Catching Up With: Dale Skytland, former River Cities Speedway Champion
For Dale Skytland, racing always meant being with, and around, family.
His father, Glen, raced decades ago and worked as a track steward. He started racing himself in 1983. His wife, Doreen, and daughter, Kayla, were involved in the family racing operation. Kayla sold T-shirts while Doreen helped organizing things. And eventually, his son Cody, became a racer and a top late model and modified competitor in the region.
“We did it as a family,” Skytland said. “It’s been a family thing for us the whole time. Racing, as a whole, no matter who you talk to, is family-oriented.”
Skytland, who turns 60 in July, still lives in Edmore and runs three mail routes in that area. If you include one year of demo derby in 1982, Skytland spent 25 years in racing. A majority of that was in the late model class, where he eventually raced against his son.
Glen, was a racer and eventually became a track steward at Park River Speedway.
“I remember going to Park River when my dad was racing,” Skytland said. “I can remember the ride there.”
Glen Skytland, by the way, went to races until he was 88 years old, when he went to watch Cody. He died in 2010 at the age of 90.
In 1982, Dale did demo derbies before buying a street stock for the 1983 season.
“One day, I decided I was going to buy a race car,” Skytland said. “It was kind of in the blood.”
It turned into a career that spanned a quarter century. He ran a street stock, moved into the hobby stocks and then into the late models in 1989.
Behind the wheel of the No. 75 late model, Skytland was a formidable foe. He won points titles at Greenbush, Cando, Grand Forks and Winnipeg. He won six NLRA races in his career.
He won the Firecracker 100 at Bemidji Speedway and the Players 100 at Winnipeg.
“That was probably my crown jewel back in the day,” Skytland said of the Winnipeg win.
The family aspect took on another meaning when Dale’s son, Cody, started racing. He started out in the super stocks at Devils Lake, and eventually moved into the late models — where he raced against his dad.
“It’s neatest thing in the world to race side by side with your son,” Dale said. “We had lot of good times, we really did.”
Cody, who now lives in Horace, turned into a top runner in the region. He won the John Seitz Memorial Late Model special at River Cities Speedway in 2010 and was a two-time NLRA Late Model series champion. He also was a top modified runner for several years.
“Cody has accomplished a lot behind the wheel,” Dale said.
The Skytlands ran a two-late model operation for a few years. But time and cost eventually led them to go down to one late model, which Cody piloted. That wasn’t to mention that most tracks were 100 miles away from Edmore, and the travel added up. Now, Dale and Doreen have five grandkids to enjoy as well.
That doesn’t mean Dale doesn’t miss racing.
“We miss the racing community. We had a lot of fun,” Skytland said. “I have no regrets. Zero. I enjoyed it every minute.”