On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame announced its list of inductees for 2022.
Mid-West’s Ken Achs was among the list of honorees to be inducted, as a Builder in the Sport of Drag Racing, for his contributions to the sport. Other 2022 inductees are Brian Shalovelo (softball), Mark Loehndorf (softball, football, wrestling), David Wassill (water skiing), Ron Friesen (diving), Tim Kroeker (baseball), Michael Linklater (basketball), Natalie Lukiw (volleyball), Cory Mantyka (football) as well as the University of Saskatchewan Huskies’ 2005 track and field teams and the Saskatoon Hilltops as the sports organization of the year.
The 2022 Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held in Saskatoon on November 5th.
Ken Achs- Builder in the Sport of Drag Racing
As a builder in the sport of drag racing, Ken’s Achs’ interest in that sport began as a teenager in Saskatoon in the late 1950s with his membership in the Draggins Rod and Custom Club. By the 1960s he was enmeshed in the sport of drag racing in Alberta at a time when hitting the 200 mile-per-hour mark in the quarter-mile was just being broken. He first raced a modified 1940 Ford and then built and raced a C/gas dragster in the mid-1960s, the latter being the first car to go down Southwinds Dragway in Saskatoon (now Saskatchewan International Raceway, which time would eventually crown as the oldest and longest running dragstrip in Western Canada.
In 1967 Ken raised the bar again by racing the first Top Fuel dragster in Saskatoon. At a time when danger in the sport of drag racing was not for the faint of heart, his quest for speed and his skilled driving resulted in Ken piloting his nitromethane-fueled Top Fuel dragster to an elite class, becoming one of the first dragsters to go over 200 mph in Canada.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ken was the only driver in Canada to hold both a Top Fuel and Funny Car licenses issued by the California-based NHRA, the premier sanctioning body in competitive drag racing in the world. Ken was a crowd-favorite when he raced in Saskatoon and inspired fellow automotive enthusiasts to become drag racers themselves.
Ken also garnered much success when he travelled along the western-coast of the United States to the likes of Seattle, Washington and Long Beach, California to race against and become life-long friends with the very best Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers in the world.
In recognition of his outstanding talent in the sport, Ken was inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in Toronto as a driver in 2002 where his fully restored Top Fuel dragster was on permanent display until it was loaned for exhibit at the newly formed Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Montréal when Ken was inducted in 2016.
Ken’s dedication to drag racing and the automotive industry, led to him owning and operating Saskatoon’s first speed shop on Broadway during the 1960s and 70s.
Ken’s keen competitive spirit and success in the sport of drag racing translated well not only to his automotive related business interests which continue as an important part of his business, but to his entire Mid-West Group, operating for more than 60 years, which focuses primarily on real estate development and leasing in Canada and the United States, where he has been recognized with numerous awards and tributes for outstanding performance and leadership in business. Ken credits life lessons learned through sports and drag racing at the beginning of his business career for his overall achievements.