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Thread: Ketzer Racing Team

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    Default Ketzer Racing Team

    img007.jpgimg012.jpgimg003.jpgimg008.jpgimg009.jpgimg010.jpgimg004.jpg

    These pictures are from slides taken in and around District 9 in the mid 1970s. From the top, unless I screwed it up:

    1) Charles Bradley in a D-runabout
    2) The Ketzer boats at St. Louis
    3) Vernon Ashley and Ed Ketzer
    4) Bill Van's rig; his Goff-Hagness became "Sooie Pig"
    5) Steve Sr. in a Jones cabover
    6) The cabover was a heavy boat; he, Ed Ketzer, Tommy Goslee and others carry it out
    7) Steve Sr. in a C-Pro hydro; not sure about the boat, but with a C-flathead and Grant Tower housing.

    More in due course.
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 01-27-2019 at 11:16 PM.

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    Thanks for starting this thread on your family Steve. Those are some great pictures. The more people who start these racing family threads, the more complete boat racing history becomes and enhances the reputation of Boatracingfacts as the most complete collection of boat racing info with each entry.

    These are all taken at Diamondhead in Hot Springs on Lake Catherine in 1974. It was the Third Invitational, the second Jerry Waldman Memorial to be held there and I believe the very last race that Marshall Grant fielded a boat racing team. It was also the final invitational. The one exception on the pictures is the one I took of your Dad close in looking over the top of his runabout. I misfiled that one. It is from the 1973 Hot Springs race. (But since I am only allowed 10 pictures per post, I took that one out and will save it for 1973)

    Most of these photos were taken as boats were arriving and filling the pits the days before racing was to commence. We came in a couple of days earlier as well as some other teams. The closeups of Steve Sr. being picked up were taken by me in a jon boat with Charlie Bailey at the helm. Charlie and I had a great time just cruising around in the calm water talking, easing our way up to boats that conked out while testing and pulling them back to the pits. It was a very relaxing way to spend a day before racing. One of the pictures was taken during one of several showers that were passing through. I always enjoyed something like this too when competing teams join together under trailers, tents, cars, camper's etc. just to talk and wait out the rain. These unexpected types of breaks are often memorable. Especially when sometimes people that had not pitted close together before got to pause enough from racing to get to know one another better and firm up lasting relationships.
    Attached Images Attached Images



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    Hey, great pictures of my Dad and Diamondhead. I wasn't at that race, being off to college in Denver, but was at the previous one, the Jerry Waldman 2nd Memorial Race. I have pictures of that and will attach soon. In the meantime, although I sure can't compete with the "Baldy" story, I'll cut and paste appropriate excerpts (rough draft, to be sure) from my dad's story that I'm calling, "Inanimate Objects and other Family Members." The first concerns our first race boat, an old Neal hydroplane.

    Back into boating, Dad bought each of his boys a pleasure boat. Jerry and Charles took theirs, and mine, a little runabout with a 25 horse Johnson outboard, floated in the boat dock. I took it out frequently to race around the bay, putting it into the sharpest turns it would tolerate, making it jump and roar through turns, just like our old movies of Joy Toy. When high school friends—Conover, Hyde, Watkins and Crumpton—came over, we took turns tearing around the bay. Without me knowing, Dad watched me play and the wheels started turning. He did some side work for Dan Futrell, and in exchange, instead of money, Futrell gave him an old hydroplane he raced, quite successfully, in the late 50’s, a Neal hydroplane with a 40 cubic inch Mercury outboard without a stitch of cowling, running straight pipes, a quicksilver lower unit, and the smallest propeller I’d ever seen. We drove to Nashville, Arkansas, to get it. The rounded front of the boat was covered in tattered fabric, painted black and grey, with the boat racing number, Lo-113, in larger numerals on either side of the bow. The smell of the boat was unique, like the smell of airplanes or a mechanic’s shop, but a smell I would recognize over the years. I looked in the hydroplane with its hand, squeeze throttle on the left side, a long pad, losing its stuffing on the floor, and asked, “Well, where do you put your legs?” and was told, “You don’t sit in it; you drive on your knees, crawl up over the steering wheel to get it up on plane, then on the straights, move back as far as you can go to get the front and sponsons out of the water, but if the front gets too light and squirrely, move up a little…back off the throttle when you approach a turn, scoot up and lean into the turn, always to the left, as far as you can—that’ll keep your right hand sponson from digging in and flipping you—then when you start coming out of the turn, get on that throttle and start moving up again.” Dad and I couldn’t wait to try it.

