CRANDON, Wis. – When business entrepreneur Jamey Flannery officially takes possession of Crandon Int’l Raceway on New Year’s Day, more than the ownership will change.
In fact, the entire way the historic racetrack does business will undergo a massive transformation.
Since its inception in 1970, off-road racing in Crandon has operated as a not-for-profit club created to help support many local and regional charities. It has been a highly symbiotic relationship for both sides, offering the 400-plus acre facility access to much needed volunteer labor during world-class race weekends in exchange for year-end financial contributions to a wide variety of local charities.
In fact, Crandon Int’l Raceway has contributed millions of dollars in much needed support to the small city of Crandon and surrounding Forest County located deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
Crandon International Raceway is comprised of a 1.75-mile short-course off-road track, more than 2,100 designated grass camping sites, a modern grandstand and a hospitality facility, a designated off-road park, corporate hospitality suites, a trap range and a VIP center and office at the location’s original barn.
The track plays host to two major race events each year, including June’s Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run and Labor Day’s massive Polaris World Championship Off-Road Races and Crandon World Cup – an event which saw a record crowd of just over 70,000 people at its 50th anniversary running in 2019. Both the new Champ Off-Road and Ultra4 series are scheduled to run at the track as part of their 2021 race seasons.
Flannery’s vision for the future of Crandon Int’l Raceway may be operationally different than the past, but his already well documented interest in helping locally based community programs will remain a cornerstone in moving forward.
“It’s important to honor the service of so many people and organizations that contributed to this track by carrying things forward in the future,” Flannery explained. “There will still be opportunity for volunteer organizations here at the track, and there always will be as far as I’m concerned.”
At the recent 27th Forest County Potawatomi race weekend the track and Flannery Trucking combined forces to contribute two new drug K9s to the Forest County Sheriff’s office. Flannery was also the driving force in kick-start the inaugural Crandon Rocks concert with Kid Rock at the tracks 50th anniversary race in 2019.
Racing at Crandon began under the umbrella of the original Wolfheads Sportsmen Club umbrella, also a non-profit entity. In 1984 the group moved into its present home on US Highway 8, eventually reforming under the official name of Crandon International Off-Road Raceway Association, Inc.
Following Wisconsin state law and the bylaws stated in official documents, the dissolution of a 501 (c) (3) organization requires that Crandon pay all outstanding accounts payable and other debt before distributing the remaining balance to a list of similar local organizations approved by the Forest County Circuit Court. The current intention by Crandon International Raceway’s Board of Directors and President Cliff Flannery is that these contributions will be disbursed primarily in Crandon and the immediate surrounding area.
In keeping with a long-standing Crandon tradition (and COVID-19 restrictions not withstanding), next February track management will organize and host its annual Volunteer Party. Held at the local town hall. It’s a unique event to Crandon, a celebration that gathers more than 500 guests as an official thank you for their service to the track, with food, drinks, live music and a huge raffle for all to enjoy.
The evening also features the most important thing of all; the distribution of tens of thousands of dollars in financial support to worthy groups. While the overall structure of the track’s operation will change on Jan. 1, 2021, both Jamey Flannery and the outgoing members of Crandon’s Board of Directors are united in a mindset that giving back to the community remains an important chapter to the overall story of Crandon Int’l Raceway.