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    Posted byadmin on Friday, May 13 @ 18:03:34 EDT
    Contributed by admin

    June 1, 1985 was a day the face of Dubuque, Ia., and the landscape of the gaming industry in the United States was changed forever.

    One of the most highly anticipated events in the history of Dubuque occurred at 6 p.m. on the evening of June 1, 1985 as the doors to Dubuque Greyhound Park opened for the first time and with it the hopes and dreams of many a Dubuquer. The citizens of Dubuque gambled over a year earlier and agreed to back the racetrack dream with a bond issue and at stake their property tax dollars should the project fail.

    Dubuque Greyhound Park become an overwhelming success almost from the start and 20 years later a great majority of the 1985 Dubuque Greyhound Park team of directors, management and staff will return on Saturday evening, June 4, 2005 for a 20th anniversary celebration at Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino.

    It was a short and h ectic year when the all-volunteer Dubuque Racing Association headed by President Terry Harrmann and assisted capably by community leaders Arnie Honkamp and Dave Clemens put the pieces in place to apply for the racetrack license and become the state's first pari-mutuel attraction on June 1, 1985. DGP was also the very first not-for-profit racetrack in the country with any profits earmarked for local charitable distribution.

    The DGP experiment and ultimate success was watched very closely by other jurisdictions. As a result of the support DGP received from both the local community and neighboring states, pari-mutuel racing was adopted shortly after the opening of Dubuque in Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas. And the State of Iowa was futuristic in its approach and view of gaming when it adopted riverboat gambling and soon after gaming at state pari-mutuel facilities to help offset the anticipated competition from neighboring jurisdictions.

    The staff and customer relations skills of the entire Dubuque Greyhound Park team became the standard in the racing industry with DGP officials featured as speakers at countless industry conferences through the glory years of dedicated pari-mutuel racing at the Park—1985-89.

    “When we hired (first DGP General Manager) Roy Berger he promised us he would assemble the best team in the racing industry and based upon the success of DGP and the future success of so many of our personnel I believe we achieved that goal” Terry Harrmann said. “It will be great to see everyone again the weekend of June 4.”

    Of the original Dubuque Greyhound Park management team five went on to become general managers' of their own tracks: Bruce Wentworth- Dubuque; Dan Luciano- Geneva Lakes/Phoenix; Don Hess- Dairyland (Wi.)/Wichita (Ks); Tom Nickerson- Geneva Lakes and Mike Holton-Camptown (Ks.). And the first two food and beverage managers at the Park are now vice presidents for international leisure service companies- Tim Lawler at Aramar k and James Murphy at Compass Group in London, U.K.

    Reunion weekend coordinator Kathy Carlson said she expects over a hundred former DGP employees and kennel operators to come back to Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino for the evening from over 18 States and two foreign countries- Canada and Great Britain.

    First post time on Saturday night, June 4 is at 7 pm.

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