Odds and Ends
E-mails and such.......

    Date: Sat Jan 13 16:44:33 2007
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Re: Playland Speedway- Council Bluffs
Hi Dan,
I received your memo a while back and enjoyed your playland speedway site...Yes I do remember most of the names you mentioned although I have not been in touch with anyone for many years...Except for Glenn Robey..I saw him about a year plus ago at his restaurant and insisted he let me pose with him in a picture of the two of us...He was more than willing and I have it tucked away....He was a pleasure talking to him////As far as the names you mentioned (Bud Burdick Pete Huffman and Bobby Parker/////Also Wally Thompson///he was my best friends brother in law (Joe Gilmore)...I remember all those names and believe I raced with the majority of em way back when///50 mostly/// Im sure they wouldnt remember me as I was pretty much of a loner as I didnt stick around and bat the breeze after the races...was afraid my Dad would find out I was racing and he would stop me for sure ...Anyway I had lots of fun and was in plenty of races with Tiny Lund until heleft for the service..Then Glenn Robey came on board...INice talking with you and Ill be checking your site out often........

Glenn (Paulsen that is)//////////

    Date: Tue Oct 17 19:24:23 2006
From: Lynn Grabill
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: RE: 2006 Playland Reunion

Yes it was worth the drive. Also, we lived in Omaha for 10 years (1977 to
1987) so we drove around our old neighborhood after we left the reunion.
Hope next year that maybe if any of the following are still around that they
might be able to attend.
Pete Huffman car #30
Ernie Bonney car #95
Bud Burdick car #V8
Bud Aitkenhead car #38
Don Settell car #12
Bob Matson car #71
Neal Tadlock car #99
George Lynch car #24
These were the racers that were in the top 10 during the time that I raced
there in 1958.

    Date: Fri Sep 22 00:59:27 2006
From: Mrs Paul E Niles, Niles' Moonsinger Ranch
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Re: 2006 Playland reunion

is there any chance any ''late 1950s'' race drivers will be there at the Reunion who knew Warren "DUTCH" MUNSINGER from/of Tabor Iowa????

He raced 1954-1959. (He was killed Jan 1960 in IL)

I'd LOVE to meet anyone with ANY 1950s knowledge and/or 1950s photos etc....

(Dutch also raced a Buick Century convertible.)

Thank you for your condolences awhile ago, too. I just might bring a sister to this reunion if she can get off work in OKC., as my beautiful husband Paul passed away in July, after helping me search for Dutch for 12 years.

Thansk again,

Mrs Pamela Munsinger Niles
    Date: Thu Jul 6 15:18:30 2006
From: Gerald R. Jensen
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Remembrances ...

I just came across PlaylandSpeedway.com ... thanks for the memories!

I especially enjoyed Jim Taggart's 'Remembrances of Playland ... and Riverview'. I don't have an email address for Jim Taggart ... perhaps you could forward this to him.

His article mentions a number of people that were childhood heroes of mine ... I grew up watching guys like Tiny Lund, Bill Bradstreet, Junior Brunick, Ozzie Osborn, etc.

My Dad, Axel Jensen, built and owned stock cars that raced at Riverview Speedway, including Claire Harder's #57. For the most part he ran '39 and '40 Ford coupes with flathead V-8's, but one year (1951?), he added a 1933 Dodge coupe to the mix.

Dad owned a wrecker service that operated out of South Sioux City, Nebraska back in the late 40's and early 50's. He had two wreckers, and would regularly handle infield duties at Riverview (made sense ... he used the wreckers to pull the cars to the track, so why not take advantage of the free advertising!).

One of my most vivid childhood memories was sitting in one of the wreckers, watching the races from the middle of the infield. Pretty big stuff for a kindergartner!

When racing folded at Riverview, Dad ran his cars at Onawa, IA and Norfolk, NE. He only raced cars at Council Bluffs on a few occasions, but we used to go to Playland to watch my Dad's cousin's cars run ... his cousin, Dale Swanson of Harlan, IA, was one of the best racing engine builders of his time.

Gerald R. Jensen
Onalaska, WI
    Date: Thu Feb 16 23:58:46 2006
From: shane ayers
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Re: raced at playland about 38 years ago.

