Dick & Dorthy Simpson – Promoters/Track Officials

Dick & Dorthy SimpsonThe racing careers of Dick and Dorthy Simpson began in 1961 when Algona track promoter Lamont Wellendorf asked Dick to be the pit steward and Dorthy to be the scorekeeper at the Kossuth County track.

Wellendorf characterized the husband and wife team as two of the best employees he ever had in racing. Dick and Dorthy Simpson not only worked for Wellendorf at the Algona track, they also were track officials at his other facilities, including; Denison, Cresco, Webster City and Mason City.

Dick was known to rule the pits with an iron hand, as he made sure everything on race night ran smoothly. One of Wellendorf’s favorite memories of Dick as a track official was when Simpson used a large sledgehammer, with the handle partly cut off, to check the quality of racers roll cages. On more than one occasion after Dick was done checking roll cages with the hammer, a racer would not be allowed to race due to safety concerns.

Dorthy was seen all over the race track, involved in every aspect of operating the racing facility. She started each race night by checking in drivers and crews at the pit gate. Dorthy was known as one of the best scorekeepers, keeping track of the many cars on the track with only a pen and paper; seemingly never making a mistake. At the event’s conclusion, she ran the payout window.

Dick Simpson

Dick Simpson, second from left. Promoter Lamont Wellendorf, far right.

After Wellendorf stopped promoting the Algona track, Dwight Cook took over the reigns of the Kossuth County track, with the Simpson’s continuing their role as track officials.

In the early 1970’s, the Simpson’s began promoting the Alta race track on Sunday nights. This venture was a true family affair, with Dick, Dorthy and their kids finishing their farming duties on Wednesday afternoons so they could make the trip to Alta to begin preparations for the weekend’s racing. Dick was a stickler for track preparation and a clean racing facility.

The Algona track was closed and did not run weekly race shows for a period of years. During this time, the Kossuth County Fair Board hired Dick and Dorthy Simpson to promote the fair races and a demo derby.

As track promoters, they were known as fair individuals and interested in putting on the best possible show for the fans. The Simpson’s promoted the Alta facility until about 1985 when they retired. Dick returned to promote the Alta track in 1989 at the request of the Buena Vista County Fair Board. Simpson helped reopen the facility, racing on Wednesday nights.

Dick Simpson passed away far too soon, and was laid to rest in February 1990. For many years, the “Dick Simpson Memorial” was held at the Alta track, honoring an individual who helped put racing on the map in Alta.

Dorthy passed away in December of 2010.