Orie “Bud” Peterson – Driver

Bud PetersonBy Chad Meyer

Orie ‘Bud’ Petersen, like many soon-to-be race drivers discovered the sport at a young age. After tagging along to the races a few times with his brother Darrell, Petersen decided to try his hand at racing cars. In 1954, at the age of 19, he and his brother traveled to the junkyard in Britt to pick out an old coupe to race.

After driving the coupe home, and making the needed modifications to turn it into a race car, Petersen was ready for his first race at Sportsman’s Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa. His first race had over 100 race cars sign in that day, with only 65 cars advancing out of time trials. The good news for Petersen was that he was fast enough to advance to the heats.

The bad news was that while running in the third position in his first heat race, a driver with a history of driving rough made contact with Petersen coming to the checkered flag. The result of the wreck had Petersen rolling his car across the finish line. Even though Petersen wrecked hard enough to lose his shoe, he commented that after that wreck, that he was never scared to drive a race car again.

Bud Peterson's first race car.

Bud Peterson’s first race car.

Chapter one of Petersen’s racing career started in 1954 and ran through 1976. During that time, he drove for several car owners, including; Marv Gangsted of Bancroft, Don and Richard Doocy of Lone Rock, Bill and Kenny Holcomb of Algona and Gary Zwiefel from Titonka. During those years they raced extensively at tracks in Algona, Mason City, Belmond, Iowa and Fairmont, Minnesota. They also ran specials in Spencer, Iowa and on the asphalt at Shakopee, Minnesota.

After taking a hiatus away from the sport, Petersen returned to what he loved. In the mid 1980’s, he was back behind the wheel of enduro cars for two years. He then made the move to Steve Krapp’s race car when the Algona speedway re-opened. 1986 found Petersen behind the wheel of Jim Bradford’s car.

There are several career highlights for Petersen. He was the 1971 and 1972 Sportsman Midwest Championship race winner at Algona. Petersen also took home the 1975 Kossuth County Fair trophy. In 1976 he was crowned the Road Runner point champion at Fairmont Raceway, a feat he did with a 1955 Chevy against many competitors who raced Camaro’s.

Bud PetersonThe lure of racing has been hard to shake for Petersen. One of his biggest thrills was winning the 1997 ‘Legends’ race during the Kossuth County Fair over fellow Kossuth County Racing Hall of Famers’ Richard Simpson and Les Wildin. He has also competed in numerous mechanics and special races the last several years. Within the last four years, he substituted for a hobby stock and hornet driver at Algona Raceway.

Petersen and his wife will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in June. He is semi-retired; however, he works part-time at Trupke’s in Algona, a building he has worked in since 1965. In addition to his dedication to racing, Petersen was a dedicated 41 year veteran of the Algona Fire Department. Retiring from the department in 2006, he spends his free time with family and helping the fire department with fundraising activities.