Three Howdy Rowdies

This interesting photo is from the 1914 Los Angeles-to-Phoenix off-road race, aka the "Cactus Derby." Like the sports fanatics of today, these men painted their faces and wore colorful costumes. Most of these men were affluent business executives who rode in a train that paralleled much of the course. They gambled, drank, smoked cigars and generally had a good time. Barney Oldfield won this race in a hard-fought contest that earned him a gold medal with the inscription, "Master Driver of the World."
From left to right in the photo are "Fat" McDermott (executive with Puente Oil), Firestone Smith and driver Art Klein, who raced in five Indianapolis 500s with a best finish of seventh in 1920. Check out this peculiar account of their ride on the "Howdy Special."

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