By Roger Hamilton
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — The Fredenberg 50 Memorial midget race sanctioned by the Badger Midget Area Racing Ass’n will be held for the first time since 2000 this coming Sunday at Angell Park Speedway.
Fifty years ago on a Sunday afternoon, Alvin (Al) Fredenberg flew home from the Minnesota State Fair having competed in a sprint car race. Fast travel time was important as he needed to prepare for a night of racing at Angell Park Speedway.
It was Aug. 4, 1963 and Al had asked his wife, Betty, to haul the sprint car back to Angell Park. It was during the feature that night that Al suffered a fatal crash in turn three. The ambulance was leaving Angell Park as Betty was just driving into the race track.
For many years, the first Sunday in August has honored Fredenberg’s memory, designated by Angell Park and Badger Midgets as the Fredenberg 50 Memorial.
Al and Betty Fredenberg had four children together — Dan, Allen (Al), Ron and Beverly. The three boys all raced at Angell Park with Dan racing sprint cars as well as midgets. Beverly also raced sprint cars and owned a midget at one time. Dan became Badger champion 25 years after his father. All have since retired from racing; however, Ron is still an official with Badger and board member. Spearheading organization of this year’s Memorial race, Al says, “My father had an enormous passion for the sport. It was his No. 1 hobby and he would do anything to race. My mom knew this. She knew the risks as well as the benefits. It’s an emotion-changer.”
Betty remarried; her second husband, Richard (Dick) Berg, came alongside Betty in supporting the racing interests of the children. Dick became a Badger official, manning the safety corner position where Ron presently presides. Betty and Dick’s son, Bill, participated in Badger racing as well.