    In the hanger back in Hot Springs, we ripped off the old fabric, cleaned out oily dirt and sand, stripped off the old varnish, refinished the wood top and bottom that came out beautifully grained, installed new Ceconite aircraft fabric (that was a trick Dad later taught boat racers, as most were still using cotton fabric that sounded like a bass drum when tapped, unlike the Ceconite’s snare), painted the bow a canary yellow and dutifully painted on the racing numbers, Lo-113, a piece of cake for Dad, who laid out and painted N-numbers on dozens of airplanes. Dad and Uncle Ed disassembled and rebuilt the engine at Futrell Aircraft; during the process, we sent the stacks, two conjoined pipes for four cylinders, out to be chromed and I painted the engine block Ford blue and aircraft Continental engine gold. With the Merc mounted on the Neal, but still in the hangar, the time came to see if it would “Pop.” We mixed gas, 50:1, hooked it up, primed it, and Futrell gave some very worthwhile advice on pulling the rope—the rope wasn’t attached to the engine, but had to be hand wrapped around the engine pulley on the crankshaft, at most one loop. Futrell said, “Now, Stevie, pull dat rope hard as you can…you don’t, motor gonna kick back, gonna pull dat handle right out your hand, through your fingers, gonna hurt like hell, maybe break a finger, and no tellin’ where dat rope gonna end up.”

    I tried it with the switch off, and holy cow, what compression! Uncle Ed had to lean against the boat to keep me from pulling it off the stand, while Dad manned the throttle and switch on the other side. I’d propped airplanes, but I felt tied to this monster; it was either going to be me or it. Dad gave orders to do the deed. I put a loop around the flywheel. He flipped the switch and calmly said, “It’s hot.” I yanked as if my life depended on it, which I believed it did. On one pull, the Merc didn’t come to life with a pop, it came to life with a scream, one of the loudest sounds I’d ever heard, especially being in a hangar with corrugated steel for walls, like shooting a 30.06 without earplugs, but the Merc’s sound was high pitched, like a witch disapproving at the stake. Dad made it go, “WOW! WOW! WOW!” a few times, and then hit the kill switch. We were ear to ear smiles and wide eyed. Futrell said, “Dat…dat Neal a good boat. Dat boat a winner.”

    We loaded up the Neal and hauled it to Bass Haven. With Dad’s unspoken, “You like to go fast in boats, Stevie? Give this a shot.” I donned Futrell’s racing life jacket, a motorcycle helmet and climbed in—we later discovered the old life jacket surrendered its buoyancy long ago and wouldn’t float a small child, much less a 170 pound high school football player. Dad and Ed lifted the stern out of the water, I gave that frightening rope a yank, spun around and grabbed the steering wheel and throttle, revved up the engine, they lowered me down, and I was off—getting it up on plane was like going from low to high with no gears in between. I seemed, indeed was, right on the water. Crouched down, the water was no more than a foot away, and it came up fast and disappeared chattering under the bow; looking to the side, the water was a blur. But the old Neal was stable, just floated and screamed down the straights, and then carved through the turns with the Merc’s scream then oscillating. It was amazing, exhilarating, death defying! In other words, it…was…fun!

    By the time Dad went for a ride, after tweaking, adjusting and topping off the fuel tank, where I, from the bank, could appreciate the sound that negated all other sounds on and around the lake for a mile, spectators began to gather, but not just gawkers, boat racers whom we had never met. Jim Yates, who, it turned out, was a mechanic at a marina not far from us, showed up, but not before calling a few friends, all of whom came to watch. Jim raced a De Silva D-runabout, with a similar 40 cubic inch Merc, and also owned a Jones cabover D-hydroplane, but stopped racing the cabover, because, he said, it scared the hell out of him. Vernon Ashley also raced D-runabout. Bill Henderson raced D-Hydro, but was still recovering from the snakebite of flying one, some said, nearly as high as a telephone pole with disastrous results. Mickey Macguire raced B-Hydro, and was looking to buy a Konig alky burner and moving up to Pro Class. Roger Purtee, who had a B-hydro with a flathead Merc, but had yet to race. And Tom Goslee, who raced C-Service Hydro, an antique class using a highly modified and alky burning version of the Evinrude engines Dad had on No-Go and Joy Toy. With three lakes around Hot Springs, boat racers were in abundance, and from these new friends, we began to acquire knowledge.

