Former rival Reffner instrumental in Trickle memorial - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Former rival Reffner instrumental in Trickle memorial

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- Unique. Passionate. Charismatic. Those were some of the many words used on Monday to describe Wisconsin racing legend Dick Trickle, whose inaugural memorial race was held in Wisconsin Rapids on Memorial Day afternoon.

The fun-loving Trickle was beloved even by his competitors. So much so that the memorial race may not have been possible without the man who was once his fiercest rival.

Tom Reffner is a heck of a friend,” Kirby Kurth, a Central Wisconsin racer, said. “That's all I can say to put up a memorial like this.”

Reffner was one of Trickle's biggest rivals on the Wisconsin racing scene in the 1960s and 1970s.

Despite their differences on the track, the two were good friends off of it. Reffner was a driving force in organizing Monday's event.

Everybody always thought that maybe there was a problem between Tom and Dick," Kurth said. “But what Tom is doing, it makes me just about go into tears, you know? It's unreal.”

But for Reffner, the desire to become involved in his longtime competitor's memorial was natural.

Whenever I think about it, I think if I was in Dick's shoes, what would I want?” Reffner told Newsline 9. “I feel pretty good about what we're doing, because I would feel good if I was him.”

The battles on the track between Trickle and Reffner ignited interest in racing in Central Wisconsin.

But now that the dust has settled, it's clear that what may have looked like a rivalry to spectators, was really just a healthy competition between friends.

They were the legends that got my dad interested in racing,” said Kyle Quella, one of the drivers who competed on Monday. “And that's the reason I'm interested in racing.”

Over 1, 500 spectators attended Monday's event in Wisconsin Rapids.
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