Singing talent goes with Great Race

Jori Hollenbeck didn't think much about the Great Race coming to Craig, except that she would sing the national anthem and a few other songs before the cars zoomed off to the next city.

The 18-year-old Craig resident never expected to race off with them.

Wayne Stanfield, chief operating official for the Great Race, told chamber Director Cathy Vanatta before the Great Race pit stop in Craig on Tuesday morning that he was looking for someone to sing for them throughout the race, but he hadn't found anyone yet.

"I told him, 'When you hear her, she'll be the one,'" Vanatta said.

Jori had just finished the last note of the national anthem when Stanfield approached her and her mom, Brenda Hollenbeck, with the offer for Jori to tour with the Great Race as its singer.

"They wanted an answer right away," Brenda said, admitting she was nervous because her daughter had never really been away from home on her own.

"But I could see in her eyes she wanted to do this, and I thought what a great opportunity this was for her to see America," Brenda said.

The Great Race is covering all of Jori's expenses and will pay her $100 a day and fly her home from the Great Race's finish point in Monterey, Calif., on Sunday.

"They are taking really good care of her," Brenda said.

Jori has performed all over Craig and is considering singing as a career.

"This could possibly be a huge step for her," Brenda said.

As of Wednesday morning, Jori had performed "God Bless America" in Vernal, Utah, and a 20-minute performance in Provo, Utah. Her mom said her voice was holding up well, and that Jori was "in heaven."

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