Sportsmans Speedway

A Tribute To The Former Finest Quarter-Mile High-Banked Oval Dirt Track In The Midwest 

  

 
 
 
The Sportsmans Track
 
 

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 Fall.

 

 

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 colored
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 day.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 The 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. 

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I'm sure mom loved this event when it came wash time.

 

 

 My Dad and track co-owner, Jr. Copas. Copas passed away in 1997 at the age of 69.

 

 

Long-time track announcer John Hughes

 

 

Here John laughs it up with Bill Utz in the early 1970's.

 

 

 

 

 


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