Hulberg returns to IMCA Super Nationals
If any of the top local drivers from Nodak Speedway, such as Adam Goff or Kyler Satran, picks up a win at the IMCA Super Nationals this week in Boone, Iowa, a familiar face will be among the first to congratulate them in victory lane. Nick Hulberg, a longtime announcer at Nodak Speedway and for Darn TV will be joining IMCA TV’s broadcast team for the second straight year.
“Basically, I will be the guy that gets the opportunity to talk to the winning drivers as soon as they get out of the race car,” said Hulberg.
Hulberg will also spend time in pit row before the races conducting all-access interviews and offering fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse at an event often referred to as the “Super Bowl” of dirt track racing.
“I want to allow fans wherever they may be across the world watching this to learn more about the drivers,” said Hulberg. “Bringing the broadcast some extra meat and potatoes.”
It all started with a babysitter.
When Hulberg was growing up, the Hulberg family had a babysitter who loved attending the Nodak Speedway at the state fairgrounds and she would take the Hulberg children along with her every Sunday night.
“It’s something that stuck with me from the first time we ever went to this last Sunday,” said Hulberg. “I get the same feeling driving into the races from the farm. I just want to queue up Motley Crew, roll the windows down and get ready for that high intensity.”
An avid hockey player growing up Hulberg would go out in the yard with a tennis ball and a hockey stick for hours, daydreaming about Sunday nights and going to the races, developing a passion from the first night he went.
A pair of reconstructive hip surgeries at twelve years-old put him on the sidelines for several years, and it was there he found his voice for broadcasting.
“I started doing fake play-by-play on the bench for Minot High School’s junior varsity hockey team,” said Hulberg. “One thing led to another, and I quickly realized that sports broadcasting was something I wanted to do.”
Hulberg got started in motorsports through a teammate of his who was also a top motocross racer named Justin Fisk. Fisk asked Hulberg during high school hockey if he would announce for the sport and he enthusiastically agreed.
Hulberg got his professional break when his brother became President and General Manager for the Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League. While it afforded him the opportunity, Hulberg knew his talent and work ethic kept him in the role, and he adopted the philosophy that he would work harder than anyone else in the industry, often times studying at nausea how others were handling delivery and beginning to understand how important research was to being a successful broadcaster.
“I would see how broadcasters, asking a million questions like a sponge, created their delivery,” said Hulberg. “I’m still that way today.”
Broadcasting resembles an iceberg, where a viewer only sees about five to ten percent of the work that goes into a broadcast, but the rest of the work is critical for success. It is something Hulberg recognized early in his career, and it has carried with him ever since, priding himself on the amount of work he puts into his pre-race notes.
“Just image going into a debate without having any of your homework done,” said Hulberg. “How hard would that debate be? It’s no different with a broadcast, where if you’re going to be on the air talking for three straight hours, you sure as hell better have some sort of knowledge of what’s going on.”
Both his talent and work ethic caught the eye of his close friend Brandon Beeter, who owns and operates Darn TV, an online streaming platform for dirt track racing across North Dakota and Saskatchewan. The two partnered in 2015 on its launch.
It is his work for Darn TV that caught the eye of the IMCA, and he has helped out as a crewmember on their Dakota Classic Modified Tour coverage and now at the IMCA Super Nationals.
Beeter spoke to the Minot Daily News about what his friend brings to the broadcasts.
“Even if it isn’t the best show, he’s able to paint the picture of it being the best show he’s ever seen,” said Beeter. “And race fans really react to that.”
“It means the world because he gets to represent not only himself, not only Minot, North Dakota, but Nodak Speedway and Darn TV. There’s no other representation down there,” said Beeter. “So having Nick down there as the face, he does such a good job.”
Beeter hopes that IMCA can build a bigger role for Hulberg in the future, but nonetheless, he is pleased to see him in the role he currently has.
“Nick has an ability to talk to people and approach people in a way that they will open up to him and have a great conversation with him that people want to listen to,” said Beeter.
When he’s not announcing dirt track racing, Hulberg can be found throughout the region announcing high school sports for PSP Network, a company he founded.
“I have such a passion for sports,” said Hulberg. “I enjoy it so much, but I also want to deliver it at the highest level I possibly can and have a product that people can sit back and enjoy.”