Bruce Swihart, 67, has announced his retirement as CEO from Fonner Park effective July 31, 2019. Swihart has been employed at Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb., for 43 years.
His father Al Swihart was the Fonner general manager from 1956 until his death in 1983. Bruce also worked as assistant general manager under longtime Fonner GM, Hugh Miner Jr.
A native of Grand Island, Swihart's commitment to the racing operations, the Hall County Fair and his hometown, has been steadfast and sincere.
In his tenure he has seen the facility grow well beyond horse racing. Fonner Park has evolved into a campus of a year-round keno facility, a 6,000-seat entertainment arena, and an array of giant livestock and show buildings that are home to the Nebraska State Fair and numerous other events throughout the year. Bruce was known for being even-keeled, extremely organized and a meticulous bookkeeper.
Swihart said, “You're only as good as the people surrounding you and I've had great people around me for decades.”
Chris Kotulak, 57, has been named as incoming CEO. Kotulak, an Omaha native, called races at Fonner Park from 1986-'95 and is known throughout the national horse racing industry as a track announcer and a popular television analyst for TVG. He was named Fonner Park Chief Operating Officer in July of 2018.
“Bruce Swihart has been as terrific a boss to me in the last ten months, just as he was in the first ten years when I worked with him beginning in 1986,” says Kotulak. “Moving forward, I'm fortunate to have an outstanding staff to work with, supportive board members and a community of horse racing fans who love Fonner Park.”
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