Way back there in 1961, Joe and Bob Woodmansee owned a successful office machine store in downtown Bismarck. An unlikely duo to open a Go-Kart track. Bob was the stern businessman and Joe was the happy-go-lucky other half. They started with a dirt track, surrounded with hay bales and the next spring put in a beautiful, banked, oval, concrete track about 3/4 of a block long. i was hired that spring because my step-brother Gare ran the track. They brought in a monster pile of old tires and we bolted three of them together and painted them a bright yellow. On the West end, we kept the 12 karts in a boxcar and worked out of the side sliding door.
Bob would show up every Sunday in his khaki shorts and cap and was the designated flagman, which was a welcome sight with 500-600 customers a day on the weekends. He would stand out there and count the ten laps on his fingers behind his back. If the U.S. Prez would have come out, he still would only get ten laps. Half way through the season the novelty wore off and he never came back. Joe would come out every Friday night, after stopping for a few drinks out on the strip, and bring us our checks. Once in awhile he would bring a couple beers out for us to enjoy.
They still needed someone over 21 for insurance reason, so they hired Mr. Sleepy. Mr. Sleepy worked another job on graveyard, so he spent his time sleeping in the back of his 50 Dodge 4-dr. Once a shift, he would come out, fill the gas tanks on the karts, flirt with the young ticket girl and go back to sleep. Brother Gare quit early on and went to a higher paying job delivering grease rags to gas stations. i hired my best buddy Ron and the two of us snot-nosed 15 year old kids ran the track the next two years.
The first thing we did was to throw out the 10 lap rule in favor of 15, or whatever we felt like giving at the time. The 12 karts had 3 horse Clinton engines that matched the track perfectly. We took the metal restrictor plate off one of the karts....++++
which gave an amazing improvement in speed, and kept it for our special customers and friends. Mr. Indy was a mechanic at the the local Chev dealership in Mandan and was in his 50's at the time. He would come out every Wednesday (and sometimes Saturday nights) in his green/white 56 Chev 2-dr. post to get his weekly racing fix. His wife would be sitting beside him and would stay in the car and read or crochet. We would always pull out the Super Kart for him and keep the other karts down to 2 or 3, so they wouldn't get in his way. He would lap the other karts every 3 or 4 laps. The ultimate racer, he would scream down the straitaway high and swoop down on the ends, coming out high and never taking his foot off the gas. He looked like he was sitting in his strat-o-lounger in his living room watching Ward Bond on Wagon Train. Never a hair out of place. No one rode the track better. We would let him run for about a half hour or until he got tired and stopped on his own. The looky-loos in the parking lot would run to get their 50 cent tickets, thinking they would ride the Super Kart, but when the race ended, we would run it back in the boxcar. Everyone thought they were going to ride the Super Kart, BUT ONLY A FEW EVER DID....