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Small Town Of Chester Gets Big Boost From Ice Races

January 21, 2014, 7:03 AM by Leland Steva

Small Town Of Chester Gets Big Boost From Ice Races

The Brandt Lake Ice Races brings a lot of fun to the town of Chester, South Dakota, but the hundreds of racers and fans also help the town's bottom line.

According to the 2010 Census, the population of Chester is 261. That number grows every Sunday with the racers and spectators that come to take part in the Brandt Lake Ice Races.

"We have more people out here on the lake on Sunday than actually live in the town of Chester," promoter Robert Jones said.

The Brandt Lake Ice Races rev up every Sunday and hundreds of people take part in the tradition. There is something for every fan of winter sports, no matter the age.

"You race with other people and usually get trophies," racer Emma Gottsch said.

With the extra people comes extra income for the town. Sarah Javers is the owner of the Shipwreck Inn, which is a sponsor of the races. She says this event brings in more money than any other time of the year.

"It's probably triple what we normally do. So it's a great event for our business that's for sure," Javers said.

Jones has been promoting and creating ice racing events since 1989. The retired motorcycle racer says this event isn't just for racers and fans from the Chester area.

"We've got people coming from Minneapolis. We got Des Moines, Iowa. Next week, we got people from Rapid City. I've really stretched my promotion part out to all the bike shops in South Dakota and even Minnesota and Iowa," Jones said.

The event starts at noon every week and runs about three and a half hours. For the colder days, fans don't even have to leave the comfort of their warm vehicles to watch the races. There is a FM transmitter that broadcasts the races across the lake.

Whether you're the one racing around the track, watching from the sidelines or getting an increase in your business, the Brandt Lake Ice Races make the winter months memorable.

"It's just a great community event. People from everywhere come. Chester people come and they just bring their friends, their families travel from far away just to come and check it out and have a good day," Javers said.

The Bike and ATV racers range from four to sixty years old.

The event will be going on every Sunday until the end of February.

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