Dick Trickle Memorial Project aims to create a memorial to honor the fallen driver
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
There is no denying that Dick Trickle is a legend in short-track racing — not only in Wisconsin, but also throughout the Midwest.
If you talk to drivers who have raced against him, there is a good chance they will have at least one story to tell about the experience. Odds are they have plenty more stories to tell.
To help keep these stories alive and to honor Trickle, a couple of former race car drivers and others who knew Trickle have created the Dick Trickle Memorial Project. Former drivers Tom Reffner and Marv Marzofka, along with Gary Erickson and John Alft have spearheaded the endeavor.
The purpose of the project is to build a memorial to honor Trickle in the Rudolph Community Park in Rudolph.
Reffner, Marzofka and Erickson all went to the same school together as kids. Not only did Reffner and Marzofka race against Trickle, but Reffner was Trickle’s teammate for around 12 years, while Marzofka partnered with Trickle for part of his racing career.
“We hauled one car on the truck and the other one on the trailer behind the truck,” Marzofka said. “We did that for about four years. … I probably raced, I’d say somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 races against him.”
Reffner added that through most of the 1970s it was common to compete in 110-120 races per year.
The bond created with Trickle on and off the track during that time led Reffner and Marzofka to become involved with The Dick Trickle Memorial Project.
Erickson, who was also an early pit crew member for Trickle, added, “He was a buddy of mine. I went to school with him. I was asked if we should do something and I said I’d do it if Tom helps and I said let’s get Marv involved. The three of us kind of agreed together to do it.”
In addition to honoring Trickle, the goal of the project is to also reiterate to people that if you work hard you can become the best because that’s what Trickle did.
“You can arise from nothing and be the best in whatever chosen field you want to be in,” Erickson said.
Reffner added, “That’s the idea of the thing, to show people that you can start out with nothing [and become the best].
The center of the Dick Trickle Memorial at the Rudolph Community Park will be a life-size bronze statue of Trickle. The statue will be on a round pedestal that is approximately two feet high.
The preliminary plan also calls for a “Donor Appreciation Wall” to be constructed directly behind the statue. This wall will have an approximate radius of about seven feet that will be viewed from behind the statue. The wall will have various size donor appreciation tiles attached to it.
Outside of the donor appreciation wall will be a walkway going 360 degrees around the statue and the donor appreciation wall with an approximate 14-foot inside diameter and 28-foot outside diameter, making a seven-foot walkway.
The outside of the walkway will be a semicircle “Wall of Dick Trickle Driven Race Cars” featuring select ceramic photos of race cars Trickle drove with. A brief history and description will be included for each car. The plan is to include around 70 of the 200 race cars Trickle drove during his career. The cars included have not been chosen yet.
Outside of the wall featuring race cars driving by Trickle will be an approximate three-foot wide semicircle with select shrubs and bushes.
“It gives Dick’s fans a place to go to remember him,” Reffner said.
The memorial is authorized by the Rudolph Village Board, the Rudolph Park Commission, and the Rudolph Lions Club.
Groundbreaking & special events
A Dick Trickle Memorial groundbreaking and kickoff event will take place, Sunday, May 18 at Rudolph Community Park from 12-6 p.m. Admission is free. Food and beverages will be available, as well as music by Roy Fuller Family Band. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 3 p.m.
Dick Trickle buttons will be available for purchase. Silent auctions will also take place. Many of the silent auction items will be Dick Trickle memorabilia.
Golden Sands Speedway will host a Dick Trickle Memorial Fund race on Memorial Day, May 26. This day of racing will feature TUNDRA Super Late Models. Golden Sands Speedway will donate $1 for every ticket purchased that day to the memorial fund.
Erickson said the Corvettes of the North Car Club will be sponsoring a 99 mile cruise in July. Donahue Super Sports is also planning a motorcycle rally in July for The Dick Trickle Memorial Project.
How you can help
Besides attending the special events related to The Dick Trickle Memorial Project, it is also accepting donations through the Incourage Community Foundation, serving the south Wood County area. Donations made through this organization are tax deductible. The Incourage Community Foundation can be reached via phone at 715-423-3863, via email at [email protected], or by visiting its website at www.incouragecf.org.
More information about The Dick Trickle Memorial Project is also available on Facebook at The Dick Trickle Memorial Project page.