The official winner of Monday night’s 8th Annual Betty Jane France Memorial High Speed Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament presented by Halifax Health was Connie Ritchey but in reality there were many winners, including the children who will benefit from the proceeds that were raised by this annual event.
The tournament, started by the late founder and chairwoman of The NASCAR Foundation, Betty Jane France raised $150,000 for the Speediatrics Children’s Fund during an entertaining evening at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s new Mori Hosseini Student Union facility.
NASCAR on NBC commentator Rick Allen and Sirius XM commentator Angie Skinner served as co-host with Allen also serving as the event’s auctioneer prior to the competition. In addition, renowned professional poker player Maria Ho returned as the tournament’s special guest.
Allen was engaging – and motivating. The highlight of his calls was producing a winning bid of $12,000 for an original artwork created by Lesa France Kennedy.
"This is a real honor to be involved in honoring Betty Jane France’s memory," Allen said. "I’m in my inaugural auctioneering role for this event and I even get to play poker, too."
A total of 150 players participated including NASCAR drivers Vinnie Miller and Matt Mills as well as Ormond Beach, Fla. native and runner-up from the Voice Kaleb Lee, The NASCAR Foundation Chairman Mike Helton, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace and former Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey. Both Wallace and Ritchey serve on the foundation’s board.
"February in Daytona Beach involves so many NASCAR traditions; we are so proud that this tournament continues to build its own tradition," said The NASCAR Foundation Executive Director Nichole Krieger. "Mrs. France loved this tournament and would love that the tradition of helping kids in our racing communities continues because of the generosity of our Daytona Beach community."
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