Bo Stearns’ Track

12 Miles North of

Wichita, Kansas

Sunday Afternoon, August 7, 1932

 

Sig Haugdahl’s exhibition run in his rocket car at Bo Stearns’ Track – Sigurd W. Haugdahl collection 

 

 

Wichita Beacon

Wednesday, August 3, 1932 – page 8:

 

St. Louis Speed King Entered

In Big Auto Races Here Sunday

            Smiling Pete Alberts, speed ace from St. Louis, Missouri, is the latest of recognized throttle jammers who will toss caution over the rail when he faces one of the fastest fields of auto race stars ever assembled in this part of the country at the “Bo” Stearns Driving Club track on North Lawrence, U. S. Highway 81, Sunday, August 7.

            The “Show Me” state entrant has not only shown the flying wheels of his sixteen valve Rajo Special to his competitors in many major dirt track meets held so far this year over the petrol tours of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, but for the past seven years has consistently been regarded as a “top-money man” where ever he chose to compete.

Pete Alberts

Larry Sullivan photo

            Outstanding among his victories over other nationally known pilots are the defeats he handed the late Dutch Bauman of Indianapolis; Red Campbell of St. Louis; Ira Hall of Terra Haute, Ind.; Howdy Wilcox of Indianapolis; Speed Adams of Des Moines; Bill Cummings of Los Angeles; and others whose names are national bywords in the realm of high speed.

            Albert’s entry into the Wichita speed jamboree will mark his 1932 debut over southwest speed courses.  From the local speed trials, he will be to the Iowa State Fair auto races at Des Moines; the Minnesota State Fair auto speed clashes at St. Paul before starting for the hot bed of tracks that abound along the Pacific coast where late fall and winter racing will start within the next two months.

            Should the pudgy little St. Louis entry continue his present early season winning stride, the year of 1932 will see him well up towards the top rung of the year’s speed championship ascent.

            In the August 7 events over the Stearns track, Alberts will line up with the Southwest’s best drivers as well as a number of nationally known speed merchants.

 

 

 

Wichita Eagle

Thursday, August 4, 1932 – page 6:

 

Racing Notables to Perform Here

Famed Woman Driver Will Strut Stuff in Program Sunday

            Celebrities of the nation’s fastest race tracks, including such notables as Elfrieda Mais9, Sig Haugdahl, and Bo Huckman, will arrive in Wichita Thursday to be in readiness for the postponed auto races to be held on the Bo Stearns track on North Lawrence Sunday.

            Officials state that Wichita has been picked as the only city where these three race track celebrities will be featured together.  Any one is an exhibition attraction and a drawing card for large box office receipts and it is unusual for the trio to be booked on one race card, Mr. Swenson3 writes.

Elfrieda Mais

            Miss Elfrieda Mais holds the record as the world’s champion woman race driver.  Miss Mais will also put on exhibition driving on the track Sunday.

Haugdahl’s Rocket Car

            Sharing honors with Miss Mais9 will be Sig Haugdahl, internationally famous as a champion of the dirt track, who will give an exhibition of his rocket car, the only car of its kind in the world and this year’s sensation on race tracks.  This car was to have had its initial appearance on the Wichita track in June but the races were postponed because of rain.  Its appearance in Atlanta, Georgia July 4th was the sensation of the year, races declare.

            In addition to those stellar drawing cards will be scores of racers from both coasts.  Mr. Swenson3 writes he has been in touch with nationally famous speed men who are now on their way to Wichita for the race Sunday.

 

 

Wichita Eagle

Friday, August 5, 1932 – page 4:

 

Noted Driver to Perform Here

Swan Peterson, Illinois Daredevil, Will Compete on Sunday Program

Swan Peterson

Peterson family collection

            Wherever automobile race drivers are the topic of conversation, the name of Swan Peterson holds its share of the discussion.  Whenever automobiles are raced, the racing products the late Fred Duesenberg take their share of the prize money.  In the auto racing events the “Bo” Stearns track, Sunday, the names of Peterson and Duesenberg will be linked in what should prove one of the hardest combinations of car and driver to beat that has ever been entered in a competitive motor speed contest in this section of the country.

