NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and Bakersfield, Calif., native Kevin Harvick teamed up with apparel company TapouT to donate new uniforms and gear to the North High School wrestling team in Bakersfield on Tuesday.
Harvick, a former North High School wrestler, and TapouT made the presentation during a school pep rally and also awarded four student scholarships totaling $11,000 to North seniors who participated in an essay contest focusing on overcoming adversity in life.
"What an honor for me to go back to my alma mater, stand in the same gym and help out not only the wrestling team, but also hopefully give some students a leg up on their college educations," Harvick said. "Wrestlers are as disciplined as athletes come, but these scholarship winners are equally disciplined in their academics. I can't thank TapouT enough for helping the Kevin Harvick Foundation extend a helping hand."
TapouT co-founder Tim Katz (SkySkrape) and MMA talent Gilbert Melendez assisted Harvick in the presentations. The North High School wrestling team is near and dear to the 1994 graduate's heart. Harvick, co-founder of the Kevin Harvick Foundation, also donated money and raised funds in 2008 to refurbish the school's wrestling room after its condemnation.
North High senior William Gantz was announced at the pep rally as the winner of the $5,000 Kevin Harvick Foundation "My Fight Matters" scholarship by virtue of winning the essay contest. The scholarship is intended to assist in covering college fees and expenses. The Kevin Harvick Foundation and TapouT also awarded three runners-up scholarships of $2,000 each to finalists Joel Bradshaw, John Carroll and Emily Presley, half of which was donated by Bob Newberry, owner of NTS Motorsports and North High School alumnus. Applicants were required to be four-year college-bound, have maintained a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate excellence in overcoming adversity.
The school's band and cheerleaders took part in the pep rally, which also featured music and entertainment, as well as the distribution of complimentary TapouT t-shirts to all students in attendance. The students also had the opportunity to interact with and ask questions of Harvick and TapouT representatives.
Harvick, who heads to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend for the penultimate race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, is making full use of his California swing by hosting charitable events on consecutive days this week. He also will host the Third Annual Happy's Classic Golf Tournament at Bakersfield Country Club. Proceeds benefit the Kevin Harvick Foundation.