The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Diana Clauson, the mom of the late Bryan Clauson, greets canines Gunner, Bear and Oakley and their owners Lana Denson of Fishers and daughter Shelby Knott of Arcadia, and youth Parker Cook at the fourth annual Bryan Clauson Strut 2 Save Lives dog walk and fundraiser on Sunday at Dillon Park in Noblesville.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Diana Clauson, the mom of the late Bryan Clauson, greets canines Gunner, Bear and Oakley and their owners Lana Denson of Fishers and daughter Shelby Knott of Arcadia, and youth Parker Cook at the fourth annual Bryan Clauson Strut 2 Save Lives dog walk and fundraiser on Sunday at Dillon Park in Noblesville.
Sunday was definitely one of those dog days of summer as hundreds of canines and their owners came out to the fourth annual Bryan Clauson “Strut 2 Save Lives” dog walk and fundraiser at Dillon Park in Noblesville.
Yes, it was a hot day. But there was plenty of water (including several blue plastic wading pools in which to cool off and continuously running water sprinklers) for the dogs and their owners as they made a lap around Dillon Park for the event that also included food, raffles, prizes, activities and more, and raised $30,000 for the Indiana Donor Network, to bring awareness to organ donations.
Hoosier race car driver Bryan Clauson died on Aug. 7, 2016, following a dirt-track racing accident in Belleville, Kan. An organ and tissue donor, he saved many lives, including Bryan’s heart recipient who the family met.
The short-track racing champion, whose birthday was June 15, 1989, would have turned 30 years old in June. Parents of the 2007 Noblesville High School graduate are Tim and Diana Clauson of Noblesville.
Through organ donation, he was able to save five lives, and he healed many others through tissue donation, according to the Indiana Donor Network Foundation, the charity for the fundraiser..
“It’s just really special to us to get all of these dog lovers together and support a great cause,” said Diana Clauson.
“We had the most registrants the night before than we’ve ever had,” she said.
The event preregistered online about 120 participants plus many packs of dogs, estimating about 200 to 250 participants, she said. A vendor area, kids zone, First Friend K-9 Training, Blackjack Animal Rescue and Humane Society for Hamilton County were all new to the event, which also featured faithful supporter Courtney’s Kitchen of Noblesville providing food. Grand Junction Brewing Co. of Westfield offered libations. In 2018, the event also raised $30,000.
Diana Clauson sported her bright green “Strut to Save Lives” T-shirt and led the activities on Sunday, kicking off opening ceremonies for the walk, and then making announcements for silent auction and raffle tickets for tons of donations from generous sponsors and donors, and emceeing a trivia contest with donated prizes. The event also featured a dog costume contest, bounce house, kids games and more. “It fills my heart a lot to see the support. Bryan had a special love for his dogs; that’s why we started this dog walk. He brought his dogs (Chevy and Stewart) to every racetrack. We thought that this was a perfect event in honor of him.” Bryan’s dogs were out traveling over the weekend and could not attend the event. However, Diana and Tim Clauson brought their own dogs, two chihuahuas.
The community support has been amazing since Bryan’s death.
Bryan Clauson Suite Tower was built and opened in 2018 at Knoxville Raceway, home of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa. Bryan had raced at the Knoxville Nationals for three years.
An historic marker was erected on April 8, 2017, in his name at Noblesville’s Forest Park. At the 2017 Indy 500, Bryan was recognized during the 100th lap; he led the 100th lap of the 100th running of the Indy 500 in 2016. Also, Pit Row, Garage No. 21, in 2017, was dedicated to Driven2SaveLives, Indiana Donor Network’s campaign to honor Bryan Clauson.
The Strut 2 Save Lives event originally took place in April. “We were fighting the rain every weekend. So we moved it to June. We’ve learned a lot every year,” she said, during a break, as she greeted canines and their owners.
Diana Clauson said. “We’re growing. It’s been really awesome just to see the growth and people loving the event and coming back every year.”
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.