My dads name is Ted Ayers and my uncles was Merle Ayers, They raced in the mid to late 60's. The car was an old ford not sure but they say number 56 a green car. thanks.
    Date: Sat Aug 20 19:09:28 2005
From: Jerry S. <jslusky@cox.net>
[ Add to Address Book | Block Address | Report as Spam ]
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Re: frontier city

Hi Dan:

I would be happy to provide whatever Playland information and pictures that I have.

You will recall that I lost my father, Abe, in 1970. He was only 59. A few years before his death, my brother Howard and I bought Frontier City in Oklahoma City. Howard moved to Oklahoma City to operate the park and did so until we sold it to Tierco (now Six Flags) in 1981.

Sadly, Howard died in 1984 in a private plane crash. He and 7 other Oklahoma City businessman died on their way to a fishing lake near Chihuaha, Mexico. He left a wife and theree great sons, all of whom I am very close to today.

I will see what I can find on Playland/Frontier City pictures and let you know.

I run into Playland people frequently and everyone agrees that those were good times.

Please feel free to me contactme if I can help.

Jerry Slusky
    Date: Thu Aug 18 00:01:29 2005
From: Duane Marden <marden@rocksys.net>
[To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Playland


I first want to thank you for the great website on Playland. I run a
website about roller coasters and encountered your site while
researching the wooden roller coaster that was once there. After
reading the information in a news clipping found on your site I learned
the wooden roller coaster was replaced with a small Wild Mouse style
roller coaster. This one I had no knowledge of.

I wanted to ask if you've ever encountered a picture of this Wild Mouse
roller coaster. From a picture I can probably identify who manufactured
of it.

Thanks for your time,
    Date: Sun May 29 19:16:59 2005
From: Patty K
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Re: updates


Attached is the only photo I have of my father, Dan Koonce, and his race car. He raced at Playland in the mid- to late 60's but I don't know if this is a Playland photo. He quit racing due to divorce and our subsequent move to Arkansas. He was a little unusual as a driver as he had lost his left arm in a car accident (not race related) when he was about 19. He was nicknamed "the one-armed bandit". It would be helpful if someone could identify the year model of his car! I believe it's a Ford. He has passed on but I know Playland held some great memories for him. I was just a little kid but I remember the thrill of seeing the Playland rides coming into sight and the noise and the smells of the track. My dad mentioned several times that my mom tried her hand at racing too!

Patty Koonce
    Date: Fri Dec 3 19:16:13 2004
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: pic's

I recognized a picture in the 1971 bronco years section. The # 23 car headed the wrong direction was driven by my dad, Dave Wichman. The car was owned by Larry West. My dad was also a member of the Roll Over Club! He built several cars, one was driven by Ron Stander for a short time. Thought you might like to know. Please add me to your mailing list. Thanks, Steve Wichman
    Date: Mon Nov 15 18:26:39 2004
From: Burdick Jerry
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: late midget races at Playland

Hi, My name is Jerry Burdick, no relation to Bud, or Bob, but I race midgets in the middle and late seventies. I ran one race at playland on a fourth of july weekend, just before the track closed. I finished third that night. I ran with the NorthWest Midget Auto Racing Association. I remember the track cause I really liked running there that night. I was really dissapointed when I heard that they had closed it and was going to tear it down. I'll have to go through my old pics and see if I have any from that night. Anything more about that night is rather muddled, but I'll see what I can find. I saw the web site and some of the names in there I remember from the old Olympic Stadium days when my dad, Bill Burdick, raced against a lot of the midget drivers from the Omaha area. Those were some of my greatest memories of the midgets back then. I noticed the name of Ben Harleman next to one of the pics. I drove a rear engined midget that he built. I drove it in a couple of races forhim. It had an Evenrude outboard engine in it.
Great job on the web site. Keep up the good work. I feel the past is part of our heritage in racing and should always be preserved.
I'll see what I can find on that race at playland and I'll get back to you.
Thank You,

Jerry Burdick

    Date: Thu Nov 11 23:11:09 2004
From: Willard Jude
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: The '50s

First, thanks for putting together all the stuff on Playland Speedway. I was only bicycle age when stockcar racing replaced the hot rods (track roadsters) in Nebraska. I lived in York and Sidney (out west) during those early years, and being just a kid, could only follow racing in the Omaha area thru the World Herald. A few races were held at the fairgrounds track in York, and I remember Speedy Bill Smith's #4 as one of the cars.

