Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> SAUGUS SPEEDWAY

Saugus Stadium Stock Car Racing Program


Saugus Stadium Stock Car Racing Program, n.d. (July 1962), 16 pages.

(Previously known as Bonelli Stadium; later known as Saugus Speedway.)

Pacific Rading Association / P.O. Box 311, Encino, Calif.

Officials:

Starter - Bob Pollard

Asst. Starter - George Ayers

Chief Steward - Jack Moore

Referee - Eddie Pagan

Track Steward - Charles Green

Chief Timer - Bob Finch

Scoring - Fern Moore, Mary Finch, Darlene Brown

Advertising - George Woodland

Photographer - Ernie Kleven

Announcer - Joe Vollkommer

Promotion - Tony Coldewey

Publicity - Geri Coldewey

Santa Clarita Valley advertisers:

Saugus Cafe, 25859-61 San Fernando Road

The Trails bar, 24733 N. San Fernando Road, with Coors beer on tap

Stage Coach Inn, 22968 Sierra Hwy.

Fred & Claire Ulrich's Newhall Rug Shop, 22515 W. 9th St.

Newhall Refining Co.

Bill Kite's Sierra Rocket Service, 18410 Sierra Hwy. at Solemint Junction


DRIVER PROFILES: Walt Price (point leader going into this race) and Phil Governale (No. 3 behind Eddie Gray, ahead of No. 4 Ron Hornaday).

WALT PRICE ... A native Californian born in the City of Angels on March 15, 1935, Walt now resides in the San Fernando Valley community of Sylmar. At the age of 27, Walt owns and manages a going business — Empire Muffler Service in San Fernando — with the same finesse with which he handles his Oldsmobile coupe. Walt's attractive wife, Caria, and their oldest son, Steven Vincent, age 3 years, rarely miss a chance to cheer #63 onto Victory, and wholeheartedly support Walt's automotive interests. Their youngest son, Walt Jr., only four months old, is still too young to enjoy his Dad's exciting racing career, but his parents are certain he'll soon join the ever-growing parade of Walt Price fans. In PRA Championship Point Standings for 1962, Walt holds a 45 point lead over second place Eddie Gray going into tonight's racing program. In PRA's recent election, Walt was elected to serve as a member of PRA's Drivers-Owners Committee. And, it's no wonder, for Walt Price, the race driver and car owner, has been one of the most active and loyal participants since joining the Association in 1959. Prior to his participation in early model stock car races, Walt's racing background includes some notable drag strip racing. The personable, blond chauffeur, not one to let his interests become stagnant, is in hopes of securing a ride in the NASCAR Late Models; and, looking even further into the future, Walt would like nothing better than to try his luck at either the Daytona International Speedway or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — and, if he has any choice in the matter, you can bet he'll probably choose them both!

PHIL GOVERNALE ... Voted PRA's Most Popular Driver for two years running, is another native Californian, born 30 years ago in the nearby city of Burbank. Wayne Sandy, Phil's cousin, is the person responsible for arousing Phil's interest in auto racing, an interest which had laid dormant for many moons. Wayne persuaded Phil to take a few laps around the Saugus Stadium oval, and the result is obvious — Phil took to stock car racing, like a duck takes to water! Sally, Phil's lovely wife, is also well-versed in the art of racing, as you'll see when she takes the controls of Phil's Satin Silver Oldsmobile in tonight's 10-lap Womens Race. In fact, if it hadn't been for Sally, Phil would've sold the Oldsmobile coupe he raced in '60 after winning the 100-lap PRA Grand Prix for $1,000, and most likely would've retired from the racing fraternity, but much persuasion, on Sally's part, convinced Phil otherwise. In 1961, Phil finished second overall in PRA Championship Standings, and going into tonight's 35-lap Main Event, Phil will be going all out to close-in on the first and second place leaders. During the week, Phil tackles the automotive problems he encounters in the running of his own business — Phil's Automotive in San Fernando. After hours, and, usually, after a spaghetti dinner (he wants nothing to eat but spaghetti before a race), he spends the evening hours working on the race car. Phil credits a great deal of his success to a real stock car authority — Jim Cook — and the most important lesson Phil learned was "ALWAYS DRIVE AHEAD OF YOURSELF" in order to avoid many of the mishaps which occur while racing!

