In May, during the regular monthly meeting of the Gruetli-Laager City Council, the council voted unanimously to convert the horse arena in Gruetli-Laager into a motorsports arena. This decision was not made lightly, nor was it a knee jerk reaction to the growing success of motorsports in the surrounding counties. In the past, the Gruetli-Laager Horse Arena has hosted many successful horse shows including a yearly Saint Jude Charity Horse Show. The Grundy County Fair Association has also sponsored a horse show at the arena for the past two years. However, when these shows were not taking place, the arena sat dormant and unused. Occasionally, one or two members of the community would go to the arena to work their horses but for the most part, the horse arena had fell into a state of disarray and decay.
Over the past three years, efforts were made to restart monthly hoarse shows at the arena. The City of Gruetli-Laager invested in sand for the arena, paint for the fences, and new freezers for the concession stand. Members of the 4-H Club and the Fair Association donated their time to paint the arena and concession stand. But, efforts to restart regular monthly horseshows fell through. Various individuals contacted the city at different times about wanting to start monthly horse shows; due to the price of liability insurance coverage the shows were not financially feasible for individuals wanting to put on shows. Different organizations contacted the city about putting on the shows, but there was no follow up or progress leading to monthly horse shows.
Over the past few years, members of the Gruetli-Laager City Council and the Gruetli-Laager Fire Department have had conversations with the organizers of the Ivy Bluff and Centertown monthly mud bogs. These monthly mud bogs have been huge successes at those venues and brought in thousands of dollars that were used to equip the local fire departments and help fund various community projects.
The City of Gruetli-Laager researched various options to start a monthly mud bog and decided that, without access to lights and electricity, the current mud bog site would not be feasible. However, when a chance to get into the monthly mud bog circuit with Ivy Bluff and Centertown opened up in April, the City of Gruetli-Laager decided to capitalize on this opportunity.
Unfortunately, the only way to make this work was to convert the current horse arena into a motorsports arena. The horse arena already had lighting, electricity, water, a press box, and concession stand. It was the perfect venue for monthly mud bogs, tractor pulls, monster trucks, and more. With this opportunity in mind, and the fact that efforts to restart monthly horse shows at the arena had not worked out over the past 10 years, the unanimous decision was made to convert the arena.
By converting the arena into a motorsports arena, the City of Gruetli-Laager plans to fill in the old mud bog spot at the entrance of the recreation park and turn it into parking for motorsports events and the Grundy County Fair. With the Grundy County Fair growing every year, it has put a real strain on the recreation park’s ability to hold all the cars and spectators enjoying the fair. This move will be a win/win for people wanting to come out to enjoy the motorsports events at the park and the Grundy County Fair in August.
The city plans on using the proceeds from the motorsports arena to equip the Gruetli-Laager Fire Department, buy new playground equipment, and pave the road into the park. The decision to convert the horse arena into a motorsports park was not made lightly and it was in no way meant to offend the members of our community that love to ride and show horses. It was made with the intent to offer more of a variety of entertainment to the citizens of Gruetli-Laager and Grundy County. Hopefully, the success of this motorsports park will lead to more expansions and opportunities at the Gruetli-Laager Recreation Park.