View Full Version : "Racing with Kansas City Speedboat & St.Louis ODA, 1969 - 1977"----Part 1

06-30-2008, 11:10 AM
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A remodeling project at my home in March of 2008 led to cleaning out a little used closet. On the bottom if the pile was an old slide projector that had belonged to my family back in the 1950's. I remember taking it over and using it for the 35mm slides that I took and others with me took at boat races from 1969 through 1976. Inside, lying forgotten, were boxes and magazines containing all of these old pictures. A flood of memories about those "Outboard Days" came back. What should be done with the now, in the digital age, antique slides and projector? I almost thru them away. I contacted Bill VanSteenwyk. I had not talked with him in years but still had a phone number for him. Bill had some good suggestions and put me on to the Boat Racing Facts web site and in contact with Wayne Baldwin. After reading through Wayne's "Amazing Stories" I called him. Wayne remembered me and in particular a race in Ft. Worth where we got tangled up coming down to the start. Not surprisingly Wayne and I have different versions of that story. Wayne's is posted in "Amazing Stories" Wayne put me on to Jeff Lytle a web site administrator at BRF and things began to take off. The solution to the question of what to do with the slides came during a conversation with a friend here in Parkville, MO. He had a sophisticated scanner that would handle the slides. He also supplied me with a program to make a DVD Slide show from them.

In 1964 a friend, Roy Dreiling, and I joined the U.S Navy. I was a Torpedoman & Diver on a fast attack submarine. When I got out in 1968 Butch was racing and he and I became reacquainted and became close friends. My Dad was remarried to someone and our relationship was not what it should have been. In 1969 I bought a new Lowery Hydro from Bob Lowery, an old DeSilva runabout and a "D" AmPro motor from Walter Courtois. My thinking was that Dad would become interested and we would have something in common. It just never happened.

Butch and I were both selling machinery and eventually ended up working at the same place. Stan was still working for my Dad and that is where his pistons were cast. In about 1973 I bought a Konig from Stan and Later a C Service. I also bought, with my brother's help, a couple of Konigs from Jim McKean. Butch and I began running together all of the time. By this time I had a new DeSilva and a Butts Aerowing. Butch was running a DeSilva and a Krier copy of an Aerowing. Over the years I ran "C" & "D" AmPro (Super Stock) Hydro and Runabout and "C", "D", "F" & "C" Service Pro Hydro and Runabout.
In 1977 I sold my rig, two hydros, a runabout, four Konigs and trailer to a guy, whose name I don't remember in State Line, ID. the Coeur D'Alene area and that was about it for me. Jobs and marriage had suffered and gas was too high for me to travel very much.

Some stuff I won:
1970 St. Louis ODA "D" Am Pro Hi Point 2nd place
1973 KCSA "E" SS Hydro Hi Point 1st place
1973 KCSA "D" SS Hydro Hi Point 1st place
1974 KCSA "E" SS Runabout Hi Point 1st place
1976 APBA 850 Hydro Championship at Alexandria
1976 APBA 1100 Runabout 2nd place at Alexandria

There were a number of others but those are the only ones that I can document because I still have those trophies. When I quit I gave a couple boxes full of trophies back to the club to reuse.

Please view and enjoy the slide show clips and the pictures that Jeff Lytle has kindly help me post. Please also jump in here and comment on the pictures. There are some that are not identified and there may be some that are identified in correctly and only your participation here can remedy that.

Tom Berry Y-32

"Wouldst thou" - so the helmsman answered
"Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave it's dangers
Comprehend it's mystery."

Jeff Lytle
06-30-2008, 11:42 AM
I had to post Part 1 using Google video. It works OK, but is really pixulated......so much so, it's really hard to see some stuff when you use the full screen.

I'm working on this, and hopefully with Sam's help, I will be able to upload the 4 parts of the slideshow directly to the BRF server improving the quality 100%.

Stay tuned!

Master Oil Racing Team
06-30-2008, 11:52 AM
I meant to tell you Tom, but I forgot earlier, that there is a photo of Rod Walk that you incorrectly identified as me. It is in a batch that is not posted yet. I am looking forward to the rest of it.

I am curious about your version of our tangle on the way to the start at Fort Worth. There are always multiple versions of stories depending upon where each person was. I don't think we ever got together to discuss what happened. I just chalked it up to racing, and I just remember I kept thinking you were going to straighten up and/or look over to see me coming. It's been a long time ago though and I don't always remember everything that happened. As my story says, I flipped during that race, and so had an injured leg on my mind when I came in. I was never sore at you, and as far as I know you didn't hold a grudge at me for driving over your deck:eek::D, but I would like to hear your version of the events. This is one of the great things about BRF...finding out things you never knew.

I've been waiting for you to get started before posting any of the stuff I have for your tread. So....glad it up now.

