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Hardy Murphy Coliseum

ardmore downtown

Greetings from Ardmore, Oklahoma

 

 

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

 

Hardy Murphy pano 

Hardy Murphy Coliseum – Indoor dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,065

 

The EventVideosPhotos

 

 

THE EVENT

 

akeley ice racers 2

From ice to indoors.

I woke up this morning at home in Ardmore, Oklahoma. I went to sleep in Palmdale, California. This is how this unusual day turned out.  My ice racing season has wrapped up.  It’s time to get outdoors and experience nearly springtime.

 

 

I’ve had the Hardy Murphy Coliseum on my radar screen for a couple of years now. However this was the first time I could tie the track into a trip with other venue options.

 

 

The racing at Hardy Murphy is part of the Texas Kart Nationals indoor winter racing program. Today’s race in Ardmore is the fifth and final of those events for their season. I’ve seen several of those tracks that race indoors during the winter in both Texas and Oklahoma.

 

Hardy murphy paddock

Saturday morning racing?

Last night I had driven in the rain from Wichita Falls, Texas over to Ardmore. Making that trip meant I could sleep in just a bit before today’s 9:30 a.m. starting time. I don’t go to very many tracks where they start this early on a Saturday morning.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

hardy murphy sign 

Hardy Murphy Coliseum – Ardmore, Oklahoma

 

 

Did you know indoor events can rain out?

When I arrived at the hardy Murphy coliseum property the parking lot was a muddy mess. It had rained overnight and was continuing to sprinkle this morning. Had they been racing outdoors today the event would have been rained out.

 

 

There are very few rainouts of an indoor event. However I do recall going to a Phoenix Suns NBA game many years ago in the Valley of the Sun. The roof leaked during a rainstorm. The game was canceled!

 

outlaw winged karts

What counts and what don’t.

Today’s kart racing would include 15-20 classes. However only three of those classes were countable under the current trackchasing rules. Those classes were the 125cc, 250cc and the 500cc outlaw classes. The 500cc class actually splits into two groups based upon the adult’s ages. They have a 40 years and over 500cc class.

 

 

Last night, Friday, these karters had run the first round of heat races for every competitor on the property. That type of event takes about three hours and sometimes more.

 

 

Today, Saturday, the second round of heats would run off at 9:30 a.m. Then in the late afternoon the feature event racing would take place. I would see the second heat portion of the program this morning and early afternoon.

 

hardy murphy paddock 3

Lots of karts; lots of racing.

Today they started just a few minutes late. Then they ran pretty much nonstop for the next three hours. Almost all of the heat races had 4-6 competitors. I would guess I saw more than 30 heat races. Of course, the three countable classes raced at the end of the program!

 

hardy murphy building 

Tell me about the Hardy Murphy Coliseum.

Here’s some information turned up in my research about today’s arena, the Hardy Murphy Coliseum.

 

 

“Hardy Murphy Coliseum was constructed in the mid 1930’s by the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.). It opened for business in 1937 as the Municipal Exhibition Building. For its first ten years it was a roofless stadium. During this period a rodeo bull jumped from the arena floor into the grandstand. After charging uphill through spectators the bull did a 
swan dive into the parking lot below where he was finally destroyed.

 

 

In the late 1940’s a roof was added and presumably a better fence separating spectators and bulls. The county fair, jr. livestock show, professional rodeos and a host of other civic events headquartered at what was the regions most prestigious facility. In the early sixties the coliseum was renamed for an Ardmore native and internationally famous Wild West Show and rodeo performer Hardy Murphy. Hardy’s show business career spanned three decades and took him to Hollywood, Madison Square Garden and a command performance for the King of England. Hardy’s friends included Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Oklahoma’s other famous cowboy Will Rogers.

 

 

At about the same time that Hardy gave his name to the coliseum, his two partners, show horses Buck and Silver Cloud, were buried at the coliseum’s grounds. The city closed it’s schools for the funeral and both the governor and long time friend Gene Autry were among the 10,000 admirers of Hardy and his horses that attended.

 

 

Sometime in the early 1970’s Hardy Murphy Coliseum fell into a period of neglect and disrepair. In the mid-eighties a group of concerned citizens organized as the Hardy Murphy Coliseum Trust Authority and were given responsibility of managing and renovating the aging but still viable building.

