A Hard-Chargin’ Hero

My first introduction to the world of heroes and villains (and their differences) happened when I was about ten years old.  Before the era of California and all those movies.  Well…. there was one movie that helped me kind of crystallize everything.  It was a movie I didn’t even like very much until I thought about how the characters were kind of like the people I had been watching every Saturday night in the Spring and Summer, when the weather was warm and muggy.

In those days, back in 1977, 8 and 9, I lived with my Dad and his family in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Sand Springs, to be exact (this distinction matters to those who grew up on the west side of Tulsa).  I was a kid, who, like all who’ve been moved around, ‘inherited a situation.’  It was scary having to meet these new family members.  Luckily I liked my stepmom right away, but her daughter, not at all.  We’d been dropped into what immediately became a heightened sibling rivalry with a person who, my sisters and I knew even then, wasn’t going to ever really get better towards us.  I’d need an escape.

We avoided her the best we could.  In fact, the only time we got along, and were in any way copacetic, was during those  Saturday nights at the Tulsa Speedway.  Race cars and live drama, right there just past the big Oilman statue at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.  Who knew, but in a short time it would become one my favorite things ever, growing up.

My little sister was AFRAID of this guy.

I had a casual working knowledge about race car drivers like Richard Petty, everyone did.  He seemed to win the Daytona 500 every year; we’d sometimes listen to races over a transistor radio when we were out on the boat at Lake Keystone.  I’d never been to a race though, and didn’t have much interest (they seemed to just be going around in circles and not getting anywhere).

At the beginning of the ’77 season my Dad piled us into the old Dodge and we headed out for the short drive on the Turnpike to the Fairgrounds. And all this time I’m being filled with information about different drivers and their crazy crashes and how they raced on dirt.  This family’s love of this racetrack was an example of a situation I had inherited, and as such, it turned out to be not bad.

Our first time there we arrived after some of the racing had started.  It was the first race of the 1977 season.  Sitting in the grandstands I could see there was a main track and a smaller one inside it.  On the smaller track were cars I recognized, going round and round.  Well, kind of recognized, they looked like older beat-up versions of NASCAR racers.  It was still light out, just past 5:30, and I was seeing the stock car program.

It seemed all right, and for the first time I actually wanted to listen to my stepsister and some of that background info she had.  The gist I got was that these races were not that interesting and what we were really here for was the cars that ran on the outer track.  And that they were going to look like cars I’d never seen before.

The stock program wrapped up and a couple of trucks came out and sprayed water on the larger 5/8 mile track, driving slowly around.  The sun started to go down, the grandstand lighting flickered to life; still no action but the water trucks, keeping the rich brown dirt oval moist.  Then a gate opened up on the left, at what I was patronizingly informed was called “turn 4.”  A parade of strange looking cars came out.  Their wheels were similar to those of Indy cars in that they were sticking out of the car body.  The race cars themselves looked like cages with humps on the back, with weird radiator looking things in front.

The Modified program was beginning (modified from what, I’ve never known).  These cars not only looked weird, their left front tires were a little smaller than the right front.  They drove slowly together zigzagging left and right, like they all had just realized that something was broken in their steering.  They went around 3 times like this a slow parade, showing off new paint jobs, numbers and sponsor names (all from Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas).  Mickey Thompson, Harold Leep, Junior Taft; my stepmom knew all their names and numbers.

After the third time around a man in the crow’s nest waved a green flag and they were off!  They got up to speed on the back straightaway and hit turn 3.  Simultaneously they seemed to be losing control of their cars!  The back of every car slid to the right while their fronts hung on tenuously to the dirt and drove them forward.  Now the weird little front wheel came into play; it danced off and on the surface of the track as the car exited the turn and straightened out.  Every car in turn 4 transformed into a man hanging from a ledge, a true cliffhanger filled with drama.  Gripping, grappling, hanging in there, when they straightened out they floored the gas like a sigh of relief.    Amazing.

Drifting, but just enough.

My stepmom explained that the little wheel was needed to keep the cars from just spinning out into circles as they slid around.  I also now knew why those water trucks were doing all that work an hour earlier.  This was the world of dirt track racing and it was like no other.

As they sped by in front of me I realized how loud those cars were, but it was a nice kind of loud.  It also smelled like motor oil when they drove by, I could also smell the damp soil they drove on.  They were loud and they went fast and frankly it was love at first sight.

