After a moment of silence, the members of Kevin Sharp’s pit crew stepped out of the crowd of more than 1,500 funeral attendees.
A garage door opened at the Southwestern Community College gymnasium in Creston, Iowa, and the silence was broken with the rumble of an engine, revved four times, once for each Sharp family member who died last month at a Mexican resort.
One loud rev for Kevin, 41, who raced stock cars at the Adams County Speedway and recently decided to spend more time with his family.
One for his wife, Amy, 38, described as a hard worker and a “go-to gal” in Creston, a community of 7,800.
Another for 12-year-old Sterling, an all-around athlete who enjoyed gardening and was eager to learn more about racing from his dad.
And one for 7-year-old Adrianna, a free-spirited Brownie Girl Scout who loved dancing to Taylor Swift.
For each of the quiet moments at Saturday’s funeral, there was a loud one to commemorate a family who “played hard and lived life to the fullest.”
Kurtis Sharp, Kevin’s brother, began his tribute by playing a few stanzas of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” a heavy metal song that Kevin played to get pumped up for Iowa football games.
Most attendees wore Iowa gear in honor of the Sharp family’s devotion to the Hawkeyes, as well as several other local and professional teams.
A gas leak in a water heater is suspected of killing the four inside their rented condominium in Tulum, Mexico, according to authorities there. The family was found dead in the condo on March 23.
The community’s shock and grief could be heard in the few quiet moments Saturday as friends, neighbors and family members wiped tears and embraced one another in the gym at the college where both Kevin and Amy took classes.
“This family did everything together,” the Rev. Mary O’Riley said.
After pausing to steady his voice, Kurtis Sharp later repeated the same sentiment, explaining the family’s many vacations, including one to Arizona that included a sleigh ride in a dune buggy.
“Who does that?” he said to laughter. “Many thought that (Kevin) flew by the seat of his pants, but he always knew what he was doing; he just didn’t tell anyone what his plan was.”
To the gymnasium full of community members, Kurtis said he takes comfort in knowing that the family was together.
“Just like they always have been and just like they always will be, they are together as one.”