Danny Pigott
06-30-2008, 12:28 PM
Tom I enjoyed your Pic`s I Was At Portsmouth In 1971 For The Last NOA AM PRO Nat`s I Saw The Wearly Trailer, John Was Great In A-B Hydro. The Tunnel With The D-E Could Be Larry Swirear (SP).

Bill Van Steenwyk
06-30-2008, 12:38 PM
Glad to see you have gotten this to the stage that it can be put on BRF. I know from e-mail and phone conversations with you it has been probably more than you thought it would take at first. Congratulations for sticking with it, and thanks to Jeff for the assistance.

Since you asked for comments/side stories about some of the pictures, I will give a couple about the race at Unionville, Mo. Butch Leavendusky and I were responsible for securing the site and sponsor for this race. It was the first race to my knowledge that was ever held on that lake which is the water supply for the town of Unionville. We had to jump thru hoops to get all the permissions required, but it all came off well, except for the weather on race weekend. Lots and Lots of high wind, making the race course an Atlantic ocean clone. I don't remember much about the races themselves except for the alky runabout classes. Jim Schook put either an A or B flathead on the biggest runabout he had and won about all the runabout classes with it. It would run just the right speed in the rough water that he didn't have to back off and he really cleaned up. Don't remember anything other than that about the racing but there are two other stories that are somewhat interesting.

As most of you who know Butch Leavendusky will attest to, he is not at all the "shy and retiring" type. Usually not at a loss for words at all, in fact just the opposite. He and I were, as previously mentioned the prime movers for this race, and were asked by the sponsoring club (JC's if I remember correctly) to participate on the sports part of the evening news from the local TV station who was going to give us some publicity and show some video we had of a promotional nature I had spliced together for showing to potential sponsors.

The whole time we were waiting just ourside the TV studio in the waiting area to go on the sports section, Butch was worrying and fretting about having never been on TV before and how he was afraid he was going to screw up and not be able to speak and answer any questions or participate in the interview. He was as upset and nervous as I had ever seen him, and I spent most all the waiting time trying to calm him down and reassure him everything would be OK. We were finally called in to be interviewed by the sports anchor, and the first question was to be directed at me by the guy asking some question or other about the race the next day. I started to open my mouth to answer the question, and before I could say anything, Butch started talking about the race, the boats and motors, the drivers, any and everything. He talked non-stop for about 3-4 minutes and the anchor or I never got a word in edgewise. He was the sole participant in that section of the sports news that nite. So much for his stage fright.

The final story is about a fellow racer who should have known better and will remain anonymous. He came to race and play a little also with someone other than his, at that time, wife. Due to a lack of motels in the area, a lot of the drivers decided to camp out. He brought a small one man tent and sleeping bag. His bride at the time evidently decided to come to the race after all, and showed up in the middle of the nite/early in the morning. Unfortunately there was quite a surprise for her when she found the already crowded sleeping accomodations too crowded for her also. The names are withheld to protect the innocent. Needless to say they haven't been married for a LONG time.

06-30-2008, 12:59 PM
You are right Wayne, there was NEVER any grudge. As a matter of fact I had
forgotten about it until you reminded me. It was just racing. I never saw you
until it was too late. I just always thought you had to have seen me. We'll cuss
and discuss it over a beer sometime.

Didn't Jeff do a great job? Can't wait to see the rest up on the site.


06-30-2008, 01:14 PM

There is lots more to come. Lots of stuff from KCSA and St.Louis ODA. you'll
like it. didn't Jeff do a great job?


Master Oil Racing Team
06-30-2008, 04:24 PM
Sounds good to me Tom. I am grateful that you didn't throw those photos away. Jeff always does a great job.:cool: That kind of stuff baffles me and I have great respect for the work that Jeff and Sam have done.

That torpedo and diving gig you had on a fast attack submarine intrigues me. I never heard you talk about that before, and I don't know if you would, but since you brought it up, I thought.....maybe. If so, maybe you could tell us a few stories about that on the Sandbar thread.

Bill Van Steenwyk
06-30-2008, 05:28 PM
I second the motion about the time spent on the submarine. I remember when I first met Tom in the time frame he talks about when he got out of the service and I found out what he had done in the Navy. I asked him about some of the technical aspects of the subs he was on such as underwater speed and depth attainable. I remember he said the information was classified so I didn't ask again. I believe I remember he was on a sister sub to the Thresher which was lost at sea in very deep water. Some way or another they were finally able to determine what happened to it although I often wondered how they were able to come to those conclusions also. I have seen pictures taken from a submersible of some type of the Thresher on the ocean floor, and I don't see how you could determine anything. You can hardly tell what it is.

