Jizzy Pearl sung into the night. His bandmates rocked out on their guitars and pounded on the drums. Lyrics such as, “Come on, feel the noise,” “I don’t know why,” “Bang your head,” and “Metal health will drive you mad,” sounded loudly from the speakers. Stage lights changed colors and speakers blared. Standing on the race track, people gathered around the stage, forming a mosh pit— some at times touching the hands of the artists onstage. Many other people filled the race park stands.
The heavy metal band “Quiet Riot” was making its appearance at the Greenbush Race Park for a concert there on July 3, as part of the Greenbush Fourth of July Celebration. Jamie “Trapper” Sovde of the Greenbush Race Park helped to make this a reality.
He talked about his background with the Greenbush Race Park, how “Quiet Riot” and its opening act “Autograph” came to rock out in this small northwest Minnesota town, and the reaction from it all.
A 1983 Greenbush High School graduate, Sovde grew up in Greenbush. He explained how Wahl Brothers Racing and numerous others helped build the Greenbush Race Park. Sovde worked as one of the flag men at the race park in the beginning. He eventually became just a spectator and ended up moving to the Fargo-Moorhead area with his wife. He specifically lives in Felton, Minn.
Meanwhile, Sovde explained how Wahl Brothers had rented the race park to another individual, who ran it for a while. After this individual was done with it, Wahl Brothers was going to try to sell it, not get many parties interested in buying it. One individual was going to rent it from them in 2011, but this didn’t pan out and Wahl Brothers ended up running the race park that year.
Sovde would get involved with the race park again. Dave Wahl of Wahl Brothers Racing told Sovde to be the flag man at the race park for the summer. Sovde agreed and then in 2012 the race park didn’t run.
“I told my wife, I said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna, I want to get this thing going because it’s too nice of a place to let sit there,’” Sovde said.
He talked to both Dave and Durmont Wahl and others about doing this. Dave expressed how he didn’t want Sovde to quit his regular job just to run the race park, wanting him to keep his job. Sovde said he had it all lined up with his regular job to make this work.
To run the race park during the summer, Sovde works four days a week, 10 hours a day. At about noon on Thursday, he heads up north from his Felton home. He works at the track from Thursday night to Sunday night— to keep it going and to keep the track in ideal condition. Durmont Wahl, Terry Wahl, Donnie Brekke, and many others help him do this.
Sovde always wanted this facility to be used for more than just races, and told his wife and others this in the past. In his tenth year of running the track, he was looking to do a concert at the Greenbush Race Park. Working with Jade Presents— a company out of Fargo that helps plan live entertainment events— Sovde said they had “Voyage,” a “Journey” tribute band out of New York, set to perform at the race park.
“This was almost finalized and the lady from Fargo calls me and says, ‘We got a problem. ‘Voyage’s’ drummer has some issues going on. They’re not going to be playing for a while.’”
Sovde had a list of options to begin with and went back to it— a list that included “Quiet Riot.”
“I still can’t believe they still call ‘Quiet Riot’ a heavy metal band because they’re pretty tame compared to some of the music nowadays,” Sovde said with a laugh. “… They (Jade Presents) contacted them and we put in an offer for ‘Quiet Riot’ and ‘Autograph’ and they accepted the offer.”
When he heard the news that these two groups were a go to come to Greenbush, he thought it was cool. A rock fan, he remembers listening to “Quiet Riot” back in the day, one of the bands always playing in the car. Sovde said many people know “Quiet Riot’s” top four or five songs.
“I just thought our small town is going to be in shock,” Sovde said. “… No one ever did a concert or nothing like that here in town, so that was kind of cool too.”
Working at the concert, Sovde estimated that approximately 1,200 people attended the event. It was one of the bigger crowds the race park has had, Sovde confirmed. He added how the park has had crowds similar to this for some specials— late models and sprint car races.
What was the reaction from this concert crowd?
“I’ve had nothing but positive reviews about (the concert),” Sovde said.
He later added, “It was great, yep. Everybody was having a good time.”
Asked why he put in the effort to make something like this happen, Sovde said it was his hometown and he wanted things to do here.
“I could stay in Fargo or whatever and go fishing, but that’s why I’m doing the race track too. I like racing,” Sovde said. “It’s probably cheaper for me to run the track than it is to own a racecar. And, like I said, Durmont and Terry Wahl and all them Wahl brothers and other guys, they like racing, so they helped me out. We want to keep it going.”
To see the full story, read the July 13 issue of The Tribune in print or online.