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Happy birthday Gordon: pillar of Dawson County community celebrates 85th birthday
Gordon Pirkle stands at the entrance of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville. In 2002, Pirkle helped make sure it was brought to Dawsonville to enshrine the town's rich professional racing history for future generations. Photo by Paige Sweany of Sole Photography.

This week, Dawson County legend Gordon Pirkle celebrated his 85th birthday, complete with birthday wishes and love from hundreds of people in the community. 

Gordon Pirkle standing in front of the Dawsonville Pool Room siren that he is nationally known for setting off after every Elliott family Cup Series victory. Photo by Paige Sweany of Sole Photography.

Pirkle is well-known in the Dawson County community as the owner of the famous Dawsonville Pool Room and for his years of volunteer work at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and dozens of other causes throughout the county. All his life, he has helped to shape Dawson into what it is today and touched countless lives in the process.

Pirkle celebrated his 85th birthday on Monday Dec. 27, and both the Dawsonville Pool Room and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame posted on their Facebook pages to wish him a happy birthday. Within hours, both posts had garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of comments from community members and fans wishing him a happy birthday. 

According to Pirkle, seeing all the birthday wishes from the people he’s touched in his life was a great birthday present for him. 

“I was really impressed; I couldn’t believe it all,” Pirkle said. “They even put my name on their light up sign at True Value Hardware with ‘Happy Birthday Gordon Pirkle’. I felt good about it; I really appreciate all the well-wishes.” 

Pirkle’s daughter, Hayley Garrett, said that she’s glad that he can see a little piece of how much of an impact he’s had on so many people. 

“I told him ‘look at the likes on there daddy’ — every website, the Pool Room, The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame — all of them are way over thousands of people,” Garrett said. “That just makes you feel really blessed and I’m glad he’s getting to see that.” 

Pirkle said that, in his 85 years in the county, he’s seen it change extensively from the little moonshine-running town that it was to the Dawson County that it is today. 

“This little county is one-of-a-kind; it had kind of a crazy reputation but it had good people in it and they’re all still good people,” Pirkle said. 

Elliott No. 9
Gordon Pirkle poses with Bill Elliott’s 1976 Ford Torino No. 9 that Chase Elliott’s No. 24 was modeled after for the Darlington Southern 500 throwback weekend. Chase Elliott's car was unveiled at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in July. - photo by Amy French

Pirkle celebrated his birthday surrounded by his family and loved ones, and said that he had a great celebration. He added that the number 85 may sound like an old milestone, but that he feels just as good as ever. 

“I feel fine, I feel good; but 85 just sounds old,” Pirkle said.

Garrett said that her father always says how blessed he is, but that she and the rest of those close to him are the ones who are really blessed to be in his life. 

“We’re blessed; he always says he’s the most blessed man in the whole universe but we’re the ones who are blessed because we have him,” Garrett said.