The Wyant Group Raceway, located in the heart of Saskatoon, doesn’t miss an opportunity to show their support and recognition for the CAF. Spearheaded by longtime military supporter, Brian Swidrovich, the Raceway sponsors various events for military families to enjoy.
“Families really enjoy attending the races. It is a fun, family-friendly activity. Having Wyant Group Raceway provide free admission makes it very affordable. Saskatchewan can be an expensive place to live, so inexpensive family activities are a great help. Also, the race truck that the local guys help with is always of great interest when they bring it around,” said Aubrey Eaton, Executive Director of the Central Saskatchewan MFRC (CSMFRC).
The raceway hosts military nights throughout the year that allows CAF members and their families to attend the races free of charge and the raceway sponsors a military race car at their track. The CSMFRC is also invited to races to raise funds and awareness.
“It helps us to raise awareness of the CAF families living in the community. The CF does not have a large presence in the Saskatoon area, so it is important that we let people know that we have CAF families moving into the community all the time,” said Eaton.
Through the support of the raceway, not only does the MFRC raise awareness about their programming, they create awareness about military family life. It also gives the community at large a chance to recognize the CAF.
As big promoters of the military, each race all season offers a chance for CAF members to be on site and be recognized at each event. Even during events like concerts, circus or Monster Truck events held at the raceway, the Wyant Group Raceway makes sure visuals are always on site to promote a salute to the CAF.
The Wyant Group Raceway also plans to promote the entire month of September as a Tribute to the CAF, instead of just one night.
The Raceway’s staunch support for the military is in large part due to the work of Brian Swidrovich, who works in marketing and operations for the Wyant Group Raceway.
Swidrovich first became involved with the CAF in 1995 after meeting hundreds of veterans and going on to produce the first Canada Remembers International Air Show as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
“The Saskatoon Airport did not want to hold an Air Show, so we did the impossible and held the world’s first Air Show at an Arena, at Saskatchewan Place, May 7th, 1995. Almost 20,000 people braved the windy-rainy-chilly day to watch the aerobatics and take in all the ground displays, at the arena, a couple of miles north of the airport,” said Swidrovich.
The air show continued at the arena for a number of years before the Saskatoon Airport allowed Swidrovich to produce the show there.
In 1999, the event was recognized as one of Canada’s top ten outdoor attractions and as Saskatchewan’s number one attraction. The air show is still one of Canada’s largest outdoor Remembrance Day ceremonies.
The air show was moved to the race track in 2011, thus, creating a partnership with the Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Association.
Over the years, various race teams have provided additional support to the CAF. The owners of a race team provides a Pro Truck race vehicle for 17 Wing Detachment Dundurn can drive the vehicle and act as the pit crew.
In 2015, air show supporters and Pro Truck owner, Vern Gwin, started an initiative in which a majority of race vehicles attach a decal above the passenger side window naming an “honorary ride-along passenger.” The decals display the names of soldiers from the First and Second World War, Korea and the Afghanistan War.
Featured image: Brian Swidrovich showing a fallen CF members mounted on the passenger windows of the race vehicles.