I have been blessed to know two of the greatest men who have ever walked on this earth, Clyde Ellis and Mickey Finn. You could say they were angels on earth. Clyde was the Godfather of the Kansas City racing community and by Godfather that is meant as a compliment. Clyde supported racing, even though it took his left arm away from him in a racing accident. Mickey Finn, could have also been the Godfather, the Godfather of North Kansas City. Mickey, along with Bill Grigsby, started the Snake Saturday parade. Both men owned a piece of North Kansas City, Clyde owning Seeburg Mufflers, Mickey owning NKC Pro Bowl and Finnigan’s Hall. Both men supported local auto racing.
In 1995, Mickey had purchased the building which was formerly the Gold Buffet. C.A.R.B. was looking for a place to hold the annual banquet. Randy and Dana Ainsworth met with Mickey and ultimately the Board of Directors agreed to hold the 1995 Banquet as the opening event at Finnigan’s Hall. I asked Mickey how many the hall would hold and he said we could not sell enough tickets. That year we sold 1010 tickets to the banquet and guess what the building did not hold that many. This was the start of a long relationship between Finnigan’s and C.A.R.B., for the annual banquet and the monthly meetings.
Mickey and Clyde worked together to bring the Clyde Ellis Race On, the annual preseason car show, to be a part of the Snake Saturday festivities. Every year C.A.R.B. has put on this event since 1990 as part of the festival area events for the children. Drivers have picked up sponsors at this event. Race fans get their schedules for the years, and drivers start the season with this event. Two great men made this happen.
As Clyde’s health started failing, Mickey would visit Clyde and take him out to lunch. Towards the end Mickey and his wife Judy would bring food to the house. Mickey was very private with his health issues. He was losing his hearing and then suffered from cancer. Still he was involved as much as he could be in his creation the Snake Saturday events, until his last days. What Mickey created was an organization that has given away over $1,000,000 dollars to northland charities over the last 29 years.
Clyde led to Diana and I becoming officials with his recommendation to Bob Baker before the 1995 season. Mickey Finn asked me at Lakeside Speedway last year to be his replacement at Northland Festivals. I could not tell the man – no. Those are huge shoes to fill. I hope 28 years from now to have continued Mickey’s legacy and Clyde’s commitment. It has been an honor to know both of these men, to learn from these men, and to help continue what they have created. Thank you Lord for loving us and providing us these great men!