Skip to main content
Thunder Valley Celebrates its 50th Anniversary
Email share
photo of thunder valley

As Thunder Valley celebrates it’s 50th year of drag racing, we thought it would be fitting to pay a visit and talk to the man responsible for the track's existence.

Glen Rapp graduated from Marion High School in 1956. He decided to join the Navy, not only in service of his country, but to explore his adventurous spirit and see the world. In 1959, after his discharge, He moved back to Marion, bought an apartment, and took over the Chevy dealership from his father. Glen married, purchased a corvette, and he and his new wife traveled the United States, racing at various tracks throughout the country.

At each track, they would draw up detailed maps of the layout, and copy the operating procedures. Then, on their drive home, they would critique what they liked and disliked about each venue.

In 1965, Glen determined the need for a track closer to home. In 1966 they began construction of the track, control tower, spectator areas, and surrounding campground.

In June of 1967, Thunder Valley opened it’s gates. It proved to be wildly popular, not only to local South Dakota racers, but racers from surrounding states and many miles away.