The Modified program ran a few four lap races called ‘heats,’ winners and losers sorted themselves out into the last two races for them called the ‘B Feature’ and the ‘A Feature.’  The slower qualifying cars in the heats made it to the B, while the fastest got to run in the A.

All the races were competitive, it was great fun; and then they departed.  The excitement in the grandstands ramped up, it was dark out now and the lights were all on.  Another parade began out of turn four, these cars looked newer and were just a little longer than the previous.  The Super Modifieds were a little faster so of course I (and everybody else) liked them a little more.  These racers were the ones I’d get to watch and admire over the next two years.

Terry Doss, Mike Peters, Shane Carson; there were a lot of names to sort out.  All these guys had fans; all the fans had their favorites.  Our family liked a local from Sand Springs who lived nearby in Bixby.  He was a hard charging, hard luck driver by the name of George Armstrong.  Egged on, I watched him with increasing interest.  He made it to the A Feature but didn’t win; he placed behind some guy named Ray Crawford and the vaguely European sounding Emmett Hahn.  Emmett led the whole way; this was something that to my dismay I’d see a lot of in the next two years.

Ray Crawford

Emmett Hahn

George Armstrong

I noticed during the races that George was impatient; he couldn’t stand being behind any car for any amount of time. It was like the #1 on his car was taunting him to always try to take the lead, no matter the conditions.  Sometimes it worked, usually it didn’t, but it sure was fun to watch, and he quickly became my favorite as well as the family’s.

We came back every week; we weren’t even dissuaded after we saw something horrible. Driver CW Whorton died right in front of us in what looked like a benign looking stock car accident one Saturday afternoon.  The cars are all going around and in the straightaway Whorton lost control and slid to the left.  He was t-boned by another driver – it caved in the car a little.  I saw his helmeted head slump forward; then no movement at all.

“Dad, is he all right?!”

“I don’t know son.”

It took them awhile to remove him and his car; then the racing resumed.  I heard later that he’d died instantly.  In the next two years I saw plenty more accidents, flips, they were called, that were violent, but no more deaths. I came to look avidly at photos of flips in the following week’s Speedway News, always trying to feel what they were feeling at that very moment.

The Speedway News was available to all fans and for just a dollar you could get a recap of all the previous week’s action as well as interviews and point standings.  It was my favorite paper, seeing these things in print just gave the proceedings an air of great importance to me; especially getting to see George Armstrong climb excruciatingly slowly up the standings.

After a few Saturdays I became obsessed with the Speedway.  These cars and their drivers had personalities that were distinct.  The cars were extensions of their intent; I had to admit it wasn’t just them going around in circles after all.  George was the hero and a real gambler on the track.  Sometimes he won but it seemed usually he drove his car so hard that some part inside would break and he’d slow down and head to the pits.  Or he’d get tangled up with another driver, nothing dirty though, not George.

He’d try the left, try the right, always trying to get around someone, there was a palpable dissatisfaction.

Ray Crawford drove the jet-black #55. His car looked to me like a sporty hearse.  In a race he was eely and would kind of come out of nowhere and slip into the lead.

Ray and Emmett dueling

“Oh look Ray’s in the lead, where’d he come from?” Ray was just kind of mysterious.  He was an enigma and a breath of fresh air.

He was quite a skilled driver; he exhibited a lot more patience than George most nights.  He, like everybody there, would have the occasional accident. I’d say he was my second favorite. He’d lead late but lose a lot of close races, often finishing second to the guy that I saw as the track’s nemesis; Emmett Hahn.

He seemed to win all the time!  I’d just groan when I saw him in the A Feature because when he took a lead (which was usually early) he rarely ever lost it.  His ketchup and mustard colored John Zink Special #52 was ubiquitous in those days.  We vilified him, which just made George look more like the hero.  I was always glad when I heard he was racing up in Hutchinson or down in Wichita Falls because then my guy would have more of a chance.

One Saturday in ’78, I had this revelation, that Emmett reminded me of a character from a movie I’d just seen, “Star Wars” (we were a year late to the mania, it was at the $2 theater).  He was my Darth Vader.  In this little play George became a mutton chopped cigar smoking version of Luke Skywalker, a stretch, I know, but it worked for me.  Ray Crawford, the wild card, kind of fit as the rogue Han Solo.

