2018 marks the 90th anniversary of the International Transcontinental Footrace of 1928. This was an endurance marathon along Route 66 from Los Angeles, CA, to Chicago, IL, and on to New York City. The total distance for the race was 3,423.5 miles. Andy Payne, a small-town 20-year-old man from Foyil, Oklahoma, entered the race. He planned on using the $25,000 prize to save his family farm and marry his sweetheart. There were 199 racers to start, but only 55 finished the grueling race.
Andy was in the lead as they hit the halfway point of the race in Chelsea, Oklahoma. It was a big splash with large crowds and Governor Henry Johnston and Will Rogers greeting them. In Will Rogers’ Daily Telegrams you’ll find a quote about the race. “Andy Payne, the foot racer, has just come home, and Claremore has given him a big welcome. I had to rush home to protect my own interest. I am about to lose my favorite-son standing.” (source: Will Rogers Memorial Museum, 2008) Andy Payne, an Oklahoma hero, won the race finishing in 573 hours, 4 minutes, and 34 seconds.
In honor of the 90th Anniversary, the Oklahoma Route 66 Association will celebrate by having a motorized relay race with association members carrying a commemorative plaque across the state from the Texas line to the Kansas line. The 2018 Bunion Derby will take place Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14. Everyone is invited to caravan along with the relay. You can also cheer the caravan on along the way! They will be coming through Claremore on the original stretch of Route 66 (now known as JM Davis Boulevard) to the JM Davis Gun Museum.
The relay schedule for April 14th:
9:26 am: Go from the Blue Whale to the JM Davis Gun Museum. They’ll be at the JM Davis Gun Museum from 9:55 am-10:10 am for a short break and photo ops. Keith Austin, Cherokee Tribal Councilor, will be reading a proclamation from Principal Chief Bill John Baker honoring the 90th anniversary. At 10:11 am they will depart the JM Davis and travel to the Andy Payne Statue Park in Foyil. They’ll take a 10 minute break for photo ops before heading to Chelsea for a drive by the Route 66 Pedestrian Underpass at 10:45 am. If you want to keep up with them past Chelsea, they’ll be going through Afton to the Afton Station and finishing at the Kansas state line.