In 1993, Brent Muller, then an officer of the Brillion Police Department realized there was a need for some type of program that any student could participate in. Officer Muller saw that most programs required the student have a special ability such as physical, musical, or artistic etc. Officer Muller wanted to develop a program that allowed younger people the opportunity to get to know police officers on a one to one basis instead of over a ticket book. Most young people had already said "no to drugs" and they were tired of hearing it. They want to know what they could say "Yes" to.
Officer Muller got in contact with the Brillion Vocational School instructor Gregg Grudem and discussed building a drag car with the help from students at the local high school. This vehicle was to be used to race against kids in their own cars at Wisconsin International Raceway.
Officer Muller then got in contact with Roger VanDaalwyck, owner of Wisconsin International Raceway, and explained his idea. Wanting to be involved in safe activities for youth, Roger set up Special "High School Drag Nights" throughout the summer. During each of the eight High School Drag Nights the kids compete against each other for prizes and points. They also sign up to "grudge race" against the cop of their choice. All cars must pass a strict safety inspection, all drivers must have helmets and seat belts, and an ambulance crew is on duty at all times. In 1993 Officer Muller had his first race with great success. The local media picked up on the story and gave the program rave reviews and the students involved were thrilled about the new opportunity. The program popularity has exploded since that day.
Between August 1993 and May 1994 Beat the Heat was recognized by many organizations for its creativity and achievement. Officer Muller received the Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Chiefs Association, Distinguished Service Award from Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, An Accommodation of Meritorious Service Award from the Brillion City Council, and a Certification of Appreciation from Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial Inc.
Within the next few years Beat the Heat began to spread throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Today, Law Enforcement agencies involved in Beat the Heat include Brillion, Clintonville, Oneida, Seymour, Neenah, Waupaca County, Grand Chute, Freedom, Denmark, Winneconne, Green Bay, City of Waupaca and New London. Rawhide Boys Ranch has formed a partnership with Waupaca County in their Beat the Heat chapter. Today there are 150 Beat the Heat chapters in 27 states.
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