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Like everybody who heard the news, I was stunned today (Friday) when a stranger walked up to me at the grocery store and broke the news that my friend Dark Star had passed away. I couldn’t believe it. Quickly I was already recalling my most recent conversation with Dark from just a few weeks ago…before, during and after he was a guest of Eric Nelson and mine on Minnesota Score Radio in early May (click here to listen to that final radio appearance).
I first met Dark (his real name was George Chapple) back in the mid to late 80’s when I hosted a half hour TV special from what was then called Canterbury Downs. Dark came on and co-hosted with me as the resident track expert, filling in viewers (and the host) on all the intricacies of horse racing and everything you possibly could want to know about Canterbury Downs and the sport of kings.
Almost a quarter century later Dark still remembered the day that the 27 year old kid hosted that TV show with him and was even able to recount much of the events of that day. Through the years he was always a friendly face whenever I’d see him in the press box at various sporting events or in the studios at WCCO-AM where I’ve been a regular guest on Eric Nelson’s show.
He was the voice on late night radio on WCCO-AM for many years before returning to spend the last couple years at his favorite place…his home away from home, Canterbury Park.
Dark loved life and lived it to the fullest. A friend, colleague and someone that always had both entertaining and kind words…Dark, you will be missed my friend.
Dark Star was 66 years old