Introduction: When I think of our speaker here today, John Bandimere, good friend of mine, I think of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:31. Paul wrote this. He says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
I met John about nine years ago. I sat back and watched his life, the way he leads his business in righteousness and the example of godliness he is to his family, I can truly and assure you that John is a man that lives his life to the glory of God. I think you’ll be able to pick that out today as he shares his testimony. John owns Bandimere Speedway. It’s located on what they’ve dubbed Thunder Mountain. It’s on C-470 off to the right as you’re heading south on C-470 in Morrison, Colorado there. The race season just started, right, John? We need to pray for good weather on the weekends because that’s when they race. The rains shut things down for them. If you would, just welcome John Bandimere. Thanks, John.
John Bandimere: Wow. First of all, I don’t own the business, God does. I brought some cards. I’m going to lay them here. You’re welcome to pick one up. If you do pick one up and you send me a note, I’ll be happy to send you a brochure for the track if you’re interested and put you on the mailing list. Also, this last year, the Lord allowed us to write a book. It’s called Living It Loud. It has a little bit of what I might share with you today. I’m going to give this book away, but I’m going to ask a question when I’m done and the first person that can answer it correctly, I’m going to give it to them, okay?
Jim asked me how long I wanted to speak. I told him about an hour and 15 minutes. That’s probably not going to work. What I’d like to do is … First of all, how many have ever been in a meeting where I have shared before as far as speaking? Okay, good. I had to ask that question because there’s a couple things that I … When you speak, there’s certain things that you share, right? I didn’t want to take and bore all of you, but might bore 2 or 3 of you. My father has always, while he was alive, been involved in performance. He was the first guy that ever supercharged anything. The reason for that is we live a mile high and we all struggle to get air. Automobiles struggle to get air up here.
Let me just start a little bit and I’ll just run through. I want to tell you a little bit about my dad. I graduated high school in 1956. Dad had, in the back of his mind, he was in the auto parts business. He had, in the back of his mind, he and mom wanted to build a place that the kids that were good customers, in fact, some of you, maybe, were customers of theirs, where they could take and race their cars in a safe place. More importantly, he really wanted them to know a little bit about the equipment that they were buying because a lot of times, they bought stuff and items that they thought were going to make their car go faster and honestly, it didn’t do a thing. He was really concerned about that. His dream was to start a place. The place, it was called The Safety Proving Grounds of America. That really was the original name of Bandimere Speedway.
Dad loved anything that had horsepower. He loved to make things work and he was really good at it. He truly was a hero of mine as I was growing up and still is. The real key was is that the real horsepower and power that came into his life, was through Jesus Christ. In Philippians 4:13, it says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” When dad opened the door to the racetrack, what he did is he opened a door, we’re talking about businesses, but he opened a door where we had the opportunity to share power and performance. Where does the real power and performance come from? I already shared. It comes from Christ.
Today, you all came, probably, in a vehicle. If you all walk out of here today and get in your car and turn the ignition switch on and nothing’s there, how good is that car? A car is not complete without an engine. It’s not complete unless that engine is running. Man is not complete without a relationship with Jesus Christ. Whenever I sign the book, I always sign it with Ephesians 2:8-9. Ephesians 2:8-9 it says, “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It’s a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” I’d like to share something with you, That is this. I’ve done this many times, Ken’s going to laugh, but sometimes in sharing your faith, it’s really simple if you think about it. Whose dollar bill is that? Mine, right, but I want to give it to you.
Speaker 3: I’ll take it.
John Bandimere: Okay. All right. He was pretty … He’d take that, right? Why would I have to give you a dollar bill?
Speaker 3: You don’t have to.
John Bandimere: I had no reason at all, right? Why would you have to accept it? You had no reason whatsoever, but that’s how salvation is. It’s that simple. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I have shared a dollar bill with like that and they step back and say, “Why? Why would you want to give that to me?” That’s exactly what happens when we share Christ. They don’t really want to accept it because they think there is a hitch or there’s some kind of a problem with it, right? Whose dollar bill is that now?
Speaker 3: Mine.