Plus I heard he’d made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

For the first time, but not the last, I could apply a science fiction story directly to my life.

I had fun with it for awhile, but it made me focus on movies more than anything else (for I was already obsessed with the Speedway).  “Star Wars” and the Tulsa Speedway helped engender a love of movies.  I learned there were good guys and bad guys.

I was very impressed with the inherent drama of the racing accident, the flip.  These cars had little cages on the side and front that they called nerf bars.  They should have been called ‘nefarious bars’ because they seemed to cause a lot of mayhem.

From the Speedway News

The front one would slip and then dig into the dirt, causing a flip.  Uh-oh!  The side would get caught up in another driver’s wheel or nerf bar.  Ooops.  And when these cars flipped they’d go end over end, sometime 6 times or so; gaining speed and momentum.  Just crazy.  Invariably they’d climb out of their distorted racers and wave to the crowd.  They loved their fans and we loved them back.

My stepmom Norma told me that a couple of years before (back when George Armstrong had not only a different sponsor but an ‘8’ on his car, I know, hard to imagine) he had flipped on the back stretch and gone up the wall and through the fence, landing out on the street outside the fairgrounds.  He broke not only his car and also several bones.  That moved my admiration up a notch; even his wrecks were ambitious, over the top.

The Saturday nights when we behaved ourselves we’d sometimes get treated to a trip to the pits, that is, after the Super Modified A Feature wrapped.  It was always hot and crowded and smelled like a gasoline fire.  There were people rushing around in cowboy hats or crowding around the nights’ winner.  It was fantastic, like getting to see the stars of a Broadway play up close.  These were the all-stars and my heroes, and George was right at the top.

Obviously as an 11 year old or so I would be a little shy about going up to meet this guy. Unless George won he didn’t have that many people around, so he usually wasn’t hard to get to.  And he always made himself available, sitting contentedly on his dirt splattered back tire, puffing on a stogie.  He’d stay there until the last racing fans filed out, I know, because they were usually us.  I never wanted to leave the pits.

The author, the fan.

I’d even bought a cowboy hat at the TG&Y on Charles Page Blvd that was just like his, stuck a little book of matches up front, like his.  I’d have it on every time I went to the pits (it also helped me to be seen, so I wouldn’t get run over by people).  Twenty years later kids wanted to be like Mike, in 1978 I wanted to be like George.

But unless my memory has supernova’d around the event, I don’t believe I ever went up and said hello to him.  Could it have been so super-cool that I don’t remember it, kind of like an amnesiacs’ trauma, but in reverse?  I remember being goaded, taunted and made fun of.  I remember having to explain myself to my fellow students at Mark Twain, all of that is crystal clear. I even remember talking to Ray Crawford several times, even while cheekily leaning on his car.  Emmett Hahn I avoided (though he actually looked like a cool guy), for fear of him doing one of those Darth Vader mind things on me.

But when it came to a stammering, or any other kind of introduction, I’ve got nothing for you when it comes to George, nada, zippo.  And that’s too bad, because I’m a believer now that if you ever get the chance you should always say hello to your heroes and tell them what they mean to you.

At home and at school I would draw his Noel Crain owned #1 car, either the blue one or later on the orange one.  Over and over.  And over.  So many times that I could do it for you now (muscle memory?).  So I definitely knew what the car looked like when my friend Lesley rode over one day right before the ’79 season and told me he knew where Noel Crain lived.

I immediately grabbed my bike and we were off to this secret location.  We rode a mile or two (everything seemed far in those days) and headed downhill on a little side street.  There was a big fence with a hedge and a gate, like a rich person’s house.  I knew they must have been rich because neither Lesley nor I could see that actual house.

There was a spot open near the front gate and we leaned over our handlebars and peered in.  It was a white truck; it said “Snap-On-Tools.”  There was something on the back on a hitch.

“It’s George’s car!” I said, and then hushed.

Yup, there it was- shiny and brand new, George Armstrong’s (I could almost make out the painted signature on the top roll bar) #1 race car, the coolest car in the world.  “Looks like they’re doing a little work on it,” Lesley said, all in the know.  It was brand new, I’d never seen it before and I soaked it all in.  We kept staring, it was ok, there were no people around.  It was great seeing this car in my world, it made me feel extra validated somehow.

