MEDINA — Men and women riding toys will fundraise Saturday to help children receive toys.
It seems only fitting that an event all about modifying a children’s riding toy to win a race will be the basis of a fundraiser for an organization that repairs and adapts toys and assistive devices for children with disabilities.
Faceplant500, an annual event now in its sixth year, gets rolling at 1 p.m. Saturday at Reagan Park Sledding Hill. This year’s proceeds will benefit RePlay for Kids.
Bill Memberg, a biomedical engineer at Case Western Reserve University, founded RePlay for Kids in 1992 after saw an ad in the paper for someone to help fix toys at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The work inspired the creation of the group.
It’s free to watch the Faceplant500, but $15 to enter the adults-only race that will see those 18 and over riding modified children’s toys — think Big Wheels, Power Wheels, wagons and pedal carts — down a hill more commonly known for wintertime sledding.
And if you wonder where the race got its name, it’s because crashes and rollovers are common place in this race that requires every driver to don protective headgear for safety.
Ryan Fredmonsky, event organizer and promoter, said the Faceplant500 is rooted in fun.
“Four friends were at a buddy’s house one day and needed to get down a hill,” he said. “We saw some riding toys and thought instead of walking, we could roll. It just spiraled from there. We decided to do a race. We knew we could get our other buddies together and then someone had the idea to do it and raise money for charity.”
The race has few rules, but free rolling is the big one.
Each driver must get down the hill by sheer gravity — no engine or motorized vehicles allowed.
“They do get a push. We have guys at the top of the hill that will give you a push,” Fredmonsky said.
Day of registration for Saturday’s event starts at 11:30 a.m. and races begin at 1 p.m. The event usually draws upward of 30 to 35 racers that compete in groups of four or five until a winner emerges. A trophy will go to the overall winner and another trophy is for best of show.
In previous years, the Faceplant500 raised funds for groups like Stand Up for Downs, the Children’s Center of Medina County and the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
This year, Replay for Kids is the recipient.
“Usually, we ask people on Facebook for a suggestion of who we should raise money for each year,” Fredmonsky said. “This year, someone suggested RePlay for Kids. I went their website and the cover picture was a Power Wheels and this guy was rebuilding it for a child. It thought it made perfect sense.”
The event tries to raise at least $2,000 each year through T-shirt sales and a donation of a portion of race entry fees and food vendor sales.