Friday April 20, 2012
A local group isn't giving up on trying to get the Wichita Greyhound Park up and running again. They're taking their campaign to Topeka, hoping to convince lawmakers to approve gambling at the park. There is a bill, currently in a Senate committee, that would allow that to happen. Next Thursday, stake-holders in the Kansas racing industry will load up on several buses and try to get that bill passed.
John Walker and his family started TJ's Greyhounds in 2005.
“We started racing in Wichita and then in Kansas City,” Walker said.
When the Wichita Greyhound Park closed, followed by the Woodlands in Kansas City, the Walkers had to start shipping their dogs down south to race.
“It was terrible, we had to pay the expenses of moving them down there and when they were down there it was harder for us to keep track of them,” Walker said.
TJ's greyhounds are all retired now and Walker says their business is on standby while they wait to see if the Kansas tracks open back up. That's why he'll be boarding a bus next Thursday along with other members of Wichita Wins. Their mission is to persuade state legislators to pass a bill that would allow slot machines in Kansas race tracks. If the bill passes, group members say four racetracks in Kansas would open back up.
“We hope they swing the gavel and say pass,” Rick Loveall with Wichita Wins said.
John walker says he has high hopes the trip to Topeka will pay off. But if it doesn't and the bill fails; he and his family will be out of the racing business for good.
“We're done, it's too hard for us to try to take care of them when they're 2,000 miles away,” Walker said.