It’s off to the (RC) races at Foursquare Church

Radio-control car enthusiasts direct their vehicles from a specially-made deck. From left are Tyson Shaull, Randy Shaull, Kyle Mellott, Amy Bricker and Jay Shaull. Anyone is invited to Foursquare Gospel Church, 236 Tyrone St. to give the racing a try. Cars are provided. The event will continue at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoons as long as the weather cooperates.

Laughter rang out during the friendly competition of a radio-controlled car race at Greencastle Foursquare Church Sunday night. The outreach ministry brought together children through senior citizens.

The brainchild of Randy Shaull began in May, once he received church board permission to construct a track. And that idea came from his grandson Tyson Shaull, 9. The boy had received an RC car from his dad Jay at Christmas. He wrecked it right away.

"That's when I didn't have experience," he explained.

Dad ordered parts and was able to fix it. Grandpa Randy played with Tyson. "I got hooked right away," said the elder Shaull.

And so he bought his own car and got four more for the church to share. He created a stone dust track in a J shape in a weed patch to the rear of the property at 236 Tyrone St. Of course, when racers couldn't see the cars clearly while standing on the ground, Randy, Jay and Transton Stoner built an elevated deck and tucked a storage shed underneath it. Now everyone can keep an eye on the models as they race the one-tenth scale half mile path.

Anyone is welcome to show up on Sundays to try their hand. Randy opens the evening with a short Bible study in the nearby pavilion, and then everyone heads for the track. People can bring their own cars or use the church's, and no experience is necessary.

Jean Mussleman, 85, tried to direct a car once. "I couldn't keep it on the track," she chuckled.

Harold Moats, 72, volunteered to help Randy, sometimes operating the remote if another competitor is needed. He came in second out of four in one race. Tyson has accumulated a pretty good record, and is the opponent to beat.

Randy's wife Beth made the flags used in race language: green is go, white for one lap left, yellow is caution due to a wreck, red is stop, black is bad behavior (it could happen), and checkered is for the finish.

From five to 10 people have shown up each week to compete. Stoner, 23, became interested because Jay works on his real race car, a dirt late model. He helps out with the mini-versions while home on weekends from Penn State Harrisburg. His girlfriend, Amy Bricker, is the timer.

As darkness fell, Tyson spun his vehicle in circles on the track. Pastor Vic Miller confessed, "I put him up to that."

The races will be held each Sunday as long as weather permits. Since the time will get earlier as the days get shorter, anyone wishing to join in the fun may call Randy at 717-977-7301 to find out exactly when the event starts.