Drag Boat and Water Speed Record Racer Memorial

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Bucko
Site Owner
Posts: 9

The same day, June 4, 1967, as Mr. Lawson was killed, earlier in the day Robert ( Bob) Byrd was killed at Lake Hulah in OK at a drag race. Bob had run in and won a race in California earlier that year. His boat had two inline big block Chevrolet engines running on gas. They gave him a record from the race in California at the time for twin engine un-blown gas boats. He beat Buzz Coates twin engine boat that had small block chevies but ran on fuel when he was in California. As was the case everywhere at the time, the races in OK were run in mile an hour classes. Any boat running a certain speed was placed in a class with other boats, no matter what hull type, engine, etc., with other boats running within the same 5-10 MPH range. Bob was in the final of his class against a blown fuel hydro of the day out of Texas (Ken Youngblood). Bob's boat started to lift during the race. He got out of the throttle and after the boat settled down he got back in the throttle while still at speed. The boat again came up and chined to the right and crashed. Bob was struck in the chest by the propeller and died. Bob started out racing a cracker box class boat. He then began serious drag racing with an injected Buick engine in a pure flatbottom. As you already know he stepped quite a ways up when he went to the power of the twin big block 427 Chevy engines in a flatbottom. Just FYI, the race Bob was killed at was sponsored by the Exchange Club Of Bartlesville OK as a promotion for the lake and area. I doubt if they would have a club archive to refer to but maybe so. I think the race itself was administered by the old Oklahoma City Drag Boat Association which has nothing to do with the current OKC Drag Boat group so I doubt if that would be an avenue to find out more information either. No one in the current OKC boat club was around in 1967. This is probably more than you wanted to know but I do think Bob's name deserves to be on your list for recognition of his involvement in drag boat racing. rising through many classes.  (Bob Fisher)

 

 

August 1, 2011 at 9:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Bucko
Site Owner
Posts: 9

I drove Bob's trailer and boat back to his home in Oklahoma City while my father drove Bob's wife home so she and the remains of the wrecked boat were separated. . . .  I was just shy of eighteen at the time.   In case you wonder why I am so interested in getting Bob noted, he was a good friend of my father's. . . . So, this topic to cover Bob, who did not make it through his ordeal, is of a lot of interest to me. By the hour of the day here in Oklahoma, I think Bob was the first fatality in drag boat racing even before Mr. Lawson since Mr. Lawson was running two hours later in the day in California. This is not a distinction for Bob, but is just a little clarity for someone's life and death in the sport.  (Bob Fisher)

 

August 2, 2011 at 8:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

James
Member
Posts: 2

Bucko at August 2, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I drove Bob's trailer and boat back to his home in Oklahoma City while my father drove Bob's wife home so she and the remains of the wrecked boat were separated. . . .  I was just shy of eighteen at the time.   In case you wonder why I am so interested in getting Bob noted, he was a good friend of my father's. . . . So, this topic to cover Bob, who did not make it through his ordeal, is of a lot of interest to me. By the hour of the day here in Oklahoma, I think Bob was the first fatality in drag boat racing even before Mr. Lawson since Mr. Lawson was running two hours later in the day in California. This is not a distinction for Bob, but is just a little clarity for someone's life and death in the sport.  (Bob Fisher)

 

I knew your father (Wes Fisher) very well and a few of the old Oklahoma Ski and Drag Boat club may still remain in and probably still live in the OKC area and I would love to hear from them. I was dogone near a fatality at a demo race at Ponca City, Okla about a year prior to Bob's tragic accident.

September 29, 2012 at 3:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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