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Medlen Park Dedication
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The memorial to the late Eric Medlen stands in the middle of this Bridle Ridge park. Medlens number 4 is still worn by some drivers to honor his memory. The memorial also displays 33 engraved capstones to signify Medlens age, 33 years old, when he died. - photo by RICHARD PALOMA/The Leader

Bright sunny skies greeted the huge gathering on Monday, July 30, when a crowd of over 300 citizens, relatives, friends, dignitaries and many members of the John Force racing team gathered at Eric Medlen Park for the park’s official dedication.

The park is at Greger Street and Churchill Downs in Oakdale. Medlen, a famed National Hot Rod Association driver who grew up in Oakdale, died of head injuries sustained in a funny car test session in 2007.

Known for a quick smile and a zest for life, Medlen also was involved in the rodeo arena before jumping into racing. He was a 1991 Oakdale High graduate and former District 5 Rodeo star.

The development and dedication of the park monument in his honor was a fitting tribute, said his mom, Mimi.

“Eric loved kids so much, which is why the park is dedicated to the children of Oakdale,” she explained. “Eric made an impression on everyone he met.”

That fact was obvious in the turnout for the Monday morning dedication, which drew participants from both rodeo and racing worlds, along with the community in general.