The 20th annual Boyd Gaming 300 got off to an exciting start on March 11, thanks to grand marshal David Nilsen Jr., a Las Vegas local and Opportunity Village client. A huge NASCAR fan, David’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was a celebration of Boyd Gaming’s long relationship with Opportunity Village.
A leading local non-profit organization for more than 60 years, Opportunity Village enhances the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as the families who love and care for them.
“To mark this special occasion, we wanted to celebrate with a non-profit organization that has been a friend of Boyd Gaming for as long as we’ve sponsored this race,” Steve Schutte, Senior Vice President of Operations for Boyd Gaming, told assembled race fans in a speech before the race began.
Opportunity Village CEO Bob Brown was thrilled and grateful when David was invited to celebrate the special occasion.
"Boyd Gaming clearly understands the plight of people with intellectual disabilities and by their actions, they are taking the initiative to change the paradigm,” said Brown.
When approached to identify a client to grand marshal the race, Brown had a hard time making the decision – but when he discovered David’s love of NASCAR, he knew he had the perfect OV client for the job.
On March 11, thousands of fans in attendance and millions of television viewers watching at home saw David ready for his big moment. The crowd and drivers roared as he started off the race with the command: “Drivers, start your engines!”
In addition to his starring role, David was also on-hand to help greet the drivers as they were introduced before the race, and then got to stay to watch some of his favorite drivers in the high-octane race.