Last day of greyhound racing in Dubuque, ending decades-long business

Sunday marked the last day of live Greyhound racing in the state of Iowa. KCRG-TV9's Mollie Swayne reports.
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Hundreds of people showed up at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque on Sunday for the last-ever chance to bet on the dogs.

The park is closing because it is no longer financially feasible to keep it open. According to Brian Carpenter, the general manager of IGP, Florida had been a hotspot for dog racing, but a ban there in 2020 led to fewer people breeding dogs. The shortage of dogs contributed to the diminishment of racing parks.

Carpenter has been at the park for 37 years.

“I started as a lead-on and worked my way up through the ranks over the years,” Carpenter said.

Even though the park was a part of his life for decades, Carpenter is moving on.

“I’ve just got done actually talking with the casino people today, and it looks like I may have a job in the casino after we close up here in a couple of weeks,” Carpenter said.

The park is moving on, as well. However, Carpenter could not provide details on what it will turn into.

“I know the city has plans. I just honestly do not know what they plan on doing. Our lease is up July 31,” Carpenter said. “The DRA will take over—the Dubuque Racing Association—and I’m sure them and the city will decide exactly what they would like to do with the property. But I know it won’t go to waste.”

Andy Piper, of Dubuque, said he has been going to the racetrack since it opened in 1985. He said it was kind of emotional to be there on the last day, but acknowledged the difficulty of it continuing.

“I love this place,” Piper said. “If you can’t make it financially, you can’t make it. I mean, that’s the bottom line and it’s just the way it kind of evolved over the years.”

Carpenter said that he was sad to see the end of the park, but happy to appreciate one last day there.

“Just kind of enjoying this last day and really excited to see how many people are here,” Carpenter said.

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