After tough-fought battle with lung cancer, Dick Wanderscheid peacefully finished the human race, and is now enjoying the greatest heavenly victory celebration of them all.
Dick crossed the finish line on Friday, Sept. 26, with his family at his side.
He was the patriarch of the family who operate Country Cat and that has supported the racing success of Team Arctic’s four-time World Champion, P.J. Wanderscheid.
For sure this is sad news for the Wanderscheid family, and my heart goes out to them. But talking with P.J. about it yesterday, it’s clear that they are greatly comforted by faith and relief.
Here are a few words that P.J. shared:
Dad always raced Arctic Cat though his racing years in the early 70’s. He raced cross-country and oval back in the day.
Despite that, he was the major hold up in me getting stated racing, saying ‘I don’t want you to be dumb like me and race!'” (Laughs.) We finally wore him down and I started racing back in 1999.
Dad came to Eagle River every year I was there except for the first year. He truly loved going and was behind us all the way, no matter what we did.
A little funny thing about the dealership: It first opened in dad’s workshop. He let us boys use his shop, and later expanded into the attached barn.
He was the one that originally called Arctic Cat (via the sales rep Bob Aasen) about the ad that ran in a newspaper soliciting potential dealers. From that point on is history.
When the dealership agreement was signed the dealership name was Centre Arctic Cat. Dad thought it should be something different and thought Country Cat would be neat because it was a Cat dealer in the country. Funny how things work out sometimes.
We are all relieved that Dad passed peacefully at home with us sounding him. Friday evening, as we were praying over him, his breathing became shallower and shallower. He took his last breath just as we were finishing our prayer.
I’m confident he made it to the place that we all want to be someday.
– P.J. Wanderscheid
I didn’t know Dick Wanderscheid, but I know his sons well enough to say that Dick must have enjoyed tremendous pride in the legacy of the family name.
Last year, on the cusp of the racing season and with Dick battling stage 4 lung cancer, P.J. and his brothers Dave and Mark made the decision to pause their racing efforts to be with their dad. That spoke volumes about their family values.
Yesterday, I asked P.J. what his plans are for the coming season.
“We will be racing again this year. I sat beside dad after he died and told him I will go and win Eagle River for him. I know that’s what he wanted us to do.”
Rest in Peace, Dick Wandersheid.
Dick Wanderscheid (middle), racing his Arctic Cat EXT.
Dick Wanderscheid, middle.
The Wandersheid family, with Dick on the left, shown at Eagle River in 2003.
The Wandersheid family poses together after P.J.’s fourth World Championship victory, at Eagle River in 2011.