Mark Rizzo, Coloniel Wojciechowski Funeral Home
CasKars Off and Rolling
Funeral Industry Steward Turns Caskets Into Souped-Up Go-Karts

Teamsters Local 727 funeral director Mark Rizzo’s outside-the-box idea came from looking inside a box he’s quite familiar with – a casket.

The longtime steward, who has worked at family-run Coloniel Wojciechowski Funeral Home in Chicago for more than 20 years, began creating custom-made casket go-karts – or CasKars – in 2008, and he’s been enjoying the ride ever since.

How did you come up with the idea for casket go-karts?
“I was trying to think what we could do for PR for the funeral home, and I thought, ‘What if we had mini caskets to ride in?’”

And what about the name “CasKar”?
“My wife, Cathy, came up with the name because it sounds like NASCAR.

Do you build the CasKars, too?
“After I came up with the idea, I talked to my brother-in-law, Dwight, and we started messing around with the concept. We took measurements and drew up a prototype and got to work. We use Dwight’s garage as our manufacturing plant. It takes us about four weeks to build one because we can only work at night and on weekends since we have other jobs. They’re the real deal, though. All-steel frames, headlights, taillights, adjustable brake and gas pedals. We didn’t cut corners. They’re built to last.”

So, just how fast can these things go?
“They can get up to at least 25 mph. They’re really fun to drive.”

You named your company C.R.O.W. Enterprises. What does C.R.O.W. stand for?
“It’s an acronym for Caskets Rolling on Wheels. It’s also a play on the black crow you see on tombstones. We trademarked the name.”

Other than being fun to drive, what do people use the CasKars for?
“They’re great for promoting safe prom nights and other “don’t drink and drive” campaigns. They’re also a great way for funeral homes to advertise.”

“Myself and another funeral director friend have entered our CasKars in the Evergreen Park Fourth of July parade the last couple years. At first, we didn’t know how people would receive these or how people would react, but the response was overwhelming. Every time we stop, people swarm around us and take photos and video. I derive so much joy from driving it and seeing people’s reactions.”

What are your goals for this venture?
“I’d love to see CasKar racing. We could have a dozen funeral homes with CasKars get together for racing events every so often at different funeral homes around the city. We’d gather, sell tickets and concessions and race the CasKars, and all of the proceeds would go to the host funeral home’s charity of choice. I’m trying to put the ‘fun’ back in funeral in a light-hearted, charitable way.”

What are you taking away from your experience of running C.R.O.W. Enterprises?
“We’re not going to get rich on these, but that’s not our objective. It’s a hobby and it’s unique and it’s fun. That’s why we do it.”

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