Untill your web page, I didn't realize that Playland wasn't paved from the beginning. I remember two other tracks in the Omaha area during those years (Grandview was one, but I can't remember the other. Think Sunset came along later, but I could be wrong).
Anyway, per the racing ads in the World Herald, the 3 tracks supported something like 5 races each week among them. I seem to remember two of the tracks racing two nights a week.

After growing upl, finally got to Playland Park, but by then they were racing claimers. Not impressive, but at least I got there. This was the mid '60s. Also went to Sunset to see the early coupes/sedans during their last season. Late models replaced them the next year. I'm a real early coupe/sedan fan.

My all time favorite track was/is the fifth mile paved track, Lakeside Speedway in Denver who raced the early mods for more years than most. A small group of these guys still race, but car count is pretty low. I also contribute to a popular web site here in the Colorado area about the history of Colorado racing. You're prog aware of it, but just in case it's: coloradoracingmemories.com.

I look forward to more of your site. Love that old stuff.

Bill Peratt
    Date: Sat Aug 21 18:03:12 2004
From: wolfe8
To: <playland@excite.com>
Subject: Wolfe

Hi -

Just yesterday I learned of your website. I was really excited about, but yet a little disappointed that no one contacted our family about it. My dad, George Wolfe was a well-known name at that track for many, many years. And, 3 of my brothers were also quite popular there.... Ron Wolfe, Ken Wolfe, and Randy Wolfe. I, myself, have spent many, many hours at Playland Speedway. I can recall tons of memories of Playland.... my first ride on the roller coaster and sliding down in the nose because I was petrified, my little brother dropping a piece of popcorn off the top bleacher and it landing right in a cup of beer a guy was holding as he walked behind the bleachers, running around as a kid, and getting caught in the middle of a brawl between opposing fans and getting drenched with beer. Yeppers, I was 15, soaked with beer from someone else and got kicked out. My dad tried to get me back in but they wouldn't let me.... said i reeked of beer..... hahahaha.... oh the memories.

My mom has an unbelievable scrap book from racing days. She may have something you would be interested in copying. She even has some when the old billboards were being torn down, long after the tracked was closed. We attempted to save our "Wolfe Auto Parts" billboard. It has not survived, but certainly the memories have.

I am very interested in being added to your mail list. My brothers are not into computers, but I keep in constant contact with them, and can let them know of reunions, etc. So if you could please add me I would appreciate it.

Thank You,
Lisa Wolfe
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 
From: <Halferdaffer@aol.com>
To: <playland@excite.com> 

I read your site and would like to ask you a couple of questions. My great 
uncle was David Ernest Wilson and in 1959 he worked at the playland amusement 
park in council Bluffs. He lived at schultz's trailer park. I have been 
looking for this man since 1962. Have you ever heard of him? He was what they call 
a ride operator and went by the name of ernest wilson. He was probably in his 
50's back then. Do you know if that trailer park is still in operation? Thanks 
for your time.

Anyone able to help on this? I left the e-mail address on here in case anyone has info.

From: "Dennis Rarden" 
Date: 25 Oct 
To: <race66@gotra.com> 
Subject: Memories!

I had such a good time going to playland speedway every week-end during the 69,70, and part of the 71 year. I think a reunion would be great. I was a teenager then, but I sure remember some fast exciting races. Can anybody tell me what Glen Mckeigan Driver of the Z-62 car is doing these days? He was my favorite Driver along with Ron Tilley Driver of the Bad-ass 56 car. Are these guys still around? I always wanted to ask Glen Mckeigan what he did to his car to have that Cat like Howl every time he went around the track. I wish I had looked at his car to see what kind of set up he had under his hood. I was on the Gale Hevelone pit crew. #9. I'm trying to locate Gale right now. I was sure happy to find that Playland Speedway has a web site that you can go to. I've got so many fond memories of the races there at Playland. I'll never forget them. Wally Nisson, Frank Van Dorn, Don Brown, Paul Zdan, Elvin Hieman, I can still to this day tell you there car numbers and the color their car was.

