By Greg Cybulski
Well race fans, here I sit in my comfortable chair with my favorite glass of holiday cheer, taking in the sweet musical stylings of Manitoba jazz pianist Michelle Gregoire's CD, "Reaching". Yes, ol' NOSAfan's taste goes much deeper than dirt. Jazz music is as much a part of me as dirt track racing.
What's the connection? Michelle Gregoire's brother is local racer Dan Gregoire. Having said that, "Support Your Local Outlaws" has applied to many aspects of my life.
You can find Michelle Gregoire's website at http://www.michellegregoire.com
With your kind permission and patience, I would like to give you a little inside look at my life in and out of dirt track racing.
My wife Heather and I are Sunday school teachers and one Sunday in early November, the lesson for our class was about talents. The theme was how God gives everyone a special talent and how it is up to each one of us to use that talent to share with others. The more we got into the lesson with the children, the more I realized that what I am doing right now by writing is indeed a special talent to be shared with people.
In 2001, my ride began with the creation of a small website simply called NOSAfan's Website. For whatever reason, I decided it would fun to write some of my race experiences down on the homepage. The writings were short and sweet but it was enough to catch the eye of fellow Winnipeg webmaster Don McAuley of SprintsNMidgets. Don asked me if I would be interested in writing a periodic racing column for him. I agreed and the rest as they say is history. Eventually I got a few more requests for my column and "Dirt from the Stands" became part of the scenery on racing websites from all over North America.
In 2003, I came to a crossroad of sorts as I decided to give my website a new direction and purpose. On March 17, 2003 the website's name was changed from NOSAfan's website to Prairie Dirt. I wanted to give myself and the website it's own identity. "Prairie Dirt" not only represents racing on the prairies but is also a reflection of who I am as a person. I was born and raised on the prairies of Manitoba and ultimately I will most likely leave this world as a Manitoban. To me, "Dirt" is symbolic of my love of the great outdoors and prairie life, my mortality and my Christian faith.
2003 had a big impact on my life. In the spring of that year, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly and following a very frustrating summer, my family and I were about ready to burst. Heather and I agreed that the summer had to end on a good note, so we decided to travel to Knoxville and Huset's Speedway to take in a weekend of Sprint Car racing and visit with friends.
On our way back to Sioux Falls, I had made arrangements to meet with Hot Rod Pattison and be part of his pre-race radio show from Huset's Speedway.
During my interview, Hot Rod asked me if NOSA raced up in Winnipeg and I awkwardly told him, "No". I offered a brief explanation as to why they were not racing there and I added that hopefully with time, they would come up and race at Victory Lane Speedway again one day.
One month to the day of that interview, I received an email from Estevan Motor Speedway board member Darcy Walker. Estevan was kicking around the idea of hosting a sprint car show in 2004. He wanted to know what I thought. Well, what I thought ended up turning into organizing a sprint car show in Estevan, Saskatchewan. I put my writing to the test with press releases, emails, and columns all aimed at one date, August 14, 2004. The experience left me emotionally drained but feeling very satisfied about what I had accomplished.
In November of 2004, I had resolved to take a year off from writing so I could turn my attentions to other aspects of my life. Within one week of that decision, I was contacted by Guy Budel of Victory Lane Speedway and the cycle began again. Some of my efforts have been very successful while others have failed, but that has never stopped me from trying my best.
Let me say here and now, I didn't go looking for any of these opportunities in my life. None of this is about notoriety, monetary gain or ego. I have no personal ties or interests with anyone involved with racing. Everything I've done so far with regards to racing has always been and will always continue to be about one thing and one thing only...
God has given me the gift of communicating with the written word. I do not know where this journey will ultimately lead me, but I do know that it is not over yet. I have faith that He will guide me every step of the way.
The one thing I do know to be true is that I have made many good friends along the way.
On behalf of the Cybulski family, I would like to wish you all good health and joyful hearts through the holiday season and in 2006.