Well, not exactly like this, but close, this is a newer car.

We stayed awhile, Les finally pried me away, and we went to the Burger House.  There, while munching on our cheeseburgers, we marinated in the glory of the day.

A month or so later I moved to Hollywood, California, land of the stars.  I met Jane Fonda once and a bunch of other celebrities, I may have been nervous I but never hesitated like I did those nights in that darkened pit area of the Tulsa Speedway.  And moreover, the very year I left (I missed the entire ’79 season) George put it all together.

His car must have stayed whole, he must have showed a little patience, and he must have even had a little luck; because he won his first and only points championship at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.  1979 was the magic year. He did it with that brand new maroon car I saw that spring day on that otherwise unremembered street.  How I would love a copy of that last weeks’ Speedway News (Anyone? Anyone?).

I’d hear from my Dad in Oklahoma every once in awhile about how everybody (Emmett, Ray and George) was doing, but I lost interest in racing.  The big three raced for several more years.  I think Ray won a championship or two before he hung ‘em up.  He became part of what is known as the First Family of Oklahoma Racing, spawning two more generations of drivers, the Crawfords.  To me he’s still that slightly mysterious sneaky pro.

Emmett founded the Chili Bowl Nationals (though Ray helped make sure Tulsa was the host), a weeklong annual winter (chili, get it?) convergence of the area’s best Sprint Car racers.  He’s continued a career of excellence on the track and around it and for me has long since lost his Vaderian rep.  Especially after I grew up and learned that there’s a little more to being a villain than just being a winning driver.

George, another car with wing on top. They just seemed to make flips soar even higher.

George Armstrong, unfortunately, died back in ’02.  I heard that it was cancer.  His all out driving style may have extended itself to his penchant for cigars, I don’t know.  Like many heroes tend to do, he died too young.  But I’ll never forget him sitting there in those pits, waiting patiently for the acclaim that should have come, but never really did.

28 replies
  1. Murray
    Murray says:

    You reminded me of a day in my life when I was 17. I was just thrilled to have an opportunity to not ride but “drive” an old stock car with roll bars on a 1/4 mile dirt track. My only obstacle was obtaining permission from my parents. Sadly, they did not sign and I did not drive. I loved your story and felt like I was with you on your journey.

  2. Jerry Medlin
    Jerry Medlin says:

    GREAT STORY!! I’m an old MODIFIED driver from Broken Arrow that raced at Tulsa Speedway in those years your writting about. I grew up watching them race at the old 3/8 mile track on the fair grounds. And your insight into how you felt about GEORGE is ABSOLUTELY something I CAN understand. I was the same way with my heros, Buddy Cagle, Angelo Howerton,Harold Leep, Ray Crawford, and YES, Emmett Hahn. I still an a bit shy about talking to the guys, even though I was a part of the racing community. IT’s the RESPECT and AWE that we have for these guys, that were SO GOOD ,at the craft of controlling an out of control race car. They just seemed bigger than life at the time.I still have my favorites today, and it’s still because of the RESPECT I have for their ability to do what they do. GREAT ARTICLE.

  3. Mike Gossman
    Mike Gossman says:

    Your Story was remarkable. Took me back to your age riding my bike around our neighborhood looking at a few supers that were within 2 miles. I had my mom buy me white pants to were to the races in OKC because that what all the crews wore. I eventually started racing in the Modified and moved up to Super for a short time. It was a dream come true. I still think about pacing around the track next to my childhood heroes thinking is this really true. Thanks for your story what a great time I had reading it. I sent it to my son and daughter to read.
    Thanks again
    Mike Gossman

    • Bill Hardesty
      Bill Hardesty says:

      Thank you Mike, we used to search for other Supers too, we’d sometimes see them pass by on trailers, “Hey there goes Mike Peters!” Ah, memories

  4. Tracy Horn
    Tracy Horn says:

    What a great story!! I actually choked up. George was a great guy and a family friend. Thank you for sharing this-I love it!! A touching tribute. I’ve shared it with his daughter. I’m sure she will enjoy it too.

    • Bill Hardesty
      Bill Hardesty says:

      Thank you Tracy, I’m glad it meant a lot to you, and I’m also glad his family might get to see it. Great epic times back then.