            Peterson, who hails from Joliet, Illinois6 a veteran of many hard fought speed duels during his 12-years in the sport, is generally acknowledged as one of the most consistent money winners in the game today.  Most of the little Joliet driver’s laurels have been piled up by his consistent placing in second and third positions over his dozen years experience at the wheel of a barking racing car.  His secondary honors hardly point to a lack of ability or daring on Peterson’s part, however, as he is always found at the race meets where the largest amounts of prize money is at state and consequently the fastest competition present.

 

 

Wichita Eagle

Sunday, August 7, 1932 – page 16:

 

Thrills by Score Looming in Auto Races Here Today

Famous ‘Rocket Car’ is Expected to Feature Program Stearns Track

            The sharp staccato of high speed racing motor, the long endless whine of the burning liquid gas and powder of the rocket car – innovation of the ingenious Sig Haugdahl – and the munching and crashing of boards that give way to the dare-deviltry of the movie hero, Boe Huckman, will reverberate out over Kansas plains to the far corners of the Southwest today when the first major automobile race meet ever held in this section will take place on the “Bo” Stearns race track on North Lawrence Highway 81.

Sig Haugdahl

            Cars from many sections and drivers of note from far and near will be on hand to compete in the automobile races and before the sun sets behind the big grandstand at the Stearns race track, new records will be hung up and new thrills and sensations furnished for the delectation of the thousands of speed fans who are expected to attend the Wichita races.

            According to all predictions of William Floto2 and his associates, the “piece de résistance” of the entire program will be the appearance of the mysterious wonder machine built in the shops of little Sig Haugdahl down in Daytona Beach, Florida where after three years experimenting, there was produced the first practical “rocket” machine ever turned out in any part of the world although the Germans are given credit for doing considerable pioneering in the “rocket” type of automobile and airplane.

Elfrieda Mais

            Sig Haugdahl in person, who for seven years held the undisputed world’s dirt track racing championship, will drive the Rocket sensation in today’s races and then after a practical demonstration, Haugdahl will declare that the much predicted trips across the ocean and up to the moon in unheard of time is a long way off.  However, the power rocket as it is known today will prove that hidden possibilities lie along this line of propulsion.

            “How they do it in the movies” will be demonstrated by Boe Huckman, young Texas daredevil and if the auto races and rocket car fail to produce spine tickling chills for every member of the audience, then Huckman will undertake to put the climax to the show by smashing a heavy built wooden wall while astride a motorcycle coming together at approximately 75 M.P.H.

            Elfrieda Mais, world’s champion woman auto race driver, will strengthen the adage, “What a man can do, a woman can do” when she broad slides the turns and rushes the straight-aways in an attempt to lower existing speed records established over half-mile treacherous dirt track courses and competes with of opposite sex in a special match race.

 

 

Wichita Beacon

Sunday, August 7, 1932 – page 7A:

 

Auto Racers Compete Here This Afternoon

            Highlights of the auto racing world will compete for cash prizes, bonuses, and trophies in Wichita’s inaugural big-league jamboree this afternoon at “Bo” Stearns track on North Lawrence Highway 12 miles north of Wichita.

            Sig Haugdahl, seven times world dirt track champion, cut space with his world’s sensational Rocket Car in a recent tryout over the local Driving Club track.

            Elfrieda Mais, world’s champion woman auto race driver will attempt to shatter time marks over the local course in addition to competing in a special match race.

Bill Carroll

            Bill Carroll of Lewis, Kansas, auto race pilot, will vie for honors with the country’s best speed men in the local events.

            Mack McAnally will be Wichita’s best bid in taking a share of honors amongst drivers from far and near.

            H. H. Norris of Houston, Texas is but one of many Texans who will attempt to best Father Time in the local events.

            “Wild” Pat Cunningham is seriously considered among those who are looked upon to carry away a lion’s share of the spoils in the local events.

 

 

Wichita Eagle

Monday, August 8, 1932 – page 8:

 

Two Accidents Feature Auto Race Program

Drivers Escape Injury in Speed Events Here

Cars Are Damaged Slightly

Cunningham Stars

            Enlivened by two spills in which the drivers escaped injury, the first auto racing program of the season was staged at the Stearns’ track Sunday before a crowd estimated at the 3,000 mark.

            Both mishaps occurred in the second race.  Bing Steward and Murray Earl were the drivers were the drivers, their cars skidding off the track several minutes apart.  Stewart’s car was the most severely damaged of the two.

