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Nate Prater Shares Mission of Burnouts for Kids Ahead of Third Annual Event

The third annual Burnouts for Kids is back at Carolina Dragway and is set for Saturday, December 16.

The fan-favorite event consists of a burnout contest with a $10,000 guaranteed payout to the winner, increased since last year’s event. The contest will be judged by 10 celebrity judges, including Drag Illustrated’s own Chief Operating Officer Mike Carpenter. Returning judges include Lyle Barnett, Stevie Jackson, Donald and Stephanie Long. New to the event are DJ McCain, Scotty Cannon, Skids for Kids founder Andrew Angeli and Bryan Axelson from Kicks 99.

In addition to the burnout contest, the family-friendly event will have an open test-n-tune, a Jr. Dragster VIP area, a car, truck & motorcycle show, inflatables for kids, face painting, food trucks and the night will end with a fireworks display. Plus, Santa Claus will be on-site for a meet and greet.

Nate Prater, founder of Burnouts for Kids, quickly realized after the success of the inaugural event in 2021 at his shop that he needed to look for a new destination.

“A few friends and I started hosting car shows at my business back in 2021,” said Prater. “Our goal was to host four events a year, with the last one being a charity event. Each one we did featured food vendors, bands, and a fireworks display. The first Burnouts for Kids awarded a $1,000 prize to the winner and was judged solely by the noise of the crowd. We had around 10 entries total that year. We were lucky enough to be able to borrow enough concrete barriers from a business behind us to make it as safe as possible (it was not). Tanner Walker, who almost burnt his van and my shop to the ground, won our first burnout competition. We ended up raising a little over $10,000 that year.”

Prater and his team reached out to Carolina Dragway and welcomed him to move his quickly growing events to the facility.

“November of last year, we hosted the Second Annual Burnout for Kids. It was our first real official burnout competition,” Prater said. “We bumped up the payout to the winner to $5,000 (paid in new uncirculated one-dollar bills). Plus, we added a championship ring and a large trophy that the winners’ names will be added to year after year. We brought in six judges last year to crown the winner: Lyle Barnett, Stevie Jackson, Mike Hill, Jess Poxson, and Donald and Stephanie Long. Since the beginning, our goal with the event was to raise as much money as possible to purchase toys for the local Children’s Hospital. Last year, we raised a little over $26,000.”

After Barnett’s involvement last year, he approached Prater with a new donation idea.

“We discussed going forward with a split of the toys and supplies going to both the Children’s Hospital and Doctors Hospital on his behalf,” he continued. “Doctors Hospital holds a pretty special place for both of us. As you know, Lyle was airlifted to the JMS Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, after his accident in South Georgia. Lyle spent five months there being treated for his injuries.”

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“In high school, I developed a pretty serious infection in my leg from a spider bite that landed in me in the JMS burn unit. I spent over a month there and had multiple surgeries in the process.”

Even with Prater’s rapid growth and success with Street Car Braggin Rights, Burnouts for Kids is easily his favorite event of the year. 

“The amount of support we get from the local community and the racing industry is amazing,” Prater explained. “Each year, when we are done collecting all donations and proceeds from the event, we go to Wal-Mart with all of the staff and volunteers to buy the toys and supplies. Nothing in this world beats running the aisles with your friends, spending $25,00 on toys, and knowing where it’s going. 

“We bring everything back to my shop and make an even split that we deliver to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia and Doctors Hospital. After spending a few Christmases and birthdays in the hospital myself, it’s pretty easy to get yourself down. Being in the hospital during the holidays, no matter the situation, is already terrible. Being able to bring a small amount of joy to these kids is what we all do it for.”

Prater is still accepting donations and sponsorships. He can be contacted by phone 706-631-6178 or email [email protected].

This story was originally published on November 30, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.