We regret to report the passing on Monday, February 18 of Dave Deppe, 80, of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Mr. Deppe was the 1994 Grand National Two Wheel Drive champion, the president of Deppe Enterprises, and a past member of the NTPA and World Pulling International boards.
Mr. Deppe served in the Air National Guard for four years and the Baraboo Fire Department for more than 20, including a period as the department's captain.
A lifelong fan of racing and classic cars, he was drawn into the sport in the late 1980s by his son Tim. Together, they campaigned the "Fast Freight" 1957 Chevrolet pickup for a couple of seasons before Mr. Deppe purchased Chris Holdorf's "Aerogator" Ford Aerostar van. The renamed "Bad Badger" earned Mr. Deppe his first Grand National victory close to home at Tomah's Budweiser Dairyland Nationals in 1990. The following year, he finished seventh in the GN standings, then rose to third in 1992 on the strength of five GN victories and won the Enderle Pull-Off. After taking fourth in 1993, he captured two wins and the 1994 title by 17 points.
Mr. Deppe pulled the popular "Badger" in regular competition for three more seasons, won a second Enderle in 1995, and competed at the European Superpull in 1997. He then moved on to the "Hard Runner" in 1998 and pulled the Ford pickup through 2001. In 2014, he returned to the scene of his signature win and competed with a restored "Bad Badger" in Tomah's Saturday night session. There, he was joined in the lineup by his grandson Willie, who drove Tim's "Inches Matter."
Beginning in 1990, Mr. Deppe represented the Wisconsin Tractor Pullers Association as a delegate to the NTPA. He also served on the WPI Executive Board from 1992 to 1995. For many years, he helmed Deppe Enterprises, the diversified family-owned transit company started by his grandfather in 1914.
He is survived by Jan, his wife of 36 years; children Tim (Tracy) Deppe and Teri Smith; stepchildren Teri (Lisa) Sonsalla and Sheri (Kip) Lussenden; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Mr. Deppe's full obituary may be found here.
The WPI/NTPA organization mourns with the Deppe family.