Dennis Rarden
S.D. California

NOTE FROM DAN: I spoke with Glen 10-27-03 at the shop he shares with Don Doebelin (another Playland driver!) and Brad Perdue.  Glen had a chevy factory built 302 in that car and ran an over the counter chevy  cam developed for Trans-Am racing. It loved to run high rpms!!


From the playlandspeedway message board:

Grandview fan
Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:18 pm

I just bought a house in Bellevue and my neighbors tell me that we live smack in the middle of an old racetrack called Grandview. This racetrack is located behind Stella's and I was wondering if anyone has any info on this track? 


From Dave Hellerich:
Raced there in the 60's when it reopened for a couple of weeks. Never new much of the old days there but got a story or two from some that did. Was known as the south omaha drive in at the time and the track sat at the base of the screen. 

When I first started racing the Plymouth coupe #23, we had a Midwest Stock Car Association, made up of local drivers and owners who kind of organized the sport and did some negotiating with track owners etc. They were approached by a fellow from Bellevue to run at his newly refurbished track at the South Omaha Drive In theater location. This was around 1962 or 3, come to find out it had been a race track many years before called Grandview. I think the races were to be run on Sunday afternoons but am not sure on that one, you entered off a street that ran in front of a Tavern or eatery on the east side (not sure of exact directions back then)? The large screen was still there and also a few trailer homes around, As most outdoor theaters, the parking was at a slope to the screen and graveled, the track was at the bottom of the screen and had been recently graded. Don't know if this was the original location but I think so, according to Bud Burdick and others who had raced there way back, there was a pond on the north corner just below turns one and two. With no guard rails many a contestant hurled over that end and ended up in the pond, Bud showed me a rather weathered card in his wallet that read something like " This certifies that Bud Burdick is a member of the Grandview frog pond club" I understand that all that got the dubious honor of ending up in this pond rec'd one of these cards. Can't recall if the pond was still there when we raced those few events in the 60's, With the slope of the land, spectators could sit on lawn chairs and watch the action from up top. Trouble with that was the rocks would keep sliding down onthe track surface and made for a not so good situation for the tires. After the first days races were over all money winners went to the office as usual to get paid but the owner said he did not have enough cash on hand so would mail each one a check. The old "Its in the mail" routine type thing, very upset drivers and assoc. pres. All left and swore not to go back, checks did show up though so next race was attended and things were a bit better but still not the best of conditions or payment options. Remember getting spun out and then hit so hard on the left front of that old Plymouth that I was blaced out for a moment and the spindle was broken on the axle. As most of us did in those days, towed there on a towbar and tried to get it home to 35th and center but was a futile attempt. A real fine fellow and Playland driver with just one arm named Dan Kuntz, had a tow truck for his salvage business and was attending that race so he graciously hooked up the car and took it home. Never would take any money for doing so, am not sure they raced at that track again, maybe once or twice more?? Anyway, if Bill Starrett is still running the Bellevue waste collection business, he was also racing then and probably could relate back to the original track?? Like so many of the down to earth, grease and smoke filled tracks of old, just memories remain. But am glad that I got to experience some small amount of time at them and hopfully can tell these stories to all that want to hear about those days

Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 9:41 pm 

Post subject: Re: Dave's post about Grandview 

Thanks so much for the info... The tavern by the entrance is still there! Its called Stella's. The old entrance is off of FLEETWOOD and FLEETWOOD turns into POWER DRIVE. I live on CHEVRO LANE (cute name dont ya think!?) lol 

I am still mapping out the layout for all of my neighbors. Its kind of hard with the track pretty much gone. 

You said the pond was between turns 1 and 2 ? Would that mean the track ran north and south and turn 1 was on the north east corner? 

Thanks for all of your help! 

By the way, I built street racers for the kids in the area... Racing still happens at Grandview!!! 


Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 
From: John Havick 
To: playland@excite.com
Subject: playland 

I was there. As a 10 year old I saw some races in 1950. Johnny Beauchamp drove my grandfather's family car one year (my grandfather had sold it for a 50 Ford) -- a 41 ford I believe (not a coupe however). My family was from Harlan. I lived in Council Bluffs. One night I was called out the stands and rode around the track with Johnny Beauchamp. I have photos of many drivers and with their cars -- Burdick with a trophy and the V8, etc. I have small model plastic replicas painted as the cars looked during the first part of the 1950s. The Nonpareil did a story about my cars. I believe I still have a scrap book of clippings. I even sold concessions -- some -- made some money and got in free -- the Bartels ran the concessions. I was at the track the night Halvenstot (sp) was killed when a car hit the fence and a piece of metal flew into the audience; I was sitting about five rows behind them and I sat where they did many a time. I probably saw almost every race between 1952 and 1955. I always wondered about Dale Swanson ? -- he was sort of a wizard it seemed to me -- his cars were just faster. Although Tiny Lund is in the NASCAR legends list -- I always felt Beauchamp might have been better. Later I wondered how they did together --because Beauchamp essentially began driving for Swanson after Lund went into the military. Beauchamp never really drove that much in NASCAR I guess. I could go on and on.

John Havick

NOTE FROM DAN:  Please do go on John!!  More memories and stories please.

Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2003 
To: playland@excite.com
Subject: fond memories of playland 

First off I would like to say thank you for such a very good web-site. I was caught by suprise one night when I just happened to type in the words playland speedway and found this website right away.I myself have been looking for memories past of this one time great place. I remember my dad always talking about playland as a matter of he did race coupes back in the mid 50's to early 60's. His name was harold morgan and I believe his # was 48. Not to clear on that for sure but anyway if you have any records or results of him from the track let me know.I remember more of the racing than I do the actual amusement park of playland. When I started going all I really remember is the wild mouse outside of the track which was where my interest was anyway. Once in awhile when I go to council bluffs I still look down where playland used to be and remember how it
once was seeing the big wooden granstands and track. I have seen many races in my time with most sunday nites at the old sunset speedway along with many other tracks on saturday in Iowa and a few in arkansas, missouri and kansas. (all dirt) So playland was and still is the only asphalt track I'd ever known.  I will continue to visit this sight for updates and hopefully more photos and once again thank you for the memories. 

Harold Morgan,Jr.

You are welcome Harold!! Thanks for the kind words and sharing your memories with us. 
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2003 
From: KatFisherman13
To: playland@excite.com
Subject: memories of playland 

hi does anyone remember a couple of drivers that had raced at playland park the names are al constatino and rich novotny well i know that al has passed on a few years ago would like to see pics of them and their cars 

Dave Hellerich came through with info on Al  and a picture (added to his page).   Click here to see Dave's page!  Thanks Dave!  Anyone have info on Rich?



I put this post on dirtdrivers.com on 12-22-02:

I am looking for track photos, racing photos, stories, point sheets, anything Playland. Check out 
the Playland website at http://playlandspeedway.tripod.com email Dan Franks at race66@gotra.com if 
you can help. I am creating webpages for ex-drivers there. I want to capture driver history before 
it's too late.

I got a couple of interesting replies, but never heard from them again.

Dave Chase Fan Posted on 01/06/2003 6:14:26 PM

I have some pics of Playland Speedway. I have a lot of memories of that wonderful place too. I'll 
email you in a day or two. 

iceman2 Posted on 01/06/2003 8:30:02 PM

Don't have any pics but do remember the first time I turned a lap there. Hit the wall on the south 
end, went thru the fence and had people that were sitting on the hill, running for their lives! 
Funniest damn nite of racing I ever had!

Dave Chase Fan Posted on 01/07/2003 8:27:24 PM

Iceman, I can't remember the year, likely 68-70 or so, but I believe I'm right that Wally Nissen 
went thru the wall at the entrance to turn 3, and managed to go all the way down to the entrance 
and back onto the track!

Of course there were several instances of cars hammering the walls and winding up wedged in 
between the guard rails and the plywood billboards. 

Another memory comes to mind now that I'm thinking about it. I recall a race, A-Feature I think, 
because it was dark, where Ron Tilley got 3 of those big wide tires cut down in one incident. He 
went to the pits very upset and I remember it sounded like he was trying to blow it up he was so p
issed. Dust flew everywhere as he came to a halt in the pits. He had that first bad-assed 65? 
chevelle with the small block that I swear he was twisting 9 grand. I still think he made a huge 
mistake the next year going to the big block in that car. I can't ever remember a more dominant 
car than the small block chevelle of his. (His prior years '56 chevys were strong too)

I rememeber a huge fight betw the Hasty bunch and Denny Fox too. Scary stuff. 

Funny how memories pop in like this after all these years.


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