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Ahoskie native to speak at Chamber banquet

AHOSKIE – Chris Powell is coming home.

Powell, an Ahoskie native now residing in Nevada where he is General Manager of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will be the guest speaker at the annual membership banquet of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce.

The banquet, set for Thursday, March 19, begins with a 6 p.m. social hour followed by a 7 p.m. meal at the Ahoskie Inn.

A graduate of Ahoskie High School, Powell is the son of Dorothy “Dot” Powell of Ahoskie and the late Allen Powell who served as the Ahoskie Postmaster for a number of years.

Powell, who worked as a sports writer for this newspaper while still in high school, went on to graduate with a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

From there, Powell worked with United Press International in Charlotte before taking a position with R.J. Reynolds in Winston-Salem. There, he worked in media relations, first with RJR’s professional golf tour and later moving to Winston Cup Racing. He eventually became RJR’s Media Director for NASCAR Winston Cup Racing.

That position set the stage for Powell’s continued rise in the world of NASCAR. In 1998, he was lured away from RJR by Bruton Smith, the legendary owner of Lowes Motor Speedway near Charlotte. Smith sent Powell out west to manage his latest acquisition – Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That track will host NASCAR events on the weekend of Feb. 28 – March 1 – the Sam’s Town 300 Nationwide Series and the Shelby 427 Sprint Cup event.

As part of the March 19 banquet, one member of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce will be recognized for outstanding and dedicated service to the Chamber and the Ahoskie area.

Individual tickets are now on sale for $15 each.

Three levels of sponsorships are also available. The Gold level ($250) includes a reserved table for eight, a display banner at the banquet and recognition in the Banquet Program. Silver sponsors ($200) receive a reserved table for eight and recognition in the Banquet Program. Bronze sponsors ($100) receive a reserved table for four and recognition in the Banquet Program. Any donations over the ticket price will be listed as patrons.

Due to limited seating, reservations are encouraged. The deadline for purchasing tickets is March 13 in order to have an accurate head count for the caterer.

The event will also include door prizes and a silent auction.

For tickets or additional information, contact the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce at 252-332-2042.