 

 

Last year over 100,000 people visited Hardy Murphy Coliseum and Ardmore. Forty-eight weeks of the year the coliseum holds events spanning anywhere from a single day to all seven of the week. While horse events are our mainstay there is something at Hardy Murphy Coliseum that will interest nearly everyone.

 

Who was Hardy Murphy?

 

It could be said that horses ran in Hardy Murphy’s blood. Born in 1903, grandson of an old line Texas horse trader, Hardy developed his love of horses into a career of international acclaim as horse trainer and rodeo showman before returning to Ardmore to enter business and enjoy a family life. Even then he worked daily with his horses until his death in 1961.

 

 

During his career as a rodeo showman during the 1930’s and 1940’s, Hardy astounded audiences with his pantomimes of scenes depicted in works of art by well-known Western painters and sculptors. His reenactments were so moving that two western balladeers acknowledged Hardy and his horse, Buck, as inspiration for their songs, “Gold Mine In The Sky” and “A Cowboy’s Best Friend”. Hardy and Buck were featured on the cover of “The New Yorker” in October of 1944.

 

 

After retiring from the “Big Circuit”, Hardy returned to Ardmore in 1943. He began a second career as a realtor, civic promoter, fund-raiser, volunteer and part-time performer for charities and civic events. These activities won him the affection of the community, which resulted in the award that pleased him the most… the naming of this facility in his honor. He was frequently referenced as “Southern Oklahoma’s Goodwill Ambassador” and “Mr. Ardmore”.”

 

wet paddock hardy murphy

Wet outside; good enough inside.

A thermostat inside the arena told me that today’s temperature indoors was 59°. That sounded about right. I was wearing a jacket making me quite comfortable.

 

 

I have seen quite a bit of indoor racing. One of the drawbacks to racing indoors is the air quality. The internal combustion engines put out a good deal of carbon dioxide fumes. Today wasn’t the worst air quality racing day but it wasn’t the best by a long shot either.

 

 

I didn’t pay any admission price. I didn’t see any place where they were collecting money. However the folks in the pits were wearing wristbands.

 

flat karts in paddock hardy murphy

What was racing?

There were two generic classes of racers today. Flat carts were on the program. The other types of racers, winged karts, were primarily differentiated by engine size and age of the drivers.

 

 

As if by telepathy?

There was no announcer or PA system. The cars simply came out onto the track took a practice lap, the green flag and ran their race. This made it difficult for the novice observer to know which class was racing at any particular time.

 

 

Luckily I have some experience with this sanctioning group. I know that the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc outlaw karts allow drivers to race who are 18 years or older. That does not mean that all drivers in these classes are over eighteen.

 

 

With some of the classes it’s easy to see that the driver is not a “adult”. However with some of the six foot three 250 pound teenagers it’s a little more difficult. Luckily the outlaw karts race with engines that have a totally different sound than the other winged karts racing with Briggs & Stratton lawn mower type engines.

 

#1 493

Trying to meet my 2015 trackchasing goals.

One of my goals for the 2015 trackchasing season is to move into the #1 position in at least three new states. I’m currently the #1 trackchaser in 16 states.

 

 

Earlier this season I moved into sole possession of the Nebraska state trackchasing lead. With today’s track I am now tied for the #1 one spot with Ed Esser in Oklahoma. We both have seen 32 Sooner tracks.

 

 

I am two thirds of the way toward achieving my goal of getting three new #1 rankings this year. I’m not totally sure where that third state is going to come from. I have two or three possibilities. We will see how that goes.

 

 grandstands hardy murphy

Karting is not much of a spectator sport.

There was a small crowd on hand today; maybe as many as 100 people and maybe not. There were well over 100 karts racing today. That meant the number of people in the pit area exceeded the number of people in the grandstand. That’s not unusual. Go karting is much more of a participant sport than a spectator support.

 

 

As I always say, don’t miss the video. But then you shouldn’t miss the Picas photo album either. Heck, while you’re at it don’t miss the movie trailer prepared just for the Hardy Murphy Coliseum.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES – PART 1

 

mexican lunch 

margarita 3

I only eat ethnic food.

