The Boot Hill 10 was a race to remember for all who attended, as 43 specimens of the finest horsepower from all over the Fort Worth area contested for the winner’s cup and bragging rights at the Bent Spur Saloon to go along with the winner’s purse, an eye-popping $8.56 plus two.
The contestants in this no-holds-barred shootout found themselves faced with all manner of obstacles to victory. A wayward sunbonnet spooked “Old Red” caused Kid Kahne to be thrown violently in the early going. D.J. Jarrett and Ken “One Thumb” Schrader looked to be the early leaders until an unfortunate incident with a prickly pear sent them packing.
The first circuit past the general store created a bottleneck on Main Street. Sally Smith fainted on the schoolhouse steps as her hero, Junior Earnhardt, rode past on “Bud,” side-by-side with his old rival, Babyface Gordon on “Paint.” The local favorites, the Labonte Brothers, were fiercely contesting the lead when Terry’s mount “Corn Flake” threw a show, sending him to the blacksmith shop and headed towards certain defeat. Bobby went on to finish fourth.
As the race headed to the water hole, Depot Stewart took a commanding lead on “Hammer,” while being chased by the eldest member of the Johnson clan from the Wild, Wild West, young Jimmie, who was competing on “Lowe Down.” Before they could complete the outside turn, Berries Biffle had closed the gap with his trusty steed, “Sandwich,” and looked to be a threat for the win. Meanwhile, Shrub Busch dropped his lasso heading past the wagon wheel, causing C.J. Mears to fall headlong when his mount, “Star,” stopped in his tracks. Young Mears wasted no time to exact revenge on Shrub, roping him with his own lasso on the next pass. Mears was disqualified for his actions, but said he didn’t care and went back to the Bent Spur to commiserate with Jarrett, Schrader, Labonte and Kahne.
Finally, on the last pass by the Livery Stable, Crazy Kenseth on “Walt” and Happy Harvick on “Hershey” tried to pass by too close to the picket line, causing a stampede that ended up with both of them being run clear to Dallas in the ensuing confusion. Both reportedly set up camp in the Jackrabbit Saloon and Whiskey Emporium after the race and were unavailable for comment.
The great race ended up narrowly decided at the finish line when both “Hammer” and “Lowe Down” paused to eat Mrs. Beezley’s petunias, despite the protests of their angry riders. The momentary slowdown let Kyle Petty of King Ranch slip by for the win on “Fargo.” Petty was surrounded by fans and well-wishers as he made his way slowly up Main Street. When asked about his stunning upset victory, Petty merely said, “Yahoo!”
No doubt that for years to come, folks around here will be saying, “That Boot Hill 10 from back in 1882… now That’s History!“