Unseen Future for Badlands Motor Speedway

 

BRANDON, SD  The fate of racing in Brandon is once again up in the air.  This time after Badlands Motor Speedway suspended its auction scheduled for next week.  The Speedway’s future took center stage during Tuesday’s Minnehaha County Commission Meeting.

The speedway, formerly known as Huset’s Speedway, closed last year after entertaining race fans and tourists for over 60 years.  The facility was set to be auctioned off next Tuesday, but owner Chuck Brennan put the breaks on the deal.  Brennan received a letter showing that the racetrack had lost its Grandfathered Land-Use Exemption allowing it to operate.  In a letter of his own, Brennan encouraged people to attend Tuesday’s meeting and speak up.

The community did use this opportunity, however the opinions and views of the racetrack were split.  “I just hope that more sensible minds can prevail in this situation because it’s a true asset to our community and it would be really, really sad if it were lost,” said Sioux Falls resident Lanny Auringer as he gave his heartfelt speech in front of the Commissioners.  On the opposing side,  long-time Brandon resident Mary Niederinghaus said that she is not opposed to racing but she is not a fan of how the racetrack has negatively effected the residents of Brandon.  ” I am opposed to the noise and the way the racetrack has been run the last few years.”

According to Brandon Mayor, Larry Beeseley, he says he has already seen how the city has been affected by the closure.  The town may not have received the profits from the race itself, but races did bring in the people which created a revenue for Brandon.  “We get the sales tax from people staying in the hotel. We get the sales tax of them stopping in after the races or stopping before the races eating in the restaurants. Stopping at our convent stores.”  Beesley said he’s already seen a dip in the town’s economy.

Besides the economy, Beeseley also has seen the affect the closure has had on the race fans.   “The local race fans are the ones being hurt. They really are. It was a great entertainment. It was Sunday night entertainment. It was families, I mean you see little kids coming in with Gary Brown Jr. shirts or Dusty Zomer shirts.”  Beesely also added that not having the races has left a big hole in the community.

City Officials hope an agreement can be reached and spectators along with the community will see the benefits.  The next Country Commission Meeting where the future of the speedway could be addressed is scheduled for July 23rd.