By Ann Marie Shambaugh
They’re among the best racers in the world, but on May 10 a group of IndyCar drivers will test their skills on a completely new ride: an adaptive tricycle.
Drivers Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Spencer Pigot and Pippa Mann are among the competitors in the inaugural Horsepower 500, a fundraiser for Children’s TherAplay, a clinic that provides physical and occupational therapies on horseback for children with special needs. Eleven celebrities will compete on behalf of a TherAplay client and therapy horse in a tricycle race around the arena.
“That makes this more of an even playing field, because they’re all going to be riding the same kind of trikes,” Children’s TherAplay Executive Director Hillary McCarley said.
TherAplay serves children age 18 months to 13 years old, with an average session costing $216, most of which is not covered by insurance. Funds raised through the Horsepower 500 will help cover the cost of sessions for children who need it.
The event will also include the presentation of three Amtryke adaptive tricycles to children on a waiting list for the personalized therapeutic devices. The tricycles, which can cost up to $1,500, will be awarded to their new owners by the Horsepower 500 winners.
In addition to watching the race, attendees will have the opportunity to see an Andretti Autosport Indy car and two Indianapolis 500 pace cars; get autographs from drivers; meet the TherAplay horses; play dress up with the Indy 500 princesses; try food from Tucanos, Aw’sum Snoballs and HotBox pizza; and enjoy face-painting, Matchbox car racing and more in the “pit stop.”
The idea for the Horsepower 500 came about when NBC Indy Lights color commentator Anders Krohn, who recently began volunteering at TherAplay and is now on its board of directors, agreed to reach out to his friends in the racing community about participating in a fundraiser for the organization.
“It’s a unique event for us,” McCarley said. “It brings people back to our arena, and we want them to see TherAplay. We want them to see what we do here.”
When: 3 to 5:30 p.m. May 10
Where: Children’s TherAplay, 9919 Towne Road, Carmel
Cost: $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 years and younger, free for age 2 and younger.
More info: childrenstheraplay.org