John Bandimere: Right because you took it. If you had a little package underneath the Christmas tree and you have your name on it, you’re going to open it. I’d like to just tell you real quick my testimony. I grew up in a Christian family, of course. My folks really loved the Lord. I never got saved until I was 19. I really wasn’t a problem kid, but I was rebellious in many, many ways. I went to church with my parents and I did everything that they wanted me to do. By doing that, it kept me under the radar. I just didn’t have to … Some of you who are out there know exactly what I’m talking about. I just never made a commitment. By playing that role, it did just exactly that. My testimony is really long, but I’m going to make it short because of the time today.
I was living in our parts store on 8th and Champa, upstairs. That was my little place to live when I was in my early 20s, late teens. My mom asked me to go to a church service at the church where we were going. It was a revival. I went. That night, the invitation was given, and I knew I needed to go forward, but I didn’t. I went back and I couldn’t sleep that night. I kept thinking to myself if I die tonight, I’m not going to make it. I know I’m not going to make it because I’m not saved. I went back the next night and walked the aisle and gave my heart to the Lord. That verse in Proverbs 22:6 where it says, “Train up a child in the way they should go and when he’s old he’ll not depart from it,” became real because that’s really the way my folks had raised me, thankfully. God is true to His word and promises and today, living for the Lord is a main priority in my life.
My father’s family all grew up in Golden in the Arvada area. You might find this really interesting, but Bandimere Speedway, the original location, a lot of you drove by it today. It was on 56th right here on Ward Road. You know how you come down the hill? There’s a little park off to the left. That was my uncle’s property. He used to have milk cows and raised a lot of his kids, 9 of them, I think, in that area. Anyway, they were going to build that right in that valley. County commissioners had okayed it. They started moving dirt and the people came out and said, “What are you doing?” “We’re building a racetrack.” “No, not here.” The county commissioners actually found the property where we are today. That was really a blessing.
The track started in 1958, had hobby events for many years. 1979 was our first national event. 1986 my dad went to be with the Lord. My mother preceded him. She was very young. She was only 53. She passed away when she was 65. In 1987, that’s where I’m going to spend a little bit of time with you today because I shared with you the deal that what matters most and how attitude can change things. We had to make some major decisions. NHRA, who had the national event at our place and had come to us and said, “You need to improve your facility. It’s outdated. You gotta do something about it.” Frankly, we really didn’t think too much about it at that time, but I asked the president of NHRA if he would allow us to have a year off to rebuild things. They said he would. The highway was being built right then, September 1987.
Now here’s what’s really interesting. I know that Adam Paul’s in the audience. Lord willing, he’ll be our next mayor of Lakewood. I want to tell you something. We needed to move a lot of dirt, so I went to the county and I said to the county, “I need to move some dirt.” They said, “You have to buy an ambient dust permit.” I said, “Okay. What does that cost?” $15.
I said, “Okay. I’ll take that,” put my money out there. We proceeded to move about 3-and-a-half-million yards of dirt. The highway was being built right next to us. Nobody knew what we were doing. They just saw the highway being built. That’s a God thing. That’s a divine appointment because when they got ready to break the champagne bottle over the bridge on Morrison Road, C-470 going over Morrison Road, we were red-tagged that afternoon. We had tractors going up and down the side of the hill. As things worked out, they allowed us to finish the job.
The moral of why I’m telling you that story is that in your business, sometimes what happens is that you’re going through things and you really don’t quite understand them. As you walk, then you look back, say, “Wow, I know exactly why that happened,” right? It happens that way all the time to me. What happened is we got in the middle of this and we got into a real budget problem. The budget problem came because of the fact that at that point in time, there was a large savings and loan that went belly up and broke. They were the ones that had our permanent loan. Here I was halfway through a project, nothing seemed to work properly. It looked like it was going to just be a disaster. Some of the people were walking off of the job. Along came a friend. Believe it or not, a non-believing friend, so God uses, sometimes, people in our lives that are not necessarily Christians. He helped by giving me a real boost and allowing me to get some additional funding with his signature.
