Childress grew up selling peanuts and popcorn at Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina with the dream to someday become a race car driver.
“Richard is not only one of my oldest friends. He is one I respect greatly. He came from very humble beginnings and he has never forgotten where he came from,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO who previously worked with Childress in the racing community for two and a half decades.
At the age of 17, Childress purchased his first race car for $20. From 1969 to 1981, he competed on the track as a Sprint Cup Series driver where he racked up 76 top-10 finishes. Childress retired and stepped away from his number-3 car part way through the 1981 season. He hand-picked a driver by the name of Dale Earnhardt to take his place.
|Richard Childress (left) and Dale Earnhardt|
As a team owner, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) drivers won six Winston Cup championships, five Busch Series championships, two Camping World Truck Series championships and one ARCA Racing Series championship. He built and oversees the Richard Childress Racing campus in Welcome, North Carolina. He also runs a vineyard and winery, and is involved in a myriad of community and philanthropic efforts.
Childress is an avid elk hunter and a dedicated conservationist. He serves as the second vice president of the National Rifle Association and leads NRA’s effort to engage better with the hunting community. He is also a RMEF life member, Imperial Habitat Partner and a Silver Medallion Partner in Conservation. He is actively involved with several other conservation groups as well. His passion for wildlife and natural resources is on full display in a wing of the RCR Museum, also located in Welcome.
“He is one of the most committed celebrities to the outdoors and the hunting culture. For him it is a way of life, not a PR gimmick. Richard is the real the deal and I love him for that authenticity,” said Allen.
|Ty Murray, David Allen, Richard Childress, Bob Tallman|
(left to right) at 2014 Elk Camp
Interestingly enough, it was Childress who once volunteered Allen to help RMEF with some marketing projects. That experience led to Allen’s appointment on the RMEF board of directors and eventually to his current position as president and CEO.
Childress owns a ranch in Montana’s Paradise Valley. Recognizing the importance of its wildlife values, he placed a conservation easement on it in order to forever protect its habitat for elk and other wildlife.
Several RMEF representatives recently stopped by his North Carolina office to present Childress with the Silver Medallion Partner in Conservation Award.
First-hand recognition of a real conservation winner!
|RMEF Regional Director Chris Croy, Richard Childress, RMEF Major Gift Officer Gary West|
(left to right)