Every year, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and team are invited to the White House to meet the President and take some really cool tours. Regardless of your political stance, it is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the President of the United States! I, of course, snapped my way throughout the day, as you will see below along with some behind-the-scenes info.
Upon arriving at the White House and going through some serious security, the 18 team and I went on an incredible tour with guides that were super helpful and answered all our questions. In order to remember all the different rooms we saw, I had to give them nicknames, like: the China Room (where all the First Ladies have their china sets on display), the Red Room, the Green Room, the Dining Room etc. All around the house there are portraits hung of past Presidents and First Ladies – they were so beautiful!
In each of the rooms, I noticed a large, lavish arrangement of flowers. I was told that although they couldn’t remember which First Lady started it, one of them requested fresh flowers in every room and that tradition still continues today. There is even a flower shop right next to the White house. Oh, and a cool little fact I learned: Jackie O loved flowers!
Taking the tour was so neat, especially since we are huge House of Cards fans! I really wanted to see the President’s quarters to compare to the show, but they obviously don’t take tours through there. However, someone who worked at the White House told me that the crew from House of Cards took pictures of the downstairs so they could exactly replicate the set. Maybe they were allowed to see the whole residence!
After the tour, we were led into the pressroom where we met with President Obama! He walked around, shook hands and congratulated everyone. He knew about Kyle’s accident and comeback story, and even knew about Brexton! There was a nice ceremony for the team where President Obama gave a speech and took pictures before Kyle presented him with one of his helmets. At the very end, Brexton got a shout-out from the President, which made this mommy giddy! We will definitely have to save that for the baby book!
Following our amazing White House visit, we went to the Capitol Building – a first for me! The first word that comes to mind is “wow” – it is so gorgeous. The ceiling right when you walk through the door is breathtaking, and we learned it is actually an optical illusion. It seems like the images at the top are small, but we were told that each are about 19 feet tall. We also learned that the Statue of Liberty could fit inside the Capital Building- that’s how tall it is! We toured many more areas as our guide, Congressman Patrick McHenry, gave us all the scoop! He even took us into the lobby area where the Whip’s office is, and showed us a fireplace area where Lincoln was known to sit with his feet up by the fireplace and tell stories.
To me, the most beautiful thing about the Capitol Building was the ceiling in each room. Every one was so unique and intricate; they were truly stunning. And I can’t leave out all the marble, beautiful statues and paintings!
Finally, we ended up at the house chamber for the House of Representatives thanks to Congressman Richard Hudson and his lovely wife, Renee. I absolutely adored this couple! They were so welcoming – very outgoing and firm in their beliefs. It was so nice getting to chat with them.
Overall, the experience was one I will always cherish! Our 18 boys never gave up last year, and it was amazing to see them recognized at the White House for their achievements!