNORE considering that is again serving as the club’s tech director as well as a racer in events with son, Billy, in a Class 13 Sportsman buggy. He’s going to be very busy during the Feb. 22-24 running of the Battle at Primm south of Las Vegas.
“Tommy Ford told me that if he was going to be president of SNORE, I was going to be his race director in 1988,” recalled Shapley of Ford, who now lives in Whitesboro, Tex. “I told Tommy I didn’t know a thing about being race director and he told me we’d have to learn together.
“It all turned out great. I had to not only learn the technical aspects, but also working with the Bureau of Land Management. It was a great experience and most definitely opened a lot of doors for me.”
There are many people that Shapley will never forget.
“First and foremost, the Freeman family along with Roger Gaskill, Denny Selleck and Bert Vaughan,” Shapley recalled. “You mention SNORE and you think of people like this, although there’s actually too many to list.”
In particular, Shapley has high praises for a list of SNORE members who pitched in to help him back in about 2007.
At the time, Shapley weighed 580 pounds and his health was getting worse because of his situation. Before he knew it, SNORE member Steve Alexander spearheaded a fund raiser generating $30,000 so that Shapley could have gastric bypass surgery at Desert Springs Hospital.
Now weighing in at 240 pounds, Shapley feels great. The fact that a lot of the money came from people that he didn’t even know is something that he’ll never forget.
“My blood pressure is good and so is my cholesterol,’’ he said at his shop. “I’m sure that the surgery prolonged my life by at least 20 years. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate SNORE for what its members did for me.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me and I can now race with Billy, too. The procedure undoubtedly changed my life and I’ll forever be thankful to all of the members of SNORE who helped me.”
Yet another key element following the surgery is the fact that Shapley can now race with his son, Billy.
“Racing with your son is absolutely a big thrill,” the elder Shapley said. “Billy is a good driver and he’s a very good fabricator. He works on his shocks, shocks and suspension. He learned it all working with us at the shop.”
The Battle at Primm set for Feb. 22-24 about 30 miles south of Las Vegas is drawing huge interest.
“As of only few days ago, we had 275 entries,” Shapley said. “We could reach 300 by race day and tech is going to be hectic.
“But it’s all good.”
The Battle at Primm will be staged over 12-mile laps behind Buffalo Bill’s on the east side of I-15. Tech, contingency and qualifying are set for Friday; with a full slate of racing Saturday and Sunday beginning at 7 a.m.
- The Battle at Primm, SNORE’s opening race for the 2013 season, could draw as many 300 entries from several states including Arizona, California Utah and Nevada; along with a Japanese driver named Dave Matsui, who is entered in Class 12.
- For the first time, both Class 9 and 16 will be qualifying along with the Unlimiteds and Class 1 cars during Friday’s session which begins at 9:15 a.m. behind Buffalo Bill’s.
- Nineteen entries have been pre-entered for the all new Pre-Run class, which enables another fun class to enjoy the sport of off-road racing.
- Class 9 has 33 entries while the event will include 17 Unlimited with names like Pat Dean, Tommy Bradley, Johnny Greaves, Jordan Poole, Justin Davis and Richard Boyle.
- Terrible Herbst gas stations are supplying $50 gas cards that can be used at any of its Southern Nevada stations for the first 60 teams that signed up for the Battle at Primm. To qualify for the Terrible’s tow many, the driver of record must be based more than 200 miles from Primm and have pre-paid their entry in full before the drawing.
|Tech Director Bill Shapley will again be heavily involved when SNORE kicks off its 2013 season with the Battle at Primm Feb. 22-24 about 30 miles south of Las Vegas.