  5. Vicki Thurman
    Vicki Thurman says:

    My husband was co owner of that car with my brother Noel, and we so enjoyed reading your article. It was a wonderful life. George’s daughter Angie shared it with us. Thanks for the memories.

  6. Mark Armstrong
    Mark Armstrong says:

    A great story. My dad drove his cars as hard as they go. I miss those times and my dad. Thanks for the story. It made me happy and sad and very proud that George was my dad.

  7. Angie Armstrong Field
    Angie Armstrong Field says:

    You have me bawling like a baby. Many of your memories are my own memories. Like many father/daughter relationships, I always thought of my dad as a hero – to read that other people shared my admiration warms my heart. We have every issue of the Speedway News during his race career and I still have his black hat. The cigar smell has faded but the mud clods and tacky buttons remain just as he left them.
    I shared this on my Facebook page for my family and friends to read. Thank you so much for sharing your memories!!

    • Bill Hardesty
      Bill Hardesty says:

      Hi Angie, I’m sorry I made you cry but I’m also very moved…. my mom passed in ’97 and I had a few things from her apartment (still do) and they smelled (like her cigarettes) for years. She also died of cancer. I was sad to hear about George from my stepmom Norma years ago and I’d never forgotten him. You don’t forget your childhood heroes and if you do someone should come around and remind you.

  8. Mare
    Mare says:

    I was right there with you watching those races, but I can never recall all the distinct memories that you recall. What a gift you have two recalls such memories and describe and such great detail. A mind like yours truly is a gift. Memories that people have never can be as good as the memories of those gifted individuals like yourself. I didn’t even like the races, but this is one of my favorite stories that you written so far.

  9. Terry Hodges
    Terry Hodges says:

    You captured “going to the races” perfectly! George was my cousin, and my dad (George Wilson) built the first modified stock car George ever drove. It was a big, navy blue sedan, #80 in 1965 or ’66. Then Leamon English drove Daddy’s car for several years until his little brother, Ray English married my sister and drove. We would get there an hour or 2 early with blankets to “save seats” and play cards. I remember holding up the Speedway News when the cars were warming up to deflect the mud thrown at us. Thanks for writing this and bringing back such great memories!

  10. Brenda English
    Brenda English says:

    Thanks for the great article and memories. George Armstrong was my cousin and a great driver. My family had several drivers that raced at the Tulsa Speedway, Oklahoma City track, and surrounding tracks back in the day. I bet you would enjoy VintageSuperModifieds on facebook. There are several racing pages on facebook, but VintageSuperModifieds includes many racers from the Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas area.

  11. shane carson
    shane carson says:

    I’ve said it before, what a great time it was to be a kid and grow up with these super hero’s right there racing at tracks all around that we got to go see…..wow….that was a life time ago, I will never forget it though…..great story.

    • Bill Hardesty
      Bill Hardesty says:

      It really is a vanished world isn’t it? It being gone has helped those who made it happen achieve a kind of legendary status. Thanks for your kind words.

      • Terry Coker
        Terry Coker says:

        Great story. Wonderfull memmorys to be sure. Im so happy to have been able to be in some of these races you recollect. Thanks for sharing.

      • Brian karr
        Brian karr says:

        I just found this and it brought back so many fantastic memories of not only Saturday nights at Tulsa Speedway but also Friday nights in Muskogee and Sunday’s in OKC. I remember sitting about halfway up at the very north end of the grandstands where turn four and the pit exit was located. My mom, brother, aunt,uncle cousins and grandma would be there most every spring and summer night. Even after we moved to Dallas in 1977 we still came back every weekend or if we were lucky enough they would have an NCRA race at the Devils Bowl outside of Dallas. You brought back the memories of my families favorite driver Ray Crawford but George, Terry Doss, Mike Peters,Alvin Bennet, etc. My mom actually ended up dating the brother of Danny McCutchen which was what led us to going every weekend because he was the mechanic on Danny’s car. And eventually I went into the Navy but when I was discharged my girlfriend and I moved to Tulsa and she started working for Sun Refining which was the major sponsor on Ray Jr’s car and my wife now handled the contracts for all of the racing vehicles so it was back to the new speedway north of Tulsa for the races now.
        One thing that all of this brings to mind is the loss of some great drivers, like Alvin Bennett, Larry Ring, Junior Taft, the horrible wreck with Darrel Brazeal, Gene Mcdaniels and too many others that may not have been at the Tulsa speedway.
        Thank you for the great memory of growing up on the red dirt.

