AUSTIN EDITION Football talk at the races

Interest in the game coming this fall peaks at area track

With the Minnesota Vikings in training camp and the official start of high school football practice only a few weeks off, my sports focus has logically turned to stock car racing.

This might seem a strange combination of interests, but the two go rather nicely together at the Deer Creek Speedway, which lies between Spring Valley and Grand Meadow.

There might have been racing going on Saturday night, but there were also plenty of Grand Meadow football fans in attendance.

My interest in this subject was piqued when I visited the track last weekend.


In my first journey to Deer Creek in nearly three years, I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of track owner Randy Queensland, who is from Grand Meadow.

Although the owner had a hectic night dealing with a two-hour rain delay, there was still time to show the local press around the facility.

This afforded us the time to talk about a sport we're both fans of, and that's Grand Meadow Superlarks football.

Gridiron gossip

Queensland gave me the grand tour of the track facility and was kind enough to offer up a seat to a weary reporter in his air-conditioned owner's box.

The track includes a new building behind the main seating area, where sponsors can buy an indoor box, and there's also a viewing deck in front.

All I had to do was bring up my longtime affiliation with Superlarks football coach Gary Sloan, and the subject at hand turned to the upcoming season. Sloan is a venerated figure in Grand Meadow, and the fate of the football team is always a popular topic among the faithful followers.

Yet, you can't really talk about Sloan without mentioning his long and intense rivalry with former LeRoy-Ostrander coach Stan Olson.


While conversing on the subject with Grand Meadow schools superintendent Bruce Klaehn, we both agreed that the rivalry won't quite be the same without Olson stalking the sidelines.

Track renovations

Amid all this gridiron gossip, it was time to get back to the night of racing.

The work and money invested by the Queensland family have made the Deer Creek track into a fan-friendly atmosphere.

The Queenslands have done for Deer Creek what track owner Wally Bustad did for Chateau Raceway in Lansing; given an ailing track a much-needed facelift.

Take it from a reporter who covered events at these racetracks before the current ownership groups began renovations, the improvements have made a world of difference. Bustad and Queensland have transformed run-down operations into much cleaner facilities, and the work will continue.

I have completed the trifecta of visiting weekend racetracks in the immediate area: Dodge County Speedway, Chateau and Deer Creek. The trip around the circuit makes me look forward to the upcoming action in the final month of the stock car season.

Banquet for Schmidt


The Amateur World Championships for disc golf were last week in Kansas City, Mo., and Chris Schmidt of Austin was one of 11 competitors from Minnesota in attendance. The event ran from Tuesday through Saturday and featured disc golfers from all over the world.

Schmidt finished 23rd out of a field of 375 golfers. Although he was the youngest golfer there, Schmidt held the overall lead for the first three rounds of the tournament. But a sub-par round on Friday slid Schmidt down in the final standings.

Still, the top-25 showing at one of the premier disc golf events in the world bodes well for his future in this sport.

There will be a small banquet for Schmidt on Sunday at noon at the pavilion near where the course starts at the south end of Todd Park.

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