Is technology that old (40 years now) still classified? I think it is on the newer subs, as whenever you read about or see information on TV about them, they never speak about speed or depth except vaguely or "approximately". I have heard in excess of 35 kts and 2000 feet depth capability, but have no real knowledge about it. I just know if there is a leak it is a really bad deal.

07-01-2008, 08:10 AM
If you guys are really interested I'll be happy to tell you all of the sea stories. You know about sea stories? They always start with "this ain't no sh**". You might want to check this site out. If you do be sure to look through the pictures. http://usspermit.com I may even tell you about almost getting caught in the harbor in Valadovostok wearing nothing but a wet suit.


07-01-2008, 01:47 PM
You know about sea stories? They always start with "this ain't no sh**".


isn't that how a lot of racing stories start also !!! :D


07-10-2008, 07:23 PM
This is the text of an e mail I received from Tim Chance. Perhaps there will be others who would also contribute information like this.

Tom - I just reviewed what you wanted and looked at your posts on BRF and see that you need stuff on ODA. And I know almost nothing about the Mod drivers of ODA.

When I moved to Saint Louis in 1971, ODA had just voted the alky classes out. On December 7, 1972 a bunch of us met in Columbia and formed Outboard/Central, an all alky club. Outboard/Central lasted ten years and then morphed into the U.S. Title Series in 1983.

Prominent in Outboard/Central were:
Tim Chance, Saint Louis, Y-200 A - F runabout and hydro
Stan Leavendusky, Jr, Kansas City, Y-2 C & D runabout
John Dortch, Sr, Saint Louis, Y-99 A & B Hydro and Runabout
John Dortch, II, Saint Louis, Y-9 C Hydro and Runabout
Barry Wilson, Cedar Rapids, 300, C Hydro
Rich Krier, Indianols, IA, X-51 B & C Runabout
Mike Krier, Ollie, IA, X-50 A & B Runabout
Jim Krier, Ollie, IA X-50 A & B Hydro
Todd Brinkman, Springfield, IL, V-88 A - F Runabout
Jack Kugler, Hamilton, IL, V-100 A &B Runabout and Hydro
Jim Schoch, Quincy, IL V-5 A-F Runabout and Hydro
Tom Berry, Kansas City, Y32
Bill Van, Barnhardt, MO Y-888 C Hyro
Phil Howard, Jacksonvile, IL V-123 B Hydro
Paul Bogosian Granite City, IL V-23 C and D Runabout

Others that I can't remember boat numbers:
Kerry Dupre, Saint Louis
Gary Silver, Iowa
Nick Buehl, St. Joe
Tim Seebold ran some C-Service

As I think of more, I'll add them to the list. - Later, Tim

I might also add from Kansas City:
Terry Lewellen
Don Kelly
Jim Baggett
Jimmie Nichols (Decased)
Don Dando
Tom Roberts

From St Joseph:
Steve Shomberg and his dad Cliff


07-10-2008, 07:31 PM
Here is the text of another E Mail. This one from from Dennis Crews.


I realized that my email from the BRF forum gave you no way to contact me. My email address is dcrace29@yahoo.com. I am having trouble getting my password to let me post on BRF but I am still working on that. And again thanks for all your work in putting that all together. I have looked at this several more times and see our crew in even more of the pictures.


I dont know if you remember but you sold my dad, Lynn Crews, a runabout that would spin in a bathtub. Dad says you said one time that if you burned the boat and threw the ashes on the water that they would spin too. I just viewed your first slide show on BRF and I have to tell you it literally brought tears to my eyes. My mom, Diane Crews (Lowrey) is the daugher of Andy Lowrey. To see you with my Grandpa in that picture stopped me dead in my tracks. Then to see the pictures of uncle Bob and Dave, our big black trailer with my grangpa's 69 ford truck, I am flooded with great memories. Thank you for the work you put into this. I just registered for BRF but have not received my email info to post there yet so I had to email you. I just could not wait to contact you.

I have a 21 year old son who is a gear-head deluxe. I have tried and tried to explain to him the sound of 12 D-hydros coming down the chute, but how do you do that justice? I have tried for a couple of years to find a rice near Ft worth, Tx ( where we live ) to tak e him to, but have been unseccessful. Do you know of any videos availabe with 4 cylinder pro-stockers running? Even recent ones would help me to share that sound with my son.

Once again, thanks for all your work. I have to get back to the forum now and see what other nuggets I can find.

Dennis Crews
Ft worth, Tx

I am attaching the pictures that Dennis writes about in his e mail.


07-10-2008, 08:16 PM
I think I know what Dennis' problem is ... I'll email him and get it straightened out :)

Master Oil Racing Team
07-10-2008, 09:06 PM
A big time racer that quit shortly after we started was Ed Holstein from Kansas City, Kansas I believe. I forget who was driving for Ed when we first met him, but Freddy Goehl drove his stuff around 1968-69, then Ozzie Robinison drove the following year.

