Gus Traeder was one of those special men who had the ability to look at a situation and make the right move.
Born on a farm in Rome, WI, Traeder went to work for Montgomery Ward in 1947 and was offered the job as manager of the Montgomery Ward Farm Store at 927 Maine in Quincy Illinois when he was only 24 years old. Within two years, the business became the number one farm store in the nation. Gus Traeder was heavily involved with fast pitch softball and coached numerous teams in the area during the early 1950s. It was, however, in 1957, through a store promotion that Gus Traeder was introduced to the go-kart. His life changed forever.
When Montgomery Ward decided that the karts didn't fit in with its other products, Traeder built TNT Kartways to sell and race the small vehicles. After an altercation with a local track official during a race, Gus decided to open his own track. He found property in West Quincy Missouri, designed the layout, had the track paved and turned the site into a Mecca for go karting. A short six years later ABC Wide World of Sports televised the National Championships from TNT’s West Quincy site introducing kart racing to a national audience.
The Grand Prix of Karting, which was started by Traeder as a unique activity for the Dogwood Festival, ran for 30 years. Gus put Quincy on the karting map, by creating the now famous Miller Gran Prix Karting Classic in Quincy's South Park in the early 1970's. Years later, Traeder took karting to the streets of Quincy's main street area with the Uptown Karting Classic.
Gus Traeder loved his Blue Devil basketball and as a tireless worker and 30 year supporter of the Quincy Blue Devil program, Traeder put forth many man hours with various groups on behalf of the program, including the Thanksgiving Holiday Tournament committee. Blue Devil basketball fans benefited from Traeder's generosity in the late 1970's when he donated the scoreboard which still decorates the gym's south wall. It was, in its day, one of the most high tech scoreboards in use in the state of Illinois.
Traeder is a member of the Racing Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL and is the inaugural member of the Vintage Kart Racing Hall of Fame. Traeder is also a member of the Quincy High Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Quincy Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2013.
Gus Traeder was an avid sportsman, loved his family, loved golf, and loved life. He would have been 91 on the 9th of August 2016.