5th Annual Race for Fallen Linemen Saturday at Viking Speedway
Saturday is the fifth annual Race for Fallen Linemen at Viking Speedway. A big purse is set for the Wissota Modified with $2,500 going to the feature winner. The event helps raise money for the Fallen Lineman Organization, which assists families who have lost electrical line workers who have died or been severely injured in the line of duty.
For an owner of one of the track’s regular Wissota Modifieds, the event is personal.
Corey Svor of Alexandria owns the 6X car that Zach Johnson races at Viking and I-94 Speedways. In 2013, the Svor family was struck by tragedy: Ryan Svor, Corey’s brother died as a result of high voltage electrocution on Nov. 23, 2013 at the age of 30.
“It was a tough deal,” Corey Svor said.
The Fallen Linemen Organization contacted the Svor family to offer help after Ryan’s death. That organization, according to its website, says its “mission is to memorialize fallen electrical line workers, and care for the families who have lost or are impacted by a severe injury of a loved one in the line of duty. We strive to consolidate accident and injury information to share openly for a safer work environment.”
That was how Corey became familiar with Fallen Linemen. One night, Corey and DJ Kittelson — a friend and co-worker of Ryan Svor’s — sat down and decided to do something in his honor at Viking Speedway.
“My brother loved racing,” Corey said.
Saturday’s Wissota Modified race is $2,500 to win and $300 to start. Tenth place receives $450. The expanded purse money was raised by Svor and Kittelson with the aid of sponsors.
Money is raised for Fallen Linemen through donations from fans and T-shirt sales — and $4 from each grandstand ticket sold for Saturday’s race. Over the past four years more than $10,000 has been raised for Fallen Lineman, including $4,400 in 2018.
There will also be a special wrap on the 6X modified, and the side of the car will be auctioned off afterwards.
“Each year, we try to come up with a different color scheme and just graphic scheme in general,” Svor said.
The Svor family saw the impact Fallen Linemen can have first hand. The organization called many area electric co-ops prior to Ryan’s funeral in 2013 and lined up bucket trucks that were parked along the procession.
“It had to have been 25 or 30 utility bucket trucks,” Corey Svor said. “That was pretty cool.”
Brady Gerdes of Villard is the defending race champion; Landon Atkinson of Little Falls won the race in 2017. Josh Thoennes won the event in 2016.
Svor appreciates the support that’s been shown for the race.
“It means a lot,” Corey Svor said. “It’s a very personal thing for both me and DJ, our families and the whole group of friends. My brother had a lot of friends; he was very lovable and always helping people. To have that come back in that way, just supporting the race, it makes a person feel good.”