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    I need to hear your family's full story Steve. Baldy and I always enjoyed your Dad's company and we would always talk at the races when time allowed, but I never sat down with him to really know him. I don't know you either other than previous correspondence, but you put all of us boat racers right there with you with the story you just told. My Baldy story is really the same thing as the story you just told. So far, I just started sooner, and maybe have more photos and packrat stuff, but your story is the same as most all of us. You start out with your Dad giving you boats, paying attention, then moving beyond that to really get you involved in something that you had a passion for. Same story as Baldy's....just a different locale, different team, but the boat racing family is all the same. We all have a lot of friends, pit crews, and officals from racing. Some we all have in common, some we just know by name and reputation, and there are many, many pit crews and families that we don't know names, but recognize. All of this put together is what I think distinguishes boat racers from other sports.

    I am looking forward to more of your posts because you have the ability to put us in the pits or on the water, just like I can remember as a kid starting out. Any old memorabilia you have to post would be good along with the pictures and stories, but I realize that most people don't save much, or have lost boat racing treasures for one reason or another. To me, and I guess most other boat racers that is just extra on top of the stories. What inspired me to start the Baldy thread was Ron Hill posting the memories of Earnie Dawe on his travels to races. The Dawe family was on the west coast, and for them it was taking off a lot of time to go to the nationals. All those stories of each year's travel rekindled memories of our earlier years in going to races. It's a common theme, and what you just posted resonates in my opinion in the memories of boat racers.



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    Thanks, Wayne. I was concerned the story might be too easy, not technical enough for Boatracingfacts, as it was written for the layman, and, besides, my technical expertise doesn't amount to squat--I was just a driver and a go-fer. But, yeah, I'm sure we met. Being a bit shy, and with Steve Sr. being such an out-going, fun-to-be-around, life-of-the-party type guy, it was easy for me to hang in the background and just watch and listen, which suited me fine. Then, I was drafted right out of high school in 1969, spent a year in Vietnam and a year in Keflavik, Iceland, among other places, and moved to Denver for college afterwards, so I missed most of those great racing years; although, I think with Tim Chance's help, my Dad did spring me from the USAF to attend Alex a couple times. Anyway, I'll take your advice, back up, and start the story from the top.

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    Default No-Go, Joy Toy and Bullet

    No-Go: My mother took the photograph from the shore where, I think, she sat on a blanket with the picnic basket, because there are other pictures showing her there. 1953, so, of course, the photographs are black and white. I’m two or three years old, standing in an inner tube, at the water’s edge in a white jumper about the same shade as my towhead, an English bulldog, Pretty Boy, white with a dark saddle stands beside me. In the water in front of me is a runabout boat with an outboard motor. My father stands beside it at the back, about up to his knees, and he’s pouring fuel from a five gallon can into a fuel tank that’s affixed to the engine, an Evinrude engine with two huge opposed cylinders, and no cowling or engine covers. In the far background, to the right, my oldest brother, about eight, I think, stands in shallow water and has just flung a rock which you can see skipping on the water. Now, this would be Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a manmade lake that was formed by damming the Ouachita River in 1932. So the lake was fairly new, and Lake Ouachita, up river, was just beginning to fill. Trees fill the far shore, not butt to butt houses and boat docks like there are now; no other boats are on the water, no other people on the shore.

    Joy-Toy: This is a color movie, 8 mm, 1956 or so; occasionally, you can see me running by on the sand, sand because we are now at Marine Stadium in Long Beach, California; California because Dad moved us out there where he attended City College, earned his A&E, went to work for Douglas Aircraft and helped build the DC-8. Our house was on Lomina Avenue, next door to Compton. Dad and two buddies back a boat into the water, another runabout with an Evinrude or Johnson outboard. They take turns driving the boat, putting it into tight turns, making it jump across its own wake waves. Sometimes when it turns, sunlight flashes off the paint (white with a red stripe). Over the decades, watching the movies together, we always await and comment on the flash. Someone, not my father, skies behind the boat. He has trouble getting up, as it’s not a ski boat, but eventually does. Oil derricks stand like bare, inverted trees on the opposite shore. This is where Dad fell in love with boat racing, going out to Marine Stadium to watch the Crackerbox races.

    Bullet: When Dad joined the Long Beach Sportsman’s Club with his engineer buddies from Douglas and started duck hunting in Mexico, bird hunting in the lagoons, bear and deer hunting in the mountains, and sport fishing, the speed boat was replace with a cabin cruiser. There’s a color photograph of the boat sitting on our driveway on Pattiz, and I, along with a couple cousins and brothers Charlie and Jerry, stand, in order of height, alongside the boat. Jerry is smiling while holding a 25 pound yellow fin tuna by the tail. We were on Pattiz when the airplane crashed into Signal Hill and caught it on fire with consequent explosions that rained oil on Long Beach, on our house and the laundry that hung on the line. The oil company paid to have laundry replaced and houses repainted. Mom and Dad considered it a stroke of luck.

