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Inductee Profile

Bud Epp


In the 1950’s, Bud started working with harness horses in Rice Lake. He was an owner, trainer, driver and advisor to anyone that needed his help. During this time he had “hundreds” of winners. His first horse was named Monte Ota, which brings back many memories, as well as the rest: Whiz By, Little Joker, John Allen, Bret’s Blaze, Dorset, Little Alice, Billy Brooks, Minnesota Fats, Jenna Direct, Keyed Up, Steady Bo, Little Fiddler, Bistro, Happy Wish, and many more. Bud did it all, including shoeing, both for himself and numerous others until his health would no longer allow him to do so. He continued to give advice, and check the angles and toe lengths before the farrier finished the job. This man thought like a horse at times and seemed to know what the horse needed or wanted. Earlier in his career, he drove as well as trained. Bud’s last drive was in Rice Lake with Dorset. This horse “went down” near the front of the grandstand. Among other disappointments was the most devastating – the fire in Elkhorn that burned his stable of horses. In that fire he lost Bistro, Happy Wish, W W Win, J B Win, Fancy Too, Puddin’ Tame, and other beloved horses. Like other horsemen, Bud picked up the pieces and continued in his beloved sport. Bud worked extremely hard to promote harness racing at the Barron County Fair. He did radio work, poster advertisements, obtained donations for the purse money and donations for the grandstand for between races, secured bedding for the horsemen and worked closely with the fair board. Bud tried in every way to make it enjoyable for the horsemen as well as providing a great show for the people viewing the races from the grandstand, and many “railbirds” around the track. Bud was a retired Rice Lake cattle dealer who came out of Nebraska as a teenager to join the Navy during World War II. Following the war he raised his family in Rice Lake. Bud Epp was inducted into the Wisconsin Harness Racing Association Hall of Fame in 2008. He passed away in November of 2013.

Bud Epp
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