The Rural Olympics Hall of Fame committee has selected the following seven candidates for induction in 2006.
Pictured at right front row: Harold “Red” Dog Mansperger; Ray McCormick; Bill Rawlings, for dad Scott Rawlings. Back row Dean Berg; Walt Detjen; Joann Losey, widow of Lester Losey; and Glenn Losey.
Dean won the Truck and Trailer Backing contest the very first year he competed in 1961. From 1961 through 1978 Dean won the backing competition eleven times, and placed in the top three places all eighteen years. Dean set a new record in 1966 which was not broken until 1973 by Bill Offinga. In 1979 Dean moved to Santa Rosa and did not race again until 1995 when he returned to reclaim the record Bill Offinga had taken from him in 1973. Dean returned for his final Rural Olympics in 1996 and again set a new record and retired as a winner.
The early 1960’s also found Dean competing in the signature event of the Rural Olympic, the Hay Loading contest. Though he was not as proficient in the Hay Loading as he was in the Truck and Trailer Backing Dean still managed to finish in the top three the first four times he tried.
Dean was also instrumental in promoting the Most Beautiful Truck award and found sponsors for it.
As of 2006 Dean Berg was still driving a gravel truck and trailer in the Fontana area.
Walt Detjen has the longest standing record in Rural Olympics history. He has held the record in the Tractor Stake Race With Sickle Bar at 58.8 seconds since 1972. Walt first entered this race in 1968 and won on his first attempt. He has competed in this very challenging event every year since, winning thirteen times. In his prime Walt won eight consecutive years from 1970 through 1977.
Two years prior to entering the Tractor Stake Race With Sickle Bar Walt competed in the Antique Car Potato Race. Not only did he win on his first attempt, he also set a new Rural Olympics record with his partner John Schatz stabbing the potatoes. Walt has driven to victory six times in this highly competitive race. 2006 will be Walt’s forty-first consecutive year competing in the Potato Race. In 2010 Walt officially retired from the Rural Olympics with a victory in the Potato Race. A Legend of the Rural Olympics banner was also hung in the Antelope Valley Rural Museum in his honor.
Glenn and Lester Losey
“THE LOSEY BROTHERS”
Since the1950’s the name “Losey Brothers” has been synonymous with the Rural Olympics. If any persons could be said to be legends in the Rural Olympics it would Glenn and Lester Losey.
In 1950 the brothers entered the hay loading event for the second time. They not only won but also set a new record. 1952 was the final year of loading the hay by hand. Glenn and Lester beat all competitors including some of the new mechanical loaders. In 1954 the two brothers competed against each other for the first and only time in the hay loading event. Glenn nosed Lester by only two seconds.
Glenn Losey won the hay loading twelve consecutive years from 1950 through 1961, resetting the record seven times. He was the record holder for eighteen years from 1950 through 1967. Glenn was also proficient at the Truck and Trailer backing. From 1951 through 1964 he won five times, established new records four times, and placed in the top three nine times. Glenn also served on the Rural Olympic Committee through the 1970’s.
Lester Losey won the hay loading event ten times with his brother Glenn, and set the record six times. He was the record holder for sixteen of the eighteen years from 1950 until 1968. Lester was also an excellent truck driver, placing in the top three in the truck and trailer backing contest at least seven times from 1954 through 1963. He also served several years on the Rural Olympics Committee. Lester Losey passed away in 1973.
Harold “Red Dog” Mansperger
Harold “Red Dog” Mansperger first competed in the Rural Olympics Tractor Race and Hay Loading Mechanical Field Loader (three man team) under a different name in 1947. He does not remember the name because he was entered by someone else since he was only fourteen years old, four years too young according to the rules. He continued to do this for a few years.
Red Dog became part of Rural Olympic lore beginning in 1971 when he won the Hot Rod Tractor Race five straight years. In 1976 the Hot Rods were discontinued because of safety and insurance concerns.
The tractors were capable of speeds up to 90 mph and raced the oval at about 60 mph. Tractor racing returned to the fairgrounds with the introduction of the Antique Tractor Race in 1982. Red Dog won in 1984 and set a new record in 1986. He has won this race eight times and been in the top three places nearly every year.
The Gravel Truck and Transfer event was introduced to the Rural Olympics in 1971. Red Dog competed this first year and for well over twenty years was a crowd favorite wining occasionally and more often than not finishing in the top three.
His first year in the Rural Olympics was 1959, and he has been an active participant and committee member ever since. Ray has competed in more different events than any other contestant ever. He has won numerous events and held several records over the years. As a member of the Rural Olympics committee he has helped develop and fine tune many of the events we see today. In 2006 Ray is being inducted into the Rural Olympics Hall of Fame and will have been a loyal and dedicated committee member as well as a faithful Rural Olympics contestant for 47 years.
The list of events Ray McCormick has competed in since 1959 include:
• Hay Loading Mechanical Field Loader (3 man team)
• Hay Loading Automatic Field Loader
• 1 1/8 Mile Tractor Race
• Tug of War
• Antique Tractor Race
• Tractor and Semi-Trailer Backing
• Truck and Trailer Backing
• Gravel Truck and Transfer
• Model “T” Ford
•Race Antique Car Potato Race
In 2006 Ray helped develop and competed in two new events; the Model “T” Ford Dash, and the Tractor Barrel Race.
Scott first raced his Model T Ford in the Rural Olympics in 1962 in the four laps Antique Car Race which pitted Dick Kingston’s Dodge against three of the much less powerful Model T Fords. Officially the Dodge outran the three Fords in 1962 and 1963. Unofficially Scott maintained that he won the Model T races both years and the Dodge was just the pace car. Scott was instrumental in bringing this race to the Rural Olympics as well as rules changes which officially made it the Model T Ford Race in 1964 and changed the race from four laps to three laps plus a pit stop and tire change in 1967 with a ride-along mechanic.
Scott won the four lap Model T Race in1964, 1965. He continued his winning streak after the pit stop was added, winning in 1966 with his neighbor Knute Edwards as mechanic and with his son Bill in 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, & 1973. 1969 was the only year he came in second to another Model T Ford. He held the record continuously from 1962 until 1985, with his 1970 record remaining intact until 1985.
In 1964 Scott was also involved with bringing the popular Antique Car Potato Race to the Rural Olympics. He also drove to victory in that first year with Knute Edwards stabbing the potatoes.
Scott raced in later years in the Antique Tractor Race, but basically retired from competition in 1974 when he became a committeeman and served as chairman of the Model T Ford Race, The Antique Car Potato Race, the Farmer’s Handicap, and the Antique Tractor Race. Scott Rawlings served on the Rural Olympics committee until his passing in 1996.