— by Geri Coldewey


About Baker Ranch Rodeo / Bonelli Stadium / Saugus Speedway

About Saugus Speedway.

The future Saugus Speedway was built originally as a rodeo arena in 1927 by Roy Baker, brother of shoe magnate C.H. Baker.

Roy Baker purchased the 40-acre property east of Bouquet Junction in 1923 for the purpose of breeding and selling show and pleasure horses. To that end he imported saddle brood mares from Kentucky and studded them with a pedigreed, chestnut-colored saddlebred stallion named Peavine McDonald (b. 1910), which sired five pedigreed mares and four pedigreed colts between 1920 and 1936. Baker advertised that he had 2,500 acres of grazing land and also offered training and boarding services for outside horses.

Probably to attract horse buyers to his ranch in faraway Saugus, Baker staged rodeos. Some references suggest he built a 12,000-seat arena in 1924, but this is dubious. We do know he held a rodeo on the property on April 11, 1926. That December, Baker and partner Bob Anderson started construction on a new stadium, complete with partially covered grandstand seating and a quarter-mile oval track. When it opened May 1, 1927, it seated 18,000 fans, and thousands more had to be turned away for lack of room.

Over the next decade, ownership of the arena would change hands three more times.

As with a majority of the American populace, Baker was hit hard financially by the Great Depression of 1929 and was forced to sell the stadium to cowboy actor Hoot Gibson in 1930. Gibson continued to hold rodeos at the stadium and drew a Hollywood crowd including famous actors such as William S. Hart, Harry Carey, Tom Mix, and John Wayne. He also used the stadium as a movie set or leased it to other companies for film making.

But Gibson felt the effects of the Depression, as well. In September 1933 he appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom and pleaded poverty, saying he had no assets with which to repay a $2,500 loan. He testified that he owned a one-third interest in Hoot Gibson Inc., which owned the Saugus rodeo, and that it was in arrears.

In 1934, Gibson sold the stadium to Paul Hill, owner of the Western Livestock Stockyards, who continued to call it the Hoot Gibson Rodeo. As with his predecessors, however, the stadium brought Hill financial hardship when it was hit by the Great Flood of March 2, 1938. Heavy rains that year caused a river of water to flow down Soledad Canyon and filled the ranch home and arena with mud and debris. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the "old buildings ... collapsed during the March floods" and the arena was built anew.

Nonetheless, Hill lost the ranch sometime after the April 1938 rodeo. According to Reynolds, the property was repossessed by the bank. In 1939, ownership passed to William Bonelli, and it was renamed Bonelli Stadium.

Bonelli, a professor of economics at Occidental College, continued the annual rodeo tradition for a number of years but introduced auto racing in 1939 on a more frequent schedule; ultimately auto racing became the primary draw and Bonelli renamed the arena Saugus Speedway. Occasional rodeos and circuses continued until at least the late 1960s, auto racing until 1995. The facility was sometimes used for concerts before the grandstands were removed in 2012 (the originals had been replaced in 1955). The venue continues to host an outdoor swap meet.


LW2968: pdf from original program book purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.
BONELLI STADIUM

SEE ALSO:
• Saugus Speedway
• Fireball 500


* RACING PROGRAMS *


thumbnail

1st Postwar Midget Race 9/9/1945

thumbnail

Program 10/7/1945

thumbnail

Midgets 1945 x2

thumbnail

Photo Annual 1945/1946

thumbnail

Pit Pass 1945

thumbnail

Lineup ~1946

thumbnail

~1946

thumbnail

Pit Pass 4/21/1946

thumbnail

Program 5/26/1946

thumbnail

Program 11-3-1946

thumbnail

Walt Faulkner 1940s-50s

thumbnail

Program 7-24-1948

thumbnail

Program 1-29-1956

thumbnail

Program 12-30-1956

thumbnail

Program July 1962

thumbnail

Program 9/8/1962

(More to be Indexed)


RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ]
SCVHistory.com is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV • Additional copyrights apply