By BILL FOLEY
Land of Legends announcer Steve Ovens surprised viewers of the track’s broadcast on Saturday night as he “went silent” on the third lap of the Modified main-event.
For years, racing has been a family experience for the Ovens family, but now instead of the physical presence of his dad and brother, Steve lives through them emotionally each and every Saturday night.
Sixty-two year old Stewart Ovens and Steve’s brother Brad, thirty-one, were always together at the races, but unfortunately that has come to an abrupt end.
Dirt Track Digest reached out to Steve about that “going silent” moment and he graciously responded.
Steve explained, “I lost my father and brother 16 days apart in November to COVID and for quite a while after our banquet I was really struggling with racing in general. I went to Daytona to deliver some ashes and such, but coming back to the tower at Canandaigua was a struggle mentally. My brother Brad was the assistant producer for LOLR TV and did all the graphic work during the week and on racing night.”
Continuing he said, “Not having him there behind me to turn back to and get advice or approval for something I did or to just give that look you give your family when you know you are booth thinking the same thing was different. Not having that there after being so tight knit was really pulling at me.”
Racing had always been a part of the family’s life and Steve, reflecting on his dad he said, “He was a champion Street Stock driver at Dundee, Canandaigua and Weedsport. He got Brad and I into go karts. I always say us boys never had a chance when it came to racing as is bit hard when it came to the racing bug.”
So as Steve prepped for the 2022 season he knew it would be a little more lonesome.
Explaining his “silent” moment, Ovens explained, “So when I came back to the race track I really struggled. I needed to find a way to keep them with me, but not disrupt the show. I just wanted to honor them because without either of them, our life experiences or their encouragement I wouldn’t be doing what I am today.”
Continuing he said, “The lap three silence is just my way, really our whole production team’s way of tipping our caps to Stu and Brad. It’s something I asked Art, our producer, and Paul Cole if I could do and they were fully on board. I plan to carry this with me as long as they allow me too. It was an incredibly sad and traumatic experience and this helps get me through the night for those 17 or 18 seconds.”
This Saturday night the remembrance of the Ovens will go one step further as Steve said, “We are running the Ovens Memorial for Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks at the Land of Legends. There will be $2,500 in increased purse between the two divisions from my family and Adam Depuy’s company iFreeze Storage and Distribution in Fulton. There will be $800 plus lap money in the Street Stocks and $555 in lap money for the Hobby Stocks.”
Steve Ovens’ heart will be totally into the show each and every week as he is not only doing it for his passion for racing, but also for his love of family.