Column: WoO Late Model Dairyland Showdown At Mississippi Thunder Keeps Growing In Third Year
Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – FOUNTAIN CITY, WI – When Mississippi Thunder Speedway promoter Tyrone Lingenfelter and his team created the Dairyland Showdown in 2021, he knew it would be a marquee event for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models.
What he didn’t realize was how fast it would grow.
In two years, the Wisconsin event has gone from a two-day show to an epic three-day spectacular and one of the highest paydays on the Series schedule. The third annual Dairyland Showdown on May 4-6 will pay a total weekend purse of $264,000, including a $50,000-to-win finale on Saturday, May 6.
That Saturday winner’s share was one of Lingenfelter’s initial goals.
“I shouldn’t say I didn’t think we’d get to this point; I just didn’t know how fast it would be,” Lingenfelter said. “Our goal was to someday get to fifty-thousand to win. It’s pretty cool that we could do that in the second year already.
“I think it just goes out as a thank you to the fans and drivers that have supported the event. It’s grown every single year. We get more campers each year. Our driver count went up the first two years, and I expect it to go up even more again this year.”
While racing highlights the three-day event, it’s only the beginning of what fans can expect.
One aspect that’s grown since the event’s inception is camping, which has led to more activities to supplement the on-track action.
“The camping aspect gives you the opportunity to have a guaranteed fan base because they’re there all weekend long,” Lingenfelter said. “It’s part of the reason we started doing all of the events we have. We have the golf tournament, the corn hole tournament, and the wine tour. We want to make sure everyone that comes here for the weekend gets the biggest bang for their buck, not just on the track but off.
“I think the biggest way of doing that is keeping everybody busy all weekend long.”
While many events across the country have held golf and cornhole tournaments, the geography of the Wisconsin/Minnesota border allows for something different—a wine tour.
It’s the second year, fans can enjoy a tour of the area’s wineries, giving them another option while they wait for racing to start.
“The wine tour was actually Hailey Towner’s idea,” Lingenfelter said. “She works in the office with us. We have a couple of wineries that are pretty close by. It seemed like a really good idea. Last year was the first year of it, and it went really well and this year we’ve already got more people signed up.
“It seems to be well-received by a lot of drivers. It’s like, ‘Hey, my wife wants to come along, and now she’s got something she’s looking forward to on Saturday.’ That’s where I think we’ve gotten the most uptick from fans.”
The racing and off-track activities allowed for the Dairyland Showdown to grow to where it is in its third year. But Lingenfelter and his crew are also excited because fans in the upper Midwest can start their season off with a bang, he said.
“People are going to get the opportunity to come out right off the bat and see a big $50,000-to-win show,” Lingenfelter said. “The World of Outlaws Late Models, the best drivers in the country, are going to be in their backyard, and I’m just pleased that we’re the ones to be able to host it.
“We’ve had a lot of anticipation. A lot of things we’ve been working up to. It’s pretty exciting for us to be able to start things off with a bang. It’s almost like our Daytona 500.”
The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models head to Mississippi Thunder Speedway for the third annual Dairyland Showdown on May 4-6, including the second $50,000-to-win payday of the 2023 season.