Known for helping to rebuild Polaris racing program
Bill Rader, a long-time racing coordinator for Polaris’ snowmobile race program, died Feb. 20 at the age of 54 after a courageous battle with cancer, Polaris reported. Rader is survived by his wife, Tammy, and daughter, Dana.
Rader grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and worked in mines while serving as a technical inspector for the USSA snowmobile racing circuit. He was operating an industrial supply company in the early 1990s when Tom Rager Sr., currently Polaris’ racing director, asked Rader to work for him, coordinating the Ski-Doo racing program. When Rager joined Polaris as racing manager in August 2000, he immediately hired Rader as racing coordinator. The two then led the rebuilding of the Polaris racing program.
“Billy took care of the ‘B Team’ programs, assisted me with outside sponsorships, and he dealt heavily with the ISR [the racing sanctioning body],” Rager said.
Rager, a close friend of Rader’s for more than 20 years, remembers his friend and colleague fondly.
“He was extremely well-liked and everyone in the industry knows how instrumental he was in rebuilding this Polaris program,” Rager said of Rader. “His specialty was working with young talent, the father-son race teams, nurturing them to get them to the next level. He worked with people like [Pro racers] TJ Gulla and D.J. Eckstrom and helped them as they rose through the program.”