    We lived next door to the Penny’s, Dick Penny being an engineer at Douglas who designed the cabin door on the DC-8. There were three Penny kids of my age and younger who were being raised in the Dr. Spock, hands-off the children method. For what those kids got away with, we would have been murdered. They took Christmas decorations off their tree, carried them out to the garage, lined up the bulbs which they broke with a hammer, just to watch glass shatter. They filled their mouths with Bosco chocolate syrup, and, turning in a circle, sprayed it. The oldest boy, my age of seven or eight, walked around sucking on a pacifier.

    Except for the pacifier, I not only witnessed these actions, but took part. Hearing this story recently, my daughter-in-law, a school teacher, asked, “How do you think those kids turned out?” Without much thought, I replied, “Well, having gotten it out of their system, I imagine they turned out well-adjusted and quite successful, while I, at 64, am still getting it out of my system.” The room erupted in laughter, while I tried to decide whether or not I had told a joke. Anyway, over at our house, my brothers and I huddled around the TV to watch King Kong for the sixth or seventh time. Local television in those days ran and repeated movies for weeks, usually Shirley Temple or Westerns, but this was different; this was King Kong! Still, after that many viewings, Dad announced he had had it with King Kong, and so, consequently, had we. There would be no more watching of King Kong. Not to be denied, we snuck, we thought, over to the Penny’s and watched it yet again. When Dad learned of the transgression, we were whipped sufficiently. As he sometimes told our mother, “Someone has to be the son-of-a-bitch around here!”

    Also on Pattiz, I learned that if, with the water on, I pushed the garden hose nozzle into the lawn, it tunneled into the ground, deeper and deeper, but that with the water shut off, and later in the day, the hose was impossible to pull out. Neither could Dad pull it out when he came home from work. I didn’t receive a whipping for that one, probably because Dad worked in Experiment and Testing at Douglas and considered it a valid exercise in hydraulics. On the other side of our house lived a Mexican family, and the wife, Sarah, taught Mom how to make flour tortillas, and here’s the recipe, circa 1957:

    Sarah’s Flour Tortillas
    4 cups flour
    2 teaspoons salt
    ½ cup shortening

    Add one cup lukewarm water to above and blend well. Knead about 50 strokes. Divide dough into twelve balls. Cover with cloth and let stand 15 minutes. Roll each ball into 8 inch round tortilla [She wrote eight inches, but I remember them a bit larger and paper thin, and once rolled out, she placed each tortilla on a plate, each separated with a sheet of waxed paper]. Cook on a moderately hot ungreased skillet until golden brown in spots, turning once and being careful not to break air bubbles. [I’ll add, too, that the tortillas were served with, in bowls placed on the table, salsa, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, refried beans and ground hamburger with onions. As soon as the tortilla came off the skillet, she added hamburger meat and folded the tortilla. Once several were done, we started grabbing, while Mom, unbelievably happy at the stove, made more until her husband, and each of her three boys, said, “Oh, no, I can’t eat anymore.” Anyway, you opened up the tortilla and added cheese (maybe a slather of refried beans), lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, rolled it up, added refried beans to your plate, and chowed down. In 1957, we called them tacos; today, they might be called burritos. And at that time, we had nothing else on the side, no sour cream, no guacamole and chips, just the tacos and refried beans, and that was plenty.]


    In the backyard, we had a large sandbox, but Pretty Boy and Betsy the cat were the only family members who used it—the sand was alive with fleas. To walk across the sand was to invite attack, and to stand in it for mere seconds, ones legs would be covered, as was Pretty Boy and the cat, for that matter. The neighborhoods were full of kids; every house had them. A tough kid who lived down the street was larger than and tormented Charlie. On bicycle, Charlie had to plan his escape and return to the neighborhood. One day, Jerry borrowed Charlie’s bicycle and took off on an errand. The bully, thinking him Charlie, emerged from bushes and knocked Jerry off the bicycle. Having learned how to box in Arkansas, Jerry got up and demolished the bully, who ceased to be a problem.

    (Photos of No-Go and Bullet)

    [attach]56745DSC06661.jpg[attach]56747[/att

    (Photos of Bullet; Steve Ketzer and Coy Black; Jane Ketzer looking tired after a trip.)

