Fonner Park

Corporate Name: Hall County Livestock Improvement Association, Inc.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 490, Grand Island, Nebraska 68802-0490
Street Address: 700 East Stolley Park Road, Grand Island, Nebraska 68801 (click for map)
Telephone: (308) 382-4515
Fax: (308) 384-2753
Email: [email protected]

Fonner Park, located in central Nebraska, inaugurated its first race meet in the spring of 1954. From the original 13-day meet, the season now consists of 31 days of racing from mid-February through mid‑May.

As required by state statute, Fonner Park is a non-profit public service corporation, which is a unique feature of racing in Nebraska. The proceeds from racing go to Fonner Park’s programs to promote and support agricultural fairs, capital improvements, and 4­‑H, community, educational, and charitable activities.

In addition to beginning the Nebraska racing circuit each year, Fonner Park is the home of the Hall County Fair, Fonner Park State 4-H Horse Show and Exposition, State Fire School, Shrine Circus, many other civic activities, and horse and livestock shows.

Fonner Park became the new home of the Nebraska State Fair in 2010. Additional new facilities located on the grounds of Fonner Park include a climate-controlled 100,000- square foot exhibition building, a climate-controlled livestock arena with seating for 2,000, an 83,800-square foot climate-controlled swine arena, an 83,800-square foot sheep barn, and a 112,200-square foot cattle barn with tie-outs for 1,400 animals.

Fonner Park’s 280-acre plant is located in southeast Grand Island near the heart of the restaurant, nightclub, and motel area. The physical plant consists of a grandstand, concourse exhibition hall, 4-H Building and Cafe, indoor one‑quarter mile training track with show arena and stalls, indoor 4-H horse arena with bleacher seating, 20 barns with stable accommodations for 1,300 horses, and a half-mile training track. In 2006, the 6,000-seat Heartland Events Center, attached to the grandstand, opened to accommodate sporting events, conventions, trade shows and, concerts.

The spacious and modern facility has become home to a large number of events, including entertainment for the Hall County Fair, a Home & Builders Show, corporate banquets, major food shows, the Shrine Circus, monster trucks, high school graduations, school & non-profit benefits, and the arena has also hosted a presidential visit. The facility also has a portable basketball/volleyball floor and is now scheduling tournament events. The Events Center will host the state-wide Nebraska Cheer and Dance Competition.

Officers: Steve Dowding, President; Monte Hehnke, 1st Vice-President; Greg Baxter, 2nd Vice-President; Steve Hansen, 3rd Vice-President; Mike Jakubowski, Secretary; Dan Fogland, Treasurer
Executive Vice President and CEO: Bruce A. Swihart
Chief Operations Officer: Todd W. Otto
Racing Secretary: Doug Schoepf
Group Sales: Linda Adler
Owner Relations Contact: Doug Schoepf
Track Photographer: Patty Jo Braden Photography
Nearest City: Located in Grand Island, population 39,287; 150 miles from Omaha
Nearest Airport: Hall County Regional Airport, 3 miles north of track
Track Data: 5/8-mile oval, sandy loam; distance from last turn to finish line, 700 feet; 2 chutes, 6½ furlongs and 1¼ miles; width of track 70 feet
Seating Accommodations: Clubhouse, 1,648; Turf Club, 274; Skyline, 480; box seats, 805; grandstand, 1,863; total seating capacity, 5,766
Admission: Free general admission; Skyline Tables, $20 (seats 4, includes admission); Turf Club, $40 (seats 4, includes admission); Clubhouse tables, $24 (seats 4, includes admission)
Parking: 30 acres of hard-surfaced parking for 5,000 cars
Grandstand: Glass-enclosed, heated grandstand with elevator service to Clubhouse, Turf Club and Keno; Legal Betting Age: 19
Simulcast Information: Coast-to-coast full-card simulcasting, seven days per week