The entire morning session was finished by about 12:45 PM. I would have just enough time to stop at a highly recommended, by Yelp!, Mexican restaurant. The El Tapitio restaurant carried a 4.5-star Yelp! grading. I have seen several very authentic Mexican restaurants in Oklahoma. This was another good one.

 

Now for this evening’s racing event.

Following the racing today I needed to drive a little more than 100 miles down to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). I had flown into DFW and picked up my rental car in DFW.

 

 

However it was going to make more sense for me to fly home from Houston. That meant I would have to return my rental car to Dallas this afternoon. Then I would rent a new car in Dallas and return that car in Houston. I do this kind of thing all the time.

 

National Car Rental

Just a little help from my sponsors.

However one-way rentals are very expensive. The daily rate using my corporate rate for a one-way rental from Dallas to Houston was $89 USD. The best non-corporate National Car Rental one-way rate was $145 for the day!

 

 

However I have long had a lucrative trackchasing sponsorship with the National Car Rental Company. They really help me out on those expensive one-way rentals. Today they gave me a car to drive from Dallas and leave in Houston for…wait for it….just $8.50. I love my sponsors. I’m a huge fan of the National Car Rental Company.

 

 

Why Houston?

Why did I need to go to Houston? There were really two reasons. First, I had another racetrack to visit near Houston tonight. Additionally my best flight opportunities for getting back to Los Angeles on Sunday would come from Houston and not Dallas. 

 

 

I had just knocked off the first two tracks of this three-day trackchasing weekend. I was hoping for four tracks over the weekend in total.

 

 

When I go out on these trips I try to be as productive as I can. In terms of seeing tracks that means seeing 2-3 or maybe even four tracks in the single weekend. Many of my fellow competitors are quite content to see only one track in a given weekend. They sometimes trackchase four straight weekends and get only four tracks. Given all of the start-up costs of each trip that doesn’t sound very efficient to me.

 

 

There are a few times that I will leave California to see only one track. However I would guess that happens only one or two times out of every 100 trips I take. As a matter of fact I’m thinking about doing that very same thing next weekend. We’ll see how that goes.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES – PART 2

 

evernote

Saved by tech again!

I had just finished dictating, using my Evernote app, all of the above. Of course I do all of this while I am driving. Why wouldn’t I?

 

 

I had a brief moment to check the website of tonight’s track in Texas. Of course, the name of this track is intentionally omitted due to competitive pressures. Where I was headed tonight had a zero percent chance of rain. It had not rained there in more than 24 hours.

 

 

That’s why I nearly drove off the road when I learned they were rained out! Apparently rain earlier in the week did them in. Oh, my! Now I had my work cut out for me.

 

information 39 

Information is power; I was scrambling again.

First, I had to cancel my one-way rental car reservation from DFW to Houston. Then I had to book a flight back to LAX from DFW. This is when the real value of my airline sponsorships kick in. The value is not the cost of my sponsored flights. The value is in being able to add and delete flights on a minute’s notice without cost or any other penalty.

 

 

Luckily I found out about tonight’s cancellation while I was still north of Dallas. I had an hour to “figure things out” before I would get back to DFW. I had no guarantee I would get on a flight. However, traveling on a late Saturday afternoon is one of the very best times to travel. Things on that front looked good.

 

 

I had one hour….was that enough?

I would have one hour to fill up my rental car with gas, return the rental car, ride the rental car bus to the terminal (8-minute ride), get my self checked into the flight, clear security and board the plane. Would that be enough time for your brother-in-law to make it?

 

wild people

Don’t you just hate that?

All of the above went fairly well except the electronic kiosk would not let me check-in. I always have trouble with this airline. That meant I had to deal with a “real person”. Don’t you just hate that? The one benefit of waiting at the counter was that I could have my TSA Pre-Check number put into my reservation. That would save 5-10 minutes clearing airport security. It also meant I wouldn’t have to take my shoes or belt off, I would not have to remove my “gels and liquids” from my rolling carry-on bag or take my laptop out of my bag. TSA Pre-Check is wonderful.