    017.jpg

    015.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Ketzer; 04-28-2014 at 03:17 AM. Reason: Added Italics; added Bullet photos

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    The pictures are just fine Steve. I like those old black and white pictures. Great stories too.



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    Default Bacardi Coach

    Bacardi Coach: Around 1958 the DC-8 prototype was flown to Edwards Air Force Base for flight testing, and it developed a pressurization problem that had the engineers pulling their hair out—there was just no reason the system shouldn’t be working. Douglas flew Dad out to Edwards to see if he could put a finger on it, but not before the military granted him a one-time, secret clearance to get on base, as much was happening at Edwards in those days (and I can only hope still is). Dad brushed aside the calculations and theories provided by the engineers, climbed inside that huge airplane, positioned himself by the pressurization valves, had them blow it up, and then dump it. What he found was a piece of insulation that floated up to block the outflow valve, and then floated right back down into position. The engineers, being engineers, would have never found it. A few decades later, I was running an aircraft maintenance shop in Hot Springs, across the field from Dad and Uncle Ed over at Futrell’s. A Beech Duke had me perplexed. The battery kept draining down, and yet everything tested fine, so I called Dad over to bail me out, as I often did. He asked what was hot, and I went through the short list of hot-wired items, including the nose baggage light that I said wasn’t the problem, because I had checked switch adjustment and put a meter on it, jiggled wires, switch and so forth. Dad said, “Get up in there,” and he shoved me up into the compartment that was large enough for a couple suitcases, closed the door, latched it, tapped on the door, and asked, “Is the light on?” And I sheepishly replied, “Yeah…yeah, Dad. It’s on.” But I’ve jumped ahead.

    Whether houses, airplanes, boats, or motorcycles, we knew not to get too attached to inanimate objects, because they would soon be gone, traded for something usually requiring much work, but bigger and better. No one, except Dad, knew of these transactions, until he, without announcement, surprised us. So there was a larger, newer cabin cruiser sitting on the driveway of our house on Western Avenue in Anaheim. From that boat we caught tuna, barracuda, flounder, rock bass and mackerel, the latter quite good when smoked. Mom and I were usually seasick and down below deck, sleeping together on a bunk. Jerry wasn’t much of a seaman, either, but Charlie was out there fishing with Dad at all hours and once saw a shark emerge alongside the boat and equaled its length. We made trips to Catalina and dropped anchor for the night in Avalon Bay with water so clear it looked like the bottom was mere inches away, larger boats and sailboats also rocked at anchor with young couples, having just survived the Great Depression and WWII, lounging on decks, having cocktails and singing. And as the song went, “Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is waiting for me. Santa Catalina is the island of romance, romance, romance, romance…”

    Mom spent the depression years on a small, family farm in Mt. Ida, Arkansas, so hadn’t experienced the worst of it, while Dad as a child lived in Indianapolis and Cincinnati and remembered standing in soup lines. Also, he was one of Darby’s original Rangers in WWII, had been wounded and captured by Rommel’s troops in Tunisia and spent over two years as a POW. Indeed, he was in at Stalag 2B in Germany when the Allies hit the beaches at Normandy. But when he returned from the war, he, like most WWII veterans, shoved all those memories into some secret compartment of the mind and charged on to build the America we know, and more importantly, had a ball while doing it. (I won’t say more about the Rangers as that could go on for many pages, and I’m trying to get back to boat racing, but if you’re interested, search “Steve Ketzer Ranger.” I will attach a couple pictures, one of poor quality, but the only photo I have of him wearing a Ranger patch. He’s leaning on a P-51, and it’s in Okinawa, circa 1947, while he was with the Army Air Corps. The other photo is of him on a motorcycle in Okinawa—I don’t know how he ended up with a motorcycle.) DSC07785.jpgDSC07772.jpg

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    Looking at some of the first photos. Ketzer Racing came to a lot of St louis ODA races in the 70`s. The photo you describe as St louis was actually taken at New Madrid Mo On the Mississippi river. The reason i recognize it ,that was my wifes hometown. The one where your lifting the Jones hydro, I think was at Poplar Bluff Mo. on the Black River. The course was barely big enough to fit just a few boats at a time. Raced against you guys many times during that era. Great times!

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    Thanks for the clarification, Art! Those pictures were from my dad's old slides, and they weren't marked, so I gave it a wag. But, hey, I was pretty close, huh? Yes, they were great times for sure.

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