            There were three exhibitions which won considerable favorable comments.  Sig Haugdahl’s rocket car raced around one lap in 33.2 seconds but ran out of rockets while on the second lap.

            Elfrieda Mais, widely known feminine driver, was forced to borrow a car, the Green Special, when her own machine failed to arrive and she negotiated one lap in 33.2 seconds.

            Boe Huckman completed the exhibition program by hurling his motorcycle through a board wall.  It was a spectacular stunt and the movie daredevil received a big hand.

 

 

Wichita Beacon

Monday, August 8, 1932 – page 6:

 

Big Crowd Thrilled by Speed Races at Stearns Track

            Pat Cunningham, young veteran race driver of Otis, Kansas who has risen to the state championship, still has those … (two unreadable words) … following the big auto races at the Stearns track Sunday afternoon.

            Cunningham, driving a Kerbs Special1, flashed around the half-mile track ten laps in the front position to cop honors in the Southwestern Derby Oil Sweepstakes in the fast time of 2:44.0.

            The little fellow earned the pole position and was quickly away to lead the field from the outset.  Ted Davis of Junction City, Kansas, driving a Milliken Special, was in second place while Verne Ellis of Kansas City, Missouri took third money.

            More than 2,500 people witnessed the events which thrilled the big crowd throughout the afternoon.

            Patrons of auto racing are wondering today how two drivers miraculously escaped death when they locked wheels in the fourth event of the afternoon on the dangerous south turn.  However, neither drivers nor cars were injured and both men continued racing.

            Two drivers went over the fence during the afternoon with Murray Earl of Newton, Kansas hurling the north fence in the second event and Bing Steward jumping the wall on the far strait in the first event of the day.

            The lengthy program included an exhibition of the famous rocket car of Sig Haugdahl.

            Elfrieda Mais, champion woman race driver, covered the half-mile in 33.2 seconds which was almost equal to the best time made by the men.  Miss Mais9 was driving a car she had never before and following the exhibition, she expressed confidence that she could have clipped at least two seconds from her time had she been more familiar with the car.

            Bo Huckman, Hollywood stunt daredevil, gave the crowd one of their biggest thrills when he crashed through a board wall at a speed of 75 M.P.H. on his specially constructed motorcycle.  It was one of the most daring stunts witnessed here and Huckman received a big hand.

Race results:

Event

Place

Driver

Car

Engine

Time

Pat Cunningham

 

Verne Ellis

 

Louis Irwin

 

Murray Earl

 

Roy Lake

Roy Eaton collection

 

Charles Pauley

 

Rajo Jack

 

Art Martinson

Leroy Byers photo

Time Trials:

tie - 1

Ted Davis

Milliken Special  #M33

Chevrolet

32.2

 1 lap

tie - 1

Verne Ellis

Ellis Special  #33

Schofield

32.2

 

tie - 1

Pat Cunningham

Kerbs Special  #K1

Frontenac

32.2

 

4

Louis Irwin

Lawhon Special  #X-3

Frontenac

32.3

 

tie - 5

Murray Earl

 

Frontenac

32.6

 

tie - 5

Harley Wells

FG

 

32.6

 

tie – 7

Bill Weber

 

Schofield

32.8

 

tie – 7

J. E. White4

 

Frontenac

32.8

 

9

Roy Lake

Green Special

 

33.0

 

10

Jack Kannapel7

 

Frontenac

33.1

 

tie – 11

H. H. Morris

 

Chevrolet

33.2

 

tie – 11

Rea Bray

 

Rajo

33.2

 

13

Charles Pauley5

Pauley Special

Chevrolet

33.3

 

14

Art Martinson

Miller Special

Miller

33.4

 

tie - 15

Rajo Jack8

Miller Special

Miller

33.8

 

tie - 15

          Lambertz

 

Chevrolet

33.8

 

tie - 17

H. Hunter

 

Rajo

34.0

 

tie – 17

Mack McAnally

 

Chrysler

34.0

 

19

             Baxlle

M & B Motors Special

 

34.1

 

tie - 20

F. E. Larson

 

Rajo

34.4

 

tie - 20

           Gibbs

 

Frontenac

34.4

 

tie – 22

Bing Stewart

 

 