 

 

Houston we have a problem?

I arrived 11 minutes before the flight was scheduled to take off. The flight was nearly full but I did get an aisle seat. All was going well…..until the pilot came over the PA. “We have a problem. Our nose gear is leaking hydraulic fluid. We have called the mechanics”.

 

 

Houston we have another problem.

C’mon. I’m doing the planning and all the legwork. I didn’t think I deserved this. An hour and one-half later the nose gear problem was fixed. While we had waited several passengers de-planed in search of better options. Soon we were taxiing toward our runway…..then the pilot came back on the PA. “We’ve got another problem. Our flaps won’t retract properly. We’re going back to the gate. If I had to guess I’d say we won’t be taking this airplane”.

 

 

I am trained to address adversity. Today I was receiving my share of adversity. However, until the last flight had departed DFW I wasn’t going to give up.

 

 

While I was sitting in my airplane seat I tethered my iPhone to my computer. Now I had an internet connection. Then I needed to use my “VPN” (virtual private network) to contact some websites than require such a thing. If you don’t recognize all of these tech terms don’t worry. I am a professional.

 

 

I was soon making a reservation with ANOTHER airline. They were leaving from terminal E in about 30 minutes. I was in terminal A. Terminals A and E are not close to each other. Why would I expect them to be?

 

 

I gathered my belongings and joined ANOTHER 20 passengers or so who were bailing ship so to speak. I had a long walk to the airport inter-terminal train. It was going to terminals (C and E). You guessed it. It went to terminal E last. Then when I got off the train it was a 12-minute walk to gate E27! Whew! Luckily I am a power walker.

 

out of breath

I was out of breath….O.K. I pretended to be out of breath.

I rushed up breathlessly to the gate agent. O.K., I wasn’t actually out of breath. I’m a power walker. However, I have learned to “act” like I’m out of breath when arriving late to a flight. It garners increased sympathy from the gate agent. Trust me. You want the gate agent on your side. People do things for people they like…..or feel sorry for.

 

 

The flight was tight. “Tight” doesn’t mean what it does in NASCAR in the airline business. A “tight” flight means there are very few unsold seats available. What else was new?

 

 

In point of fact there were THREE seats unsold. I checked in and was now THIRD on the standby list. I just hoped none of the people on the flight I had just got off of were on top of their game today and would try to get on this flight.

 

 

Got it!

After a 20-minute wait my name was called. I was given the LAST SEAT on the plane just as I had been yesterday coming from Portland to Dallas. My good luck yesterday allowed me to see a track I would have missed if just one more passenger had shown up. Today was the same situation. Now that I had made THIS flight I would be in line to see a track in California tomorrow morning.

 

 

Thanks Dustin.

If I don’t have tech on my side I don’t make it. If I don’t have informational power provided by Dustin I don’t make. Actually if I don’t have a never give up attitude I don’t make it.

 

question mark 49 

 

There’s just one question for you.

I have just one question for you. Would you like to fly “standby”? Mind you Carol and I have flown standby on nearly 1,300 flights in the past eight years. I love it!

 

 

oklahoma 49

Oklahoma

 

 

The Sooner state

This afternoon I saw my 32nd lifetime track in the Sooner state, yes the Sooner state. That puts me into a first place tie with Wisconsin trackchaser Ed Esser. However, as Ed would tell you if he were here, he’s “1A” and I am “1B” as per my definition years ago. Ed called me on that a couple of times….all in good fun.

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

Oklahoma sayings: OKIE Dokie

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

AIRPLANE

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Portland, OR (PDX) – 834 miles

Portland, OR (PDX) – Dallas, TX (DFW) – 1,616 miles 

 

RENTAL CAR #1

Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport – trip begins

Wichita Falls, TX

Ardmore, OK

 

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Red River Speedway – $8

Hardy Murphy Coliseum – No charge

 

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 450 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,065

 

 

world 39259 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 70

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.88

 

 

 

That’s all folks! Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

 

The Hardy Murphy Coliseum movie trailer.

 

 

Hardy Murphy pano

Check out the Picasa photo slide show from today’s racing.  Click on the link below: 

Outlaw winged karts from Ardmore, Oklahoma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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