SportsIndy 500


Generational legacy, one family works for IMS for more than 150+ years combined

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Posted at 7:21 PM, May 23, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — It's no secret, there's a lot of history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but one family has rooted their own history at turn one on the track.

It's four generations of hard work and dedication to keep the peace for all the spectators.

It's history, that is etched in the hearts of the Bridgewater family.

The tradition started in the early 50s.

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Joe Bridgewater decided to get a job at IMS.

"Dad started out here selling newspapers," Paul Bridgewater said.

From there Joe assumed his post as a yellow shirt on turn one, section E, inside the track.

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Yellow shirts, essentially help keep the peace for the spectators.

They help people with whatever they need, be directions or handling rowdy race fans.

"If the fans aren't happy we aren't doing our job," Paul said. "We're what represents the track.

Paul Bridgewater shared an early memory he says his dad, Joe, shared with him about his early days at the track.

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The Bridgewater family has since kept the long standing tradition of being track workers for generations.

Four generations to be exact.

"My uncle and my dad had worked out here, myself, my husband, my sisters, now my daughter is a 4th generation," Brandi Wright said.

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Combined the family has put in more than 150 years of service at IMS.

"My grandparents married for 67 years and had 6 boys, 14 grandchildren, 29 great grand children, and 3 great great grandchildren. The children, grandchildren, and now a great grandchild is working out there now," Jill Bridgewater said.

Though Joe has passed, the legacy has continued.

This year, the fourth generation has started at the track.

It's tradition the family says they don't plan on slowing down soon.

"My granddaughter told me she wanted to work with me, okay here I am. Her brother is 14, he also said he wants to work with me. okay so I am out here til at least 48 years, well if i am going to do 48 years I might as well do 50," Paul said.

IMS is a place that the Bridgewaters say feels like a home away from home.

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"Walking up those stairs and sitting down in those seats. I feel my grandpa every time I walk up those seats," Jill said. "I hear his laughter, I hear his sneeze. That one section I hear him, I hear everybody say Joe Bridgewater how are you."

The reason the Bridgewater's say they all do it? The fans.

IMS is a place the Bridgewater's grew up, where they raised their kids, and where their grand kids are being raised.

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A place, for generations to come, that will be a special place for the Bridgewater's.