Oldfield, Benz at Cheyenne

Barney Oldfield at the Cheyenne, Wyoming Motor Club Track May 12, 1910. He is seen with Motor Club Director Warren Richardson. The track reportedly cost less than $4000. Barney set a new land speed record in the world land speed record-setting 200 hp Blitzen Benz that day. His time was 36 seconds for a mile, 17 seconds for the half. Wyoming Governor  Bryon B. Brooks was one of the judges. The track was measured by civil engineers under the guidance of American Automobile Association (AAA) officials. A special electrical bell rang at the start and finish.
Richardson is easily one of the most interesting characters in this image. Born in Indiana in 1864, he came to Wyoming as a toddler with his parents. He lived there the rest of his life. Richardson was an entrepreneur and rabid booster for Cheyenne. He earned a fortune ensuring the provision of alcohol to the rough characters of the region, which was very much the "Wild West." He supplied spirits and opened saloons and brothels. His crowning achievement in this regard was the Tivoli Hotel, which became a landmark for downtown Cheyenne and where he located his offices. The Tivoli offered a raucous saloon and accommodating female attention - for a price. These enterprises, no matter how seedy they may seem to some, fulfilled a demand among the local citizenry. Hard men, hard liquor, and prostitutes. 
As Richardson matured and progressed through life, he diversified his business interests into mining, lumber, livestock, and mortgage loans. He became president of Richardson Brothers Company, which traded in such wares. As America transitioned into the 20th Century, Warren Richardson became fascinated with automobiles and racing them. He was a founding leader of Cheyenne's annual "Frontier Days Celebration." He was the big financial backer to build the speedway in 1909 and soon integrated it into Frontier Days. Richardson lived to be 96 years old, passing in 1960 as a highly respected business giant who built Cheyenne from a cowtown to a major Western city.  
The original source of this information was Automotive Dealer and Repairer A Practical Journal, Vol 9-10 by A.A. Hill, M.T. Richardson. Thanks to Wayne Petersen for the submission.

Oldfield-Cheyenne.jpg195.81 KB