Dustyn Stortzum, age 24, has been named the new track announcer to begin the 2023 Thoroughbred racing season at Fonner Park.
Stortzum, who lives in Silver Creek, Neb., replaces Grand Island native Steve Anderson, who called races for 19 years at Fonner Park but passed away in 2022 after a battle with cancer.
Dustyn’s father and uncle were both jockeys early in their lives and currently work in the Nebraska Thoroughbred racing industry. His mother and several extended family members have also been involved in the Nebraska Thoroughbred racing.
Dustyn has an Associates Degree in Radio/Television Broadcasting from Northeast Community College; while there he won the collegiate division of the 2018 Nebraska Broadcasters Association Pinnacle Awards. In 2020 he received a Gold Award in the College Student TV division of “Best Live Sports Event.” He is currently a semester away from graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Media and Communications.
Dustyn has had only one racecall broadcasted. When at Fonner Park in April 2022, interim announcer Gary Schaff allowed him the memorable opportunity. Prior to then, he had been working with Steve Anderson to learn about racecalling. Dustyn has been refining his skills with the help of fellow announcers and broadcasters, Bobby Neuman, Larry Collmus, former Fonner Park announcer Chris Kotulak (now Fonner Park CEO) and others.
“Dustyn has a solid foundation in broadcasting for his age and his resume of work has impressed me,” said Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak. “Hugh Miner Jr. hired me in 1986 without me having called races anywhere. He he trusted me with a variety of responsibilities which helped through my career. I believe in Dustyn just the same and am delighted to give him a similar opportunity.”
“I would like to thank my mentors, my parents and my sister for supporting me through all the ups and downs in my early broadcasting career. Without their support, I wouldn’t be in this position today,” said Stortzum. “I’m ready to have some fun at Fon.”