The Louisiana Purchase Trophy

This article originally appeared in the Missouri Historical Society's quarterly magazine for summer 2004. It marked the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase Trophy, the first major auto race in Missouri. Barney Oldfield was the marquee name at the state fairgrounds track that day, the recognized super-star of early track racing.
Barney and his Peerless Green Dragon met with disaster, however, when he was blinded by dust from the dirt track and crashed through the fence to kill two spectators. Oldfield was seriously injured as well, suffering a concussion, broken ribs and a punctured lung. Not all was lost, it was during his hospital stay he met the woman he would marry twice, Bess Gooby Holland.
The accident, while obviously something no one would wish would happen, shaped the driver's thinking and in that way set him on a path that would define his career. He became more focused on taking responsibility for his destiny. While some derided his subsequent "barnstorming" as hucksterism a lot of his motivation was to create a safer environment in which he ply his trade. Of course, he also strove to manage his own business and minimize the layers of player that inevitably syphoned off cash flow.

B_Oldfield_Green_Dragon.pdf7.43 MB