  12. sonny spencer
    sonny spencer says:

    I was on the pitcrew 2or three years George was a great guy and would have loved to have you come by to talk

  13. Glen Scranton
    Glen Scranton says:

    I knew George and worked with him in the late sixty’s at Rockwell. Went to many races at the Fairgrounds in those days. Left Tulsa for Springfield for the Frisco RR. George was a genuine person as I have ever known. Sure miss those days.

  14. Tommy Sampson Jr
    Tommy Sampson Jr says:

    George drove my Dads Super Modified in OKC the 1977 season. He also drove a few NCRA races and a few races at the end of the 1976 season. George was the Ultimate Cool Dude. I was 14 going on 15 that summer of 77 and it was the 1st year I got to go in the pits all the time. I think Dad had to sign a waiver. Georges younger brother Tony and a couple of his buds were there anytime George was. Tony, Terry and Doobie. I think they were all Srs in high school or had graduated that year. The 1st half of that season was horrible. I think our car blew a motor every other week or 2 out of every 3 weeks. You could see the frustration in Georges face but he never said anything around us. I can remember his wife Vicki and his daughter would come to the pits after the races in that green Thunderbird. He would fire up a cigar and put that Ole black hat on, sign some autographs and tell my Dad and Johnny McDade he’d see them next Friday. I remember the 2nd to last night of the season Dad had Jimmy Nix build a

    • Tommy Sampson Jr
      Tommy Sampson Jr says:

      A motor. It was a bullet. Bad thing was George was wrong place wrong time in the heat and ended up flipping in turn 3. That Parson chassis was well built and besides some fiberglass damage it busted a gusset somewhere on the front end. George came from the back and won the B and did the same thing in the A. It was a happy time. To prove it was no fluke George won the A feature the next week also. I liked that he always had time to talk to the fans. I gave him a pin for that Ole muddy hat and he put it on. I’d know it if I saw it again. It was still on there 2 or 3 years later. My Dad had several top notch drivers back then but none as personable as the man in the black hat.

  15. Kristy Bass
    Kristy Bass says:

    Thank you for your story. I to was there the night that CH Whorton died. You see he was my grandpa I was only 5 so I don’t really remember it. He was a wonderful husband, dad, and grandpa. He loved racing and loved having his family there with him. I teared up reading your account of his crash. Thank you again for adding it in.

    • Bill Hardesty
      Bill Hardesty says:

      I will never forget that night of shock and sadness. I was 10 or 11 years old, it really reordered my young mind to a degree. Thank you for posting here.

  16. Perry Phillips
    Perry Phillips says:

    I lived in Sand Springs at that same time and went to the races on Saturday Nights to see Junior Taft.

  17. David Collins
    David Collins says:

    WOW! I just happened upon your story and I have to say, it sparks similar great memories of Oklahoma City Fairgrounds Speedway where I grew up in much the same time frame. We never ventured up to Tulsa (Dad raced the 1/2 mile in Oklahoma City), but George was typically there on Friday nights with many of the “Tulsa” cars as well. Emmett, Jackie, Ray… the list just goes on and on. You captured the essence of that era. These men were our heroes. We didn’t know how dangerous it was.

    At Oklahoma City, we sat at the north end of the Grandstands, so we could look over the wall into the pits to see who was racing that night. We knew all our regulars, Evard, Melvin, Ronnie and David. Hey look! Frankie Lies is here! There’s Wayne Cox up from Lawton. The McWhorters, Walt and Shady. They weren’t related and they hailed from different directions, but it was hard for a kid to keep that straight. There was a lady who sat in a wheelchair at that north end of the Grandstands. SHE WAS A GEORGE ARMSTRONG FAN. I remember she had a bag/purse that had a beautifully embroidered picture of George’s #1 car. She had to be family, but like you say, when you’re a goofy kid, you’re too shy to ask these questions. She was just always there. And after George retire and Tony started driving, she was there still.

    Great memories. That’s all that’s left. Like you said, Tulsa Fairgrounds are a horse track. Oklahoma City Fairgrounds is a, gulp, parking lot. Ah, but the memories…


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