There’s nothing slower than a herd of turtles, but Desert Vista High School is hoping that a herd of turtles will help them expedite the process of scoring funding to install a turf field and field house at Thunder Stadium.

Desert Vista’s football booster club is putting on the inaugural Thunder Turtle Race Fundraiser on Sept. 18 with a goal of raising $100,000. Potential donors can adopt a plastic turtle, and all of the adopted turtles will race around the lazy river at the Arizona Grand Resort, where the event will be held.

“We have 50 great prizes for the first 50 turtles that cross the finish line, so everyone has a chance to win something,” Tim Matykiewicz, a member of the Desert Vista football booster club, said. “People can bring their families for the evening and enjoy all of the amenities of the resort.”

The price to adopt a turtle for the race is $10, but for $35 turtle race goers can enjoy an all-you-can-eat barbecue. Music will be presented by Ray the DJ, and the event will be held from 5 to 10 p.m.

The booster club has turned to a more creative type of fundraiser because of shrinking budgets and the bad economy.

“The school district doesn’t really have the funds to help us improve our athletic facilities right now,” Matykiewicz said. “We’d like the whole Ahwatukee Foothills community to get involved and adopt turtles because this is about the future of all students who come to Desert Vista.”

According to Matykiewicz the Ahwatukee Foothills area is currently lacking in sports facilities for youth, and building a training room would allow the school to host many other youth sports. Also, the football field at Desert Vista is grass, which prohibits it from hosting certain sports.

“If we raise enough money to put artificial turf in our facility other sports and youth groups will be able to use it,” he said. “There isn’t enough money to build whole new facilities right now, but we’re going to take what we have and make it better.”

Matykiewicz encourages all members of the community to come out and enjoy the unique Thunder Turtle Race Fundraiser.

“There are going to be some really great prizes and they were all generated locally,” he said. “It’s very different from any other fundraiser in the area.”

For more information or to adopt a turtle for the event, visit

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