07-11-2008, 05:58 AM
Holstein rings a bell, but I can't place him. I don't think I knew the others. Another was Bob Hursman. After he was killed in a truck accident in Joplin MO Stan Leavendusky bought his equipment including a DeSliva runabout that Butch ran. I think the number on it was Y-211. I believe it is in some of the pictures.

Master Oil Racing Team
07-11-2008, 06:49 AM
Tom, here is one of you and Butch in the beautiful pits of Winona rigging up in 1974. It was the Pro Eastern Divisionals. If you remember, I think it was a Thursday or Friday night that the northern lights started swirling around above Sugarloaf. Chuck and Jane Hall, myself and maybe Bill and Eileen Van Steewyk watched them until about midnight.

07-11-2008, 07:06 AM
I have this picture hanging on my office wall. In a phone conversation with Butch he mentioned that he had the same one up at his house. I will be seeing him soon (Friday 07/18/08) and will have copies of both disks. One of the guys has a lap top so I am hoping to be able to go over them with him.

Y-62/Crews/ Lowrey
07-11-2008, 05:34 PM
I know Tom posted the email where I thanked him for the work done on the video but let me also thank those who helped him with this. Mom and Dad have no computer right now so they have not seen this yet. They will stop by sometime this weekend to see it. I can't wait to relive the memories with them. I will get some of my pictures posted soon

Master Oil Racing Team
07-11-2008, 05:53 PM
Dennis...We are looking forward to your pictures. And hope you will add some stories. It's great that you will get you Mom and Dad to view all that's here. Hey Tom...thanks for getting some more people on board. This is some more history that would have been lost without past racers getting involved.

07-14-2008, 12:45 PM
I have been the commodore of the ODA for the last 10 years or so. We had an ODA race this weekend in Centralia, IL. My father was a long time racer in the ODA, Art Kampen, I have been racing with the ODA for the last 18 years. I told him to view the pictures you posted and he thought they were great. He said he remembers most of the races you have posted pics of. Charlie Lowrey was there on Sunday and had some great old ODA pics.

Doug Hall Y51
07-14-2008, 05:33 PM
Tom, thanks for all the pictures. I always enjoy seeing pictures of my dad. Would love to see more pics. I hope Stan makes it to the nationals this year. It is always good to see him. I also triied to get ahold of Paulie this week but we missed each other on the phone. Thanks again. Doug Hall

Y-62/Crews/ Lowrey
07-15-2008, 06:46 PM
This is my favorite picture. I am 7 yers old, sitting in a brand new Lowrey 11'-8" four-point that Grandpa had just finished building. If I remember right, I was going about 80 mph in my imagination there.


Here is the boat that Dad bought form you Tom. And I remember it being in just about that condition when he brought it home on the truck.


Here is Dad in that same boat after rebuilding it. This was at Greeneville, Il in 1972. I have a story to tell about this race.


07-15-2008, 08:16 PM
I've only lived in K.C. for about 10 yrs. but had the pleasure of meeting a fellow by the name of Shultz first name Joe , had no idea there was so much history in this area Was a while back , and damn he died too before we had more than a six - pack discussion , not before he told me about the bull ring called swope park and lake..... Wow you guys are too much.

Y-62/Crews/ Lowrey
07-15-2008, 08:19 PM
Charlie Lowrey is my Mom's cousin. I remember him being in a bad accident in washington Mo. in about 1975 -76. My dad had retired form driving and had gone to refereeing for the ODA. Just prior to the start, a driver who could not get his boat on plane decided to head the wrong way on the front stretch. The field was heading to the start at full speed. Dad yelled at the flagman to waive if the start, but he didn't, saying he thought the driver would get out of the way. He didn't get out of the way. As the boats parted in front of Charlie to avoid the other boat, he had to basically roll his boat to prevent a head-on collision. M dad was furious that the flagman did not waive of the start and he resigned immediatey in protest. We left the race...right then. I remeber Charlie, still soaking wet, heading up the bank to the judges stand to find out what had happened. Miraculously, Charlie was ok and as I remenber nobody else was injured either.

Doug Hall Y51
07-16-2008, 03:38 PM
Richard, there used to be alot of racing right around here back in the 60s and 70s. My dad used to race at Swope Park, Lake Contrary in St. Joe, Bean lake which is just outside of Atchison. They also raced on the river a couple of times. They used to race almost every weekend and never drive more than 3-4 hours. I wish we could say that now. One of our closest races is Depue which is 7 hours. Who knows, maybe we can put on another race like we did in St Joe about 5 years ago.

10-06-2009, 06:50 AM
I was at a race in Washington,MO about that time and witnessed and accident just about what your talking about while racing with the St.Louis ODA.