It was 1956. In an open field, on an otherwise wooded 77-acre abandoned farm, located on a narrow dirt road in the Town of Busti, a dream became reality. There, on the Kortwright Road, just a couple of miles from their homes in neighboring Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania, five men began construction of a dirt oval that would change their lives and the lives of all who came in contact with Stateline Speedway from that day forward...
So begins Randy Anderson, the narrator of "Stateline Speedway - The First Ten Years" a documentary film that will be shown on Saturday, April 27th at noon in the Slater Room of the Warren Public Library.
The movie, written and produced by Anderson and his associates Greg Peterson and Randy Sweeney, all of Lakewood, N.Y., chronicles the fascinating first decade in the fifty-five year history of the Busti, NY oval built by Sugar Grove residents Len Briggs, Lloyd Williams, Marv Thorpe, Don Frank and Jerry Frank.
Using video-taped interview with over fifty individuals associated with the early history of the track as owners, drivers, mechanics, officials and fans, the priceless collection of the late track photographer Gordon Mahan, and selected home movies, the film makers have brought to the screen the trials and tribulations of the five original owners in building the race track, along with the challenges and enormous successes they experienced from 1956-1965.
From the very first race in July of 1956 won by Warren's Emory Mahan in his famous #8- ball to the l00-lap Grand Championship race of 1965 captured by Busti's Bobby Schnars at the wheel of his #M-1, all the early heroes of stock car racing are returned to their glory days. See Stateline pioneers Squirt Johns, Ronnie Blackmer, Hyle Russell, Joe Sauner, Tom Dill, Freddy Knapp, Chuck Piazza, Floyd Fanale, Kenny Johnson, Dean Layfield, Jim Patrick, Kenny Shearer, Eddie Kisko, Sammy LaMancuso, Kenny See, Jim Scott, Dave Turner, Johnny Whitehead - the daring young men and their fabulous race cars that paved the way for the Stateline Speedway stars of today.
Following the viewing of the 90-minute movie, the trio of producers and their special guest Ron Blackmer will participate in a question and answer session. Ron Blackmer was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in February 2013 and in the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. "This Youngsville, PA native racked up 133 feature wins in the Sportsman Division, almost three times more than his closest competitor. He also won four Sportsman championships at Stateline and six at Eriez, along with four S-E Circuit Sportsman championships. He also collected 62 second-place finishes and 26 thirds along the road."
The film "Stateline Speedway - The First Ten Years" is being presented as a community service project. There will be no admission charged. DVD copies of the film will be available for purchase. Pre-registration, as a courtesy to the presenters, is appreciated but not mandatory. Call the Warren Library at 723-4650 to register for this afternoon of racing history.