NT

 

tie - 22

M. Parkinson

Gilmore Special

 

NT

 

tie - 22

W. Kessler

 

 

NT

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Heat:

1

Pat Cunningham

Kerbs Special  #K1

Frontenac

2:44.0

 5 laps

2

Ted Davis

Milliken Special  #M-33

Chevrolet

 

 

3

Verne Ellis

Ellis Special  #33

Scofield

 

 

 

Charles Pauley

Pauley Special #14

Chevrolet

DNF

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Heat:

1

J. E. White

 

Frontenac

3:48.2

 7 laps

2

Louis Irwin

Lawhon Special #X-3

Frontenac

 

 

3

Harley Wells

FG

 

 

 

 

Murray Earl

 

Frontenac

DNF

 

 

Bing Stewart

 

 

DNF

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third Heat:

1

Rea Bray

 

Rajo

 

 

2

H. H. Morris

 

Chevrolet

 

 

3

Jack Kannapel7

 

Frontenac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consolation:

1

M. Parkinson

Gilmore Special

 

1:48.8

 3 laps

2

W. Kessler

 

 

 

 

3

Roy Lake

Green Special

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feature:

1

Pat Cunningham

Kerbs Special #K1

Frontenac

5:32.2

10 laps

2

Ted Davis

Milliken Special #M-33

Chevrolet

 

 

3

Louis Irwin

Lawhon Special #X3

Frontenac

 

 

 

 

Some of the Drivers Who Participated In the Races on This Day:

Harley Wells

Pat Cunningham

"Rajo" Jack

Charles Pauley

Louis Irwin

Verne Ellis

 

Ted Davis

Murray Earl

H. H. Morris

Rea Bray

Mack McAnally

Art Martinson

Jack Kannapel

 

 

1 The Kerbs Special was owned by Leonard E. Kerbs (1895-1960) of Otis, Kansas.

 

2 William Floto had been an agent and promoter for Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show of Denver, Colorado and the Miller Brothers’ 101 Ranch Wild West Show of Lamont, Oklahoma before getting into auto racing promotion.

 

3 Aut Swenson went on to own and promote Aut Swenson’s Thrillcade auto thrill shows at state fairs and other venues.

 

4 This was probably Jim White of Herington, Kansas who drove the #28 Frontenac.

 

5 Charles Leroy Pauley (1912-1010) of Herington, Kansas first became interested in auto racing while watching drivers such as John Gerber and Dad Harrier race at the Abilene, Kansas and at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas.  When his uncle, Henry Pauley (1897-1962), built a car for the teenaged Charles to drive, he based it on the #15 bobtail that John Gerber had so much success with.

     The light blue Pauley #14 utilized a 4-cylinder Chevrolet engine fitted with an Oldsmobile head.

     When Charles Pauley started racing in 1932, he wore a leather helmet.  Later on, he switched to a football helmet.

     After a few years racing the #14 Chevrolet, Henry Pauley purchased the used but faster #28 Frontenac from Jim White of Herington, Kansas and Charles drove that car until he gave up racing at the end of the 1934 season to get married.

     Besides racing at Bo Stearns’ Track, the Pauley’s raced at other Midwestern race tracks including Abilene, Kansas; Belleville, Kansas; Hutchinson, Kansas; Winfield, Kansas; Newton, Kansas; Concordia, Kansas; Topeka, Kansas; Anthony, Kansas; and St. Joseph, Missouri.

 

6 Swan Peterson resided at Galesburg, Illinois and later at Rio, Illinois but he never resided at Joliet, Illinois.

 

7 Charles Daniel “Jack” Kannapel (1908-2002) is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Huntington County, Indiana where he had resided since the 1940s.

 

8 “Rajo Jack” was an alias of Dewey Gaston (1905-1956) from Tyler, Texas who is buried in Lincoln Cemetery at Carson, California.

 

9 Despite appearing under the name “Miss Elfrieda Mais”, Elfrieda was the wife of well-known driver Johnny Mais.  Elfrieda was killed at Birmingham, Alabama in 1934 when a stunt crash through a burning wall, complete with dynamite, went wrong and her car crashed into a parked road-grader.

 

 

 

  

 

Thank you to Jeff Adams

 

 

 

Return to the Bo Stearns’ Track home page

 

Harry H. Norris