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Top 40: Aantjes driven by business, family and community

Jasmine Aantjes admits she still hasn’t tweaked her wardrobe for working in the pits at the family business at the Penticton Speedway. The account executive for Sun FM is this week’s recipient of the Top 40 Under 40.   - Mark Brett/Western News
Jasmine Aantjes admits she still hasn’t tweaked her wardrobe for working in the pits at the family business at the Penticton Speedway. The account executive for Sun FM is this week’s recipient of the Top 40 Under 40.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Prior to meeting husband Johnny Aantjes, Jasmine didn’t have an interest in race car driving.

She then got a crash course into the sport at the Penticton Speedway, which the family owns.

Jasmine watches the sport with her husband, but doesn’t get entrenched into horse power, torque or any other specific details or driver history.

What Jasmine likes about owning a business such as the Penticton Speedway is that it’s exciting and different all the time. It also allows their five children (Chase, Jasmine’s son, as well as Marty, Amanda, Cory and Jared) to work there. Chase, eight, has helped Jasmine in the tower and has shot videos which are posted on the track’s Facebook page.

“Great as a family to run a business like that with your kids,” she said. “Just to run an attraction that is all about family entertainment is very rewarding. To look out in the stands and see so many families having such a great time, even if you’re not a race fan, it’s a great form of entertainment.”

The Penticton Speedway attracts spectators from all over B.C. as well as south of the border from Wenatchee, Wash.

Jasmine is this week’s Top 40 Under 40 recipient. The account executive for Sun FM said she is grateful and humbled to be chosen.

“I’m excited and proud to be recognized alongside all the amazing entrepreneurs in this town that are under 40,” said Jasmine. “I was so excited. I called my mom and my husband but admitted it was hard to keep it a secret from others. I was just blown away.”

At the track Jasmine’s duties are to run the timing system, which in the past was completed manually. Now, each car has a transponder that communicates to her computer in the tower. As soon as the car drives over the loop embedded in the start/finish line, she instantly sees how fast the car is going, and what lap it is on. Jasmine also enjoys doing the advertising, marketing and photography. The latter is one of her hobbies.

What Jasmine loves about working at the track is being with her family and the staff as well as their core volunteers. She said the people are passionate and it’s inspiring.

“Being around those people, seeing how much they love racing, makes me feel lucky to be a part of it,” she said. “People love what we’re doing. I love interacting with a bunch of different people.”

A goal Jasmine has is to grow the track and host new events each year. One planned for this year is a two-day pro bull riding event that is sanctioned by Bull Riders Canada.

Jasmine and her husband also love giving back to the community and she said it’s rewarding for her to do fundraisers.

In 2011, they launched the Penticton Speedway foundation and with the help of their board of directors, raise upwards of $30,000 each year.  They also award a scholarship to a local high school student, sponsor a Miss Penticton candidate, give funds to minor hockey, SPCA, South Okanagan Women In Needs Society, cadets, and local families in need.

They recently teamed up with the Penticton Vees and Underwriters Insurance to help fund the Breakfast Programs at local Elementary Schools. Through raffling four cars, they raised more than $16,000 and contributed $4,000 to SOWINS.

“It was incredible,” she said of the response. “We would have been happy to sell half the amount of tickets. We were very excited to see that people came on and supported us in such a big way. We’re going to do that at the race track.”

Along with the Penticton Speedway, the family owns a property development company towards Heritage Hills that is eight hectares. In March of next year, they hope to sell between 26 and 28 lots which provide stunning views. Jasmine said they hope to live out there, but also have plans to possibly build a house near the track. They also have a water and waste-water utility.

When it comes to spare time, Jasmine, who was born in Quill Lake, Sask., said that is not common in their family.

Along with the business, they keep busy with their five kids.

“Spare time for us is just spending time with the kids,” said Jasmine, who was raised by a single mother who is still an inspiration for her daily. “I like to cook a lot at home. Go out for dinner. We’re very social, good group of friends.”

Penticton Top 40 under 40 is presented by the Prospera Credit Union in partnership with the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, JCI Penticton with support from Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen.  Nominations should be sent to manager@penticton.org with the subject line ‘Top 40 Nomination.’   Please include nominees contact info and a brief reason for nomination.

 

 

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