Sodrac park

Sodrac Park is shown on May 17, 1989. The North Sioux City track closed in 1995, ending 38 years of greyhound racing.

Provided by the Sioux City Public Library

NORTH SIOUX CITY | Tour buses regularly filled the parking lot at Sodrac Park in the 1960s and 1970s.

Back then, the live greyhound races in North Sioux City attracted betters from as far away as Kansas and Missouri.

The following began to erode in the mid-1980s as faster-paced forms of gambling spread in South Dakota and neighboring states like Iowa.

In 1985, Sodrac drew 248,793 people who wagered $22.8 million. A year later, after a competing dog track opened in Council Bluffs, Iowa, those totals were cut in half.

Sodrac continued to hemorrhage business after slot-like video lottery machines started popping up in bars and restaurants just down the road in North Sioux City in 1989. and a riverboat casino began cruising the Missouri River in Iowa in 1993.

By 1993, the track's handle had plummeted to $1.5 million. Realizing it could no longer make a profit, they got permission from state legislators that year to cease live racing in January and switch to simulcasting. It allowed the dwindling number of spectators to place bets on races in distant cities and watch the action play out on television monitors.

With losses continuing to mount, Sodrac shut down for good in 1995, ending 38 years of racing. The grandstands and other structures were torn down or resold for scrap or other purposes.

The land along Interstate 29 where the track once stood was sold for commercial development. Hotels, a convenience store, a fast food restaurant and a fireworks stand are among the businesses that were built on a 52-acre mixed-use site known as Sodrac Centre.

Single-family homes and apartments also have been developed.

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