Today’s inductee into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame might instill stories I have not heard and hopefully so, because today’s inductee is very critical in the history books to not only Riverside Stadium but the City of Riverside. He is the person who inspired me by seeing a sign to a park carrying his name to begin this Hall of Fame. I am sure I met this inductee when I was a child either at his place of business or at the racetrack. However, I really don’t have a history with him, it took doing some research to discover who he was and how he has a place in history, racing and otherwise.
He began by building a little building, installing gas pumps, and had a $150 inventory to start out. This occurred in 1948. The name of his gas station was the Red X which is the name of the company the filling station got its’ gas. His son stated in an article I was reading that his dad always wanted a nice four-letter word.
The land where his Red-X sat, was in an unincorporated portion of Platte County. Rumors were flying that either Parkville or Kansas City were going to annex this area. The owner of the Red-X got together with Fred Filger and Vic Panus and had a meeting with Parkville. Parkville agreed not to annex the area but instead convinced them to incorporate to avoid annexation by Kansas City. In 1951 Riverside became incorporated.
Also, in 1951, Riverside Stadium opened on ground formerly known as Riverside Park, a horse racing facility famous for its visits by Kansas City Mayor Tom Pendergast during the 1930s. Riverside Stadium was a half mile track in the early 50s as listed in the IMCA records of races won by Ralph Dyer in 1952 and Ernie Derr in 1953. Eventually the track was shortened to ¼ mile.
Somewhere along the line and maybe initially I will leave that for an oldtimer, older than me to inform us but somewhere our inductee Mr. Ed Young became the owner of Riverside Stadium. He also was Mayor of Riverside for a period. The infamous Red-X, still in business, became a place for groceries, for hardware, for gas, for playing the lottery. As a child Riverside Stadium was my Dad and I’s Saturday night, Dad even holding that as a reason to apologize to my mother or no racing one Saturday during my teenage years. It was also the place to ride rides, to look at ourselves in the carnival mirrors, to purchase fireworks for July 4, all this made possible by Mr. Young.
Riverside Stadium where I started my first race in 1988 in the sixth heat on the pole and was in last by Turn 1, something about a steering wheel catching on a belly! Yes, we had great promoters over the years, Larry Kaster and Jim “Hoss” Harkness to name a couple but they were leasing the track from Mr. Young.
So much of our racing history, some of it forgotten, some of it yet to be captured, but quite a bit of it because Mr. Young owned Riverside Stadium. Whether he knew it or not Mr. Ed Young was a huge part of our local racing history. Today he has park near the Argosy Casino named after him, the E. H. Young Park. Driving by that sign in Riverside caused me to create the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame. Amazing how history can inspire people years later!
This induction I hope inspires stories of Mr. Young and what he meant to many in the racing community. I do know this much in my years in racing, thank you owners for giving us a place to race, a place to enjoy our sport!