Brother, sister win championships

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Anna and Allen Butler are champions.

The daughter and son of Allen and Suzanne Butler, they have an impressive list of awards for a variety of competitions.

Anna competes in ranch sorting, team penning and UTV off-road racing.

On the Ranch Sorting National Championship (RSNC) circuit, she is the national reserve champion in national points for youth out of the entire 50 states. She finished fifth in the world finals in her class. She holds the world championship belt buckle for #3 Team Penning in the Dixie Regional Team Penning Association (DRTPA) for 2019. The finals were held last September in Monroe, La.

She also won third place in Youth Sorting. Anna was chosen to carry the American flag each morning.

In her off-road racing, Anna drove her 170cc side-by-side to a strong second place in the June 20 weekend.

While all of these awards are certainly impressive, what makes these efforts so spectacular?

Anna is seven years old.

She has been competing since she was five.

When Anna isn’t competing in sorting competitions with her horse Bacon, she competes in the CORS, Competitive Off-Road Racing Series, held at Durhamtown Off-Road Park in Union Point, Ga.

Durhamtown is a 6,000-acre off-road riding facility in Union Point for dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs, side-by-sides, Jeeps, 4x4 vehicles and rock crawlers, and provides races for off-road vehicles and drivers of all ages. Anna drove her 170cc to second place over the weekend. She is tied for the series in points with her friend Brady Hickman. Anna won the first race of the season.

While Anna loves competing, especially getting to be with friends and see the friends she has made while competing across the U.S., she doesn’t like the long days traveling and the extremely hot days.

But practice makes perfect, and she does practice as much as she can. A large part of the competitions depends on the horses, and fortunately, Anna’s horse Bacon is the type that doesn’t need lots of “fine tuning.” The same is true with the racing UTV. Her parents got a great fabricator to build her machine so the maintenance would be minimal.

Anna says she loves competing and has no intention of stopping any time soon. She plans on driving her mom around and getting her mom’s horse to shows before she quits.

Anna has great support from her family, especially her brother, Allen Jr., who also competes in off-road racing.

He is just as remarkable at age 14.

He went to the Texas competitions to see his friends and support his sister. He does not compete nationally in the sorting or penning but loves the horses and competes some locally. His passion is to drive fast.

Allen races the CORS series and he runs the two-hour endurance course. Last year he ran the amateur class, a trophy division, and he finished for the year second overall for his age group.

There were no other kids driving in this division. In fact, they don’t even offer a kids’ endurance race. Since the beginning of this year and with all the wins he received last year, he has moved up to the open class, a payout division.

Allen sports the fully wrapped 1000XP Polaris that looks like the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard. It is one of his favorite TV shows and movies, so, of course, the horn had to be added to his machine.

“When he passes another driver, he blows the Dukes of Hazard horn, and they all know they just got spanked by a 14-year-old yelling YEEHAAWW,” laughed Suzanne.

There have been two races so far, and he won the last one, earning $750. He placed second in the season opener, banking $540. He is tied for the 2020 points with his fellow competitor Michael Stewart, the driver of the famous #306 machine. Allen has made himself a practice course on their farm.

“We have the best neighbors in all the county because it is nothing for Allen to drive hours and hours on this five-minute lap. I will call him and say ‘Son, it’s getting dark, and the neighbors and I are tired of hearing your machine zoom thru the woods,’ and Allen always responds with, ‘Really mom? I am just warming up.’ I know he is joking, he has the best sense of humor around, and he keeps my days short when I have to make the long hauls,” said Suzanne.

Allen has his sights set on a race in Texas in December, a 12-hour endurance race with a $50,000 purse. The family is working on building a team of expert drivers and making plans to attend the Texplex 12-hour endurance race in December, thanks to his sponsors, parents, Advantage Auto, John Greenwell and DC Concepts, and Robbie Craven.

Recently, Allen was invited to become a “Lunatic.” Lunatic racing is a team of side-by-side drivers that break records and compete all over the USA. Allen was proud to put that “Lunatic” sticker on the side of his machine.

What is it like to be the parents of such exceptional children?

“I had to haul horses to Texas for a competition. I left out June 5th go to Fort Worth a day later. Anna and I, along with Bailee Stanley and Laura Lachicotte, competed until Wednesday, then I headed out back to South Carolina on June 10 (really Thursday morning) about 4 a.m. We stopped in Mississippi for a rest and then loaded back up and headed to Union Point, Ga., with horses in tow. Dad, Allen Butler (we call him Big Allen), met me at the race track with the cargo trailer full of ATVs and we exchanged kids and horses, and I stayed with Anna and Allen at Durhamtown so they could drive to victory lane Saturday June 13,” said Suzanne, Anna’s mom. “I went from four legs to four wheels!” she added.

“The two main questions I get are first, ‘Do you get to drive that big rig?’ and I answer yes, because it drives better that my Yukon. The second question people ask is ‘Girl are you tired?’, and I respond by saying, ‘When they do lay me down in my final resting place, y’all will know, without a doubt, that I am resting in peace!’ Then I laugh and smile really big! It is all worth it when the kids try their best and do well,” said Suzanne.

“We are the sponsors, the chauffeurs, the producers of films, the pit crew, the chefs, the alarm clocks. But I am not the groom or the broom. The kids do this because they like to do it and they have a passion for it. We as parents make it happen because of their drive, not because we are driving them to stand on a pedestal,” said Suzanne.

For more information on the Butlers’ competitions and points, go to www.rsnc.us, www.drtpa.com, and the CORS Competitive Offroad Racing Series on Facebook.

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