Once the oldest
member of the Central Missouri Racing Association, Sportsmans in Marshall was built in late 1953 by
the late Junior Copas and Bill Mikle.
Located on a plot of land owned by Raymond Burgess just Northeast
of the city, the track was constructed at a cost of approximately $25,000 and saw
its first race on May 6, 1954 with 1,100 fans.
The speedway occupied almost 25 acres. It had parking space for over 300 cars
and seating capacity for 3,300 race fans and 800
standees. Races were held on Sunday afternoons or nights during the early Spring, Summer and
A proud feature of track owner Copas was
the "Lily Pond" barely seen here in the far left
behind the KMMO racing tower. It was a small pond illuminated by
lights, sported wooden flamingoes, flowers adorning the edges and was a
favorite of the kids.
Advertised as the Midwest's finest
high-banked, quarter-mile oval, the
track absorbed 12,000 to 25,000 gallons of water prior to each race.
Thirty hours of blading and packing preceded each race
During the ownership years of Copas and
Mikle, the track drew over 30,000 fans from the
mid-1950's to the late
1950's. The speedway finally closed in 1983 under the ownership of
Woody Carpenter known then as The Saline County Speedway.
Location Of The Former Speedway Now...An Empty Field
Special events were often held at the
track in between races to help liven up the atmosphere. Here, the "greased pig catching contest" winners are
shown from a night in the 1950's. The object was to catch the pig covered in lube grease, the first of the
kids to run down the bacon received a cash award for their dirty work.
Track owner Jr. Copas is shown in this
photo wearing the checkered shirt, trying to hold off the envious kids
from the winners. Pictured far right are Steve and Lonnie Pauley.
I'm sure mom loved this event when it came wash
My Dad and track co-owner, Jr.
Copas. Copas passed away in 1997 at the age of 69.
Long-time track announcer John
Here John laughs it up with Bill Utz in the early