Kingsport Speedway

 Kingsport Speedway’s Christmas Cheer Contest is tied up like the bow on a Christmas present.

The first-ever contest of its kind hosted by the speedway wrapped up last night. Individuals from across Kingsport entered the contest for best-appearing outdoor Christmas decorations. Bill Rhoten’s holly jolly display on Plainview Street won the contest by a narrow margin over Mook and Harley Jeter’s gingerbread house on Carolina Avenue.

The Rhoten home has been a Christmas decoration staple in Kingsport for many years. Featuring a mixture of old fashion and technologically advanced decorations, Christmas movies playing on TV in the yard and a life-like Santa waving from inside, the house will now add this award to its mantel.

Rhoten started the display in the 1980s at a different house because he and his family would all travel around the city looking at Christmas lights when he was younger. The display, which has grown immensely over the years, is meant to give back to the community and make people smile, if only for a moment.

“This is a small way of giving back, a chance to make people smile no matter what is going on in their lives,” explained Rhoten. “When (people) come by, I see a lot of smiles and all is good for a few minutes.

“This has been a very hard year on everyone, and I hope for at least a few minutes in December each night, I made it a little better.” 

Karen Tunnell, the general manager of Kingsport Speedway, described what propelled this house to the winner’s circle.

“It was not an easy task for our judges,” said Tunnell. “They had a tough time picking a winner because there were so many top contenders in the contest.

“The Rhoten house was hard to beat in the end with its decorations all around, donation box for the local animal shelter, and Mr. Rhoten’s goal to make someone’s night special. We hope Bill enjoys this award as a token of our appreciation for spreading Christmas cheer in the area.”

Tunnell said the contest went over well, especially since it was dreamed up last-minute.

“The contest was successful in our book,” added Tunnell. “We had a good number of entries and excitement for something that we put together quickly to spread some Christmas cheer. “Our goal was to add some fun to what has been a challenging year, and we think we accomplished that.”

Rhoten will receive an official award from Kingsport Speedway and dinner to Texas Roadhouse of Kingsport, as well as tickets to the speedway.

Kingsport Speedway wishes everyone a safe and merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Kingsport Speedway PR

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