We moved forward and we got the facility done, but right when it was done, I still had to come up with a permanent loan. The permanent loan takes time. The minute that the event got over in 1989, which was our national event that we came back online, I had 32 liens that came on me immediately. Never had a lien in my life. My dad had passed away in ’86. There’s 2 things in life that my dad always said, there’s 2 words. One is divorce and the other is bankruptcy. Those are 2 words you just don’t talk about. Here I am sitting with a bankruptcy situation and a wife that’s ready to divorce me. I’m telling you, it was tough.
Let me tell you how God worked through that. It’s a long, long story, but I just want to share with you. I was doing business with Jefferson Bank and Trust. They didn’t have enough lending limit to be able to take care of me. They were about almost $900,000 short. I looked everywhere for that money. Now understand money was 12.5% and it was a difficult deal to know exactly how to make this work. I’d never been in this position in my life. The way I got the presidency of the business was my dad pushed, it’s in the book, he pushed keys across the table to me one day and says, “It’s not mine to run anymore. It’s yours.” I had a great education. God was in that.
I went everywhere. Finally, I ended up at a bank on Hampden and Wadsworth. The gentleman that was there says, “I will loan you the money and I’ll loan you the money at 8.5%, but I want first position.” I thought, holy cow. I went back. The bank president was Moe Grosan, I never will forget that name. I said to Moe, I said, “I know you’re gonna laugh, but this bank will loan me the money, but they want to be in first position.” He laughed. He invited me to a Boy Scout breakfast down at the Pepsi Center. That morning I went and the tables were all set up and he had me siting right next to him. We’re sitting down and getting ready and the special speaker was going to speak that day. He looked over to me and he says, “John, the board met last night. We decided to take second position.”
Now I don’t know. A lot of you guys know me and you know I’m a crier. I’m sorry, but I lost it. I couldn’t handle it. I got up. I walked away. I said, “Please forgive me for a minute,” and went out and I called my wife. I just had to share it with her because you talk about stress? How many of you have been in that position? Come on, be honest, right? Stress is tough. I didn’t have much money at that point in time, but I went out and I bought flowers for everybody I could think of that had been a part of making that happen and sent them to them.
Thanking God for good things comes pretty easy, but thanking Him for enduring inconvenience is really difficult. Psalms 118:29 says, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for He is good and His mercy endureth forever.” My daughter wrote me this and I’ve always kept it in a little note. I hadn’t ever shared it before today. “Sweet wine comes from crushed grapes. If you want God’s anointing, expect crushed grapes.” I never will forget the fact that when she gave that to me. Dad and mom’s dream place for people to have fun with their vehicles became a reality. We celebrated 55 years in 2013. As I’ve already told you, it hasn’t been without struggles.
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” Now I’m going to just share just a couple really quick things here and then I want to give you some time to ask some questions. You all do understand what kind of racing we do. We don’t go in circles. Bandimere Speedway, it sounds like it, but maybe people think that way. We go from point A to point B as fast as we can. Okay. I have several examples of that, but I just want to share this with you. The cars, some of the vehicles that run at our facility, and this will help you to understand, make 10,000 horsepower. They will go from a standing start through 1,000 foot in 3.8 seconds at 320 miles an hour. They are the fastest-accelerating vehicles in the world. They will burn a gallon and a half of fuel per second. The fuel mileage is not very good. Fuel lines are about that big. Randy, you work on fuel lines that are about that big.
My dad always told a story, I have to share it, and that is you give kids a football or a baseball or a bat and you tell them to throw it, to hit it, to kick it, and to do a good job with it, but when you give them a car, what do you do? Tell them don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t do the other thing. You now have a really good idea of how and why we have the facility that we have. Bandimere Speedway has become a really neat platform to share the love of Christ and His grace to us. What I personally had to learn, however, is what I shared at the very first. That is that He owns the business and I just have an opportunity to work there.
