Speedway drama rears head at county board

Ag Society, board committee could meet to discuss issues
Kevin Passon

Members of the Shawano County Board may soon get involved in the controversy surrounding the Shawano Speedway, its scales and other drama after a longtime videographer was told he was no longer welcome at the track.

Cody Hudson, a member of Shawano Area Ag Society, which overseas the fairgrounds, told the board Aug. 23 the scale issues are taking away from the importance of the track to the community.

Another winning driver was recently disqualified after his race when it was discovered his car weight did not meet regulations, and he forfeited his winnings.

“The race track brings so much stuff to the community. They bring a lot of revenue to the area,” Hudson said. “There is so much more to be talked about. There is even talk about wanting to close the track down. We want to keep seeing racing going.”

He said financial help would be welcome to address scale and water truck issues that could cost tens of thousands of dollars to correct.

County Board Chairman Tom Kautza said funds are available if a request is made. He said officials would have to look into whether there are limits on what those funds could be used for at the fairgrounds.

Social media has been buzzing with rumors and comments after Mike Thorne announced in late July he was told via letter from the Ag Society he was no longer welcome at the track. Thorne, who declined to speak to the media, said in several social media posts he simply asked questions posed by fans, and the Ag Society executive board took it out on him.

He told the county board he said in a video that Shawano was going through a lot of drama, but it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed if officials wanted to fix it. Days later, he received the letter.

“Did I meet with the executive board before that decision was made? No, I did not. I was never asked,” he said. “I was never told that anything was wrong or being done wrong or anything. That was a kick in the groin.”

Board member Sandy Steinke suggested the board meet with the Ag Society to discuss the controversy. Kautza suggested the meeting be at the committee level, with Ag & Extension the appropriate starting point.