Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Auto Race was Popular, 1922

The Fairgrounds Racetrack in Frederick.
Fairgrounds Racetrack Was Popular Venue
In the early decades of Tillman County, a racetrack was located at the fairgrounds in southwest Frederick in the general area where Bomber Bowl is now located. In the era when automobiles were a modern invention, the public had a fascination even then with speed, performance, and potential danger.
The following article from 1922 captures both the excitement and danger involved with automobile races of the time.
From The Frederick Leader, Thursday, September 14, 1922

Woodhouse Wins 15-Mile Automobile Race
Willis in Dodge Gets First Money in 5-Mile Contest
Fred N. Woodhouse, driving a Ford, was the scintillating luminary in the main racing event at the fairground racetrack yesterday, the fifteen-mile motor car speed contest, winning over his opponent by a second: time, 20:10.
The purse for this event was $223, of which Woodhouse was awarded $--.71. (could not make out this amount from the clipping).
W.C. Brooks in a Chevrolet, the runner-up, pulled down $71.20.
L.L. Majors, piloting a Hudson, was awarded third money, $42.75.
The race, while without any startling features, was a brilliant affair and greatly delighted the grandstand spectators, the Chevrolet crowding the Henry every inch of the long drive of thirty half-mile laps.
There were seven entries in this race.
Woodhouse, five minutes before the start, appeared to be out of it, having snapped the steering gear of his car off short at the axle in the preceding five-mile race. No one was more surprised than the pilot when his mechanic effected a complete repair job in the time that the motorists were entertaining the enthused throng between the races and a cheer went up when the Ford was able to line up with the others in the main event.
Woodhouse is well known to the sporting fraternity here, as his home is in Lawton, and it will be remembered that he was the unfortunate feature in a thrilling accident that occurred during the automobile races at the Tillman county fair last year when a car driven by a Denver pilot crashed into the one Woodhouse was driving, at the last turn. Woodhouse was thrown fifteen feet up in the air, falling in such a manner that his chest struck the steering apparatus of his car. He was believed to be dead when hauled away in an ambulance. He was in a hospital for several weeks before his final recovery, and had the grit to again enter the racing game, which he has followed for about eight years.
H.J. Willis won the five-mile race yesterday, driving a Dodge car: time, 7:27. The total purse for this event was $95, Willis being awarded $37. Sam Jewell, piloting a Chevrolet, was second, pulling down $--.75 (?). Ovid Blackwood, driving a Dodge, won third money, $14.25. The race was without features. There were six entries.

Not all of the automobile excitement was on the racetrack. While fairgoers were watching the race or visiting fair exhibits, a thief took a car from the parking lot.
Immediately below the above-referenced article, the September 14, 1922, Frederick Leader featured the following notice:

Ford Car Stolen from Fairgrounds
A five-passenger Ford touring car belonging to Lee Patrick, east of Frederick, was stolen from its place at the fairgrounds, Wednesday.

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