Al & Peggy Schadendorf – Promoters

Al Schadendorf

Al Schadendorf

By Chad Meyer

Al and Peggy Schadendorf were promoters of the speedway in Algona during the 1994 through 1996 seasons. Their interest in cars and motorsports, however, came much sooner.

“As youngsters, both Al and I were interested in cars and racing,” said Peggy. “After we were married, we brought our two oldest children, Mike and Gayle, to the Algona track. If Algona didn’t race, we’d all go to Boone or Webster City to watch and the kids would sleep in the back of our 1962 Ford on the way home.”

The Schadendorf’s got directly involved in the local racing scene when Peggy answered a newspaper ad for someone to write the race results for the Algona Upper Des Moines newspaper. Peggy got the job and wrote for the paper for several years while Daryl Brayton promoted the track.

“We were at the track anyway, our son Mike built his first hobby stock then, and we would watch him race and then I would submit the results to the paper,” she said.

Schadendorf says promoting the races wasn’t on their radar screen until some of the racers and members of the fair board asked them if they would be interested in promoting Algona. “Al and I talked it over, and we applied. Ultimately we were selected over other applicants by the fair board in the fall of 1993”, she said.

Peggy Schadendorf

Peggy Schadendorf

There was a lot going on in the racing scene at that time. Local stock car driver Kevin Berte was racing for the IMCA National championship the summer of 1993. “Algona was not IMCA sanctioned at that time, but the last race of the ’93 season was sanctioned,” she remembers.

Shortly after being named promoters of the Algona track, the Schadendorf’s held a meeting with the local drivers. “They overwhelmingly voted in favor of Algona becoming a sanctioned IMCA track”, she commented.

Starting the next year, they ran four classes of cars, IMCA hobby stock, IMCA stock cars and IMCA modifieds plus and an unsanctioned Econo-Car class.

“We had a wonderful 1994 racing season,” remembers Peggy. “We were such greenhorns, but had so many that helped us get started!”

People like Kenny Forburger and Kevin Long lent a hand in getting the track prepared. Employees that worked the track before helped tremendously she said. “We also have fond memories of Charles Kollasch, Claire Reutzel, Hjelmeland Builders, and Dick Manske for their help over the years.”

The 1995 season at Algona posed challenges. The Schadendorf’s purchased a grader and tractor for the track. The rainy spring added stress to an already stressful season. In May, Al suffered a heart attack.

“We were so grateful of the many people that stepped up to help out when Al had his heart attack. Our son Mike, daughter Karen plus Chuck Simpson and Kevin Long are really helped us out,” she said.

The challenges of ’95 carried over to the next season, which turned out to be their last as promoters at Algona.

“By 1996 there was a lot of unrest again.” As promoters, you have control over everything but the weather and a rainy season creates lots of expense, she said. “You prepare the track, pay employees and insurance, purchase food, and then have to cancel races because of the rain. Nobody is happy.”

She went on to say that, “If you are honest, and try to treat employees and the drivers fairly, you will not be making the kind of money most people think you are.”

In addition to all of the friendships they built they have a lot of fond memories over their three years as promoters. “Watching the drivers mature and sharing in their excitement when they win their first feature is priceless,” she recalled.

In 2003, Al and Peggy retired from their jobs at Kossuth Regional Health Center and moved to Mesquite, Nevada. Though they have moved to a warmer climate, Algona still means much to the couple. “We still have a very warm spot in our hearts for Algona, her people and those who continue to keep local tracks going,” she said.

Al & Peggy Schadendorf, along with six others will be inducted into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame Saturday, August, 2nd.