Because of the fact that you are a group of people who own businesses, I’m going to take and I’m going to read something to you that I debated, but I just think that it would leave something especially. I’m going to ask this question. At my age, I can tell you right now that I look back on my kids. I have 3 kids, 8 grandkids, and I was not around much when my kids were growing up. I was pretty busy. There might be some of you that are in this room right now that are in that same boat. Okay. You need to put priorities together. I have a son-in-law who handles our operations at the racetrack and his brother’s invited him for 5 years to go play in golf in Arizona with him at a special deal. I went into his office and I said, “Larry, you’re leaving right now, right this very minute. He’s in Arizona.” I said, “Are you gonna go?” “No, I can’t. I’m just too busy.” I said, “I’m sorry.” I turned out his light. “You’re going.” End of deal. He’s there. Now he’ll be back, probably, Friday night, but it’ll rain Saturday, probably, anyway.
All right. Now listen close. The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude. Some of you have maybe heard this before and if you have, I apologize, but it’s really good. The quiet solitude that comes from being the first to rise or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable. A few weeks ago, I was shuffling through the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in 1 hand and the morning paper in the other. What began was a typical Saturday morning turned into be one of those lessons of life that life seem to hand you from time to time.
Let me tell you about that. I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning Swapnet. Along the way, I came across an older-sounding chap, might be me, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. That’s not me. You know the kind. He sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about 1,000 marbles. I was intrigued and I stopped and listened to what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well, but it’s a shame that you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work 60 to 70 hours a week to make ends meet. It’s too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital,” he continued. “Let me tell you something that has helped me to keep my own priorities.” That’s when he began to explain his theory of 1,000 marbles.
“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. I know some live a little more and some a little bit less, but on the average, folks live about 75 years. Now then I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part. It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all of this in any detail,” and then he went on. “By that time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I live to be 75, I only had about 1,000 of them left to enjoy, so I went to a toy store and I bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit 3 stores to get 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside the garage in a clear plastic container right here in the shock next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I’ve taken 1 marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, now think about this, I focused more on the really important things in life. There’s nothing like watching your time here on earth run out to help you get your priorities straight.
“Now let me tell you the one last things before I sign off and take my lovely wife out for breakfast this morning. I took the very last marble out of the container. I figured that if I make it until next Saturday, then I have been given a little extra time and the one thing we can all use is a little more time. I threw my last marble away 2 years ago and I am so thankful that God has allowed me the time to be able to share Jesus Christ because you know something? If we don’t tell them, who will tell? It was nice to meet you, Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family. I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75-year-old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT. Good morning.”
You could’ve heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning. Then I was going to go up and get with a few of the hams and work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs. I woke up my wife with a kiss. “Come on, honey. I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on,” she asked with a smile. “Oh, nothing special. It’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids and hey, can we stop at the toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”
“I believe that only 1 person in 1,000 knows the trick of really living in the present. Most of us spend 59 minutes an hour living in the past with regret for lost joys or shame for things badly done both utterly, these are utterly useless and weakening or in a future which we either long for or dread. Yet the past is gone beyond prayer. Every minute you spend in the vain effort to anticipate the future, is a moment lost. There’s only 1 world, the world that’s pressing against you and me at this minute, right now. There’s only 1 minute in which you are alive, this minute, here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is. It’s a miracle and it’s unrepeatable.”
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on my life. It’s more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It’s more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It’ll make or break a company, a team, a church, or a home. The remarkable thing is we have a chance and a choice every day regarding the attitude we’ll embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the 1 strength that we have and that is our attitude. I’m convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it, so it is with you and with me, we are all in charge of our attitudes.” Chuck Swindoll wrote that.
Just tell you right now, on Monday, I’ll end this way, I get an opportunity to go to Orlando to visit my grandson who is at the Disney University. I share that with you because from a little, tiny kid, he just turned 21 last week. He’s my last grandkid to turn 21. He always wanted to be with Mickey Mouse. He not only is there, but yesterday, he called me, he said, “Papa, they asked me if I could be a trainer.” He’s only been there for 4 months. The guy said to him, he says, “Alex, you’re Disney material and we want you to be a trainer.” I share that with you from the standpoint that it doesn’t make any difference where we’re at, but it does make a difference what our attitude is because people see that. I hope this has been helpful. God bless you all. Love you.