Red Devils bobsled team, Charlie Keough, center top Noted local bobsledders included

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, February 9, 1961


Bill Mclaughlin & Howard Riley

Saranac Lake can claim the title "The Cradle of American Bobsledding" but in the cradle was another lusty baby by the name of Lake Placid.

"Tuffy" Latour and Paul Dupree were the big guns for the Saranac Lake Bobsled Club when Mt. Van Hoevenberg was still a novelty, winning the National A. A.U. Senior and Junior, the Adirondack Senior A.A.U. and the North American two-man titles.

"Tuffy" and Paul had a big following In those days. The second year that "Tufty" drove he won every championship race that he entered.

Latour was the first bobsled champion to come out of Saranac Lake since the days of Hank Homberger and his Red Devils.

Also driving at that time were John Dewey, Charlie Keough and of course, Dean of American Bobsledders, Monroe Flagg, who just this season proclaimed he was "hanging up his helmet."

The Saranac Lake Bobsled club was established in 1940 with these men listed as charter members: Al Shortt, Paul Dupree, Joseph Ryan, Donald Dupree, Monroe Flagg, Charles Keough, Tuffield Latour, James Bickford, George Stearns and William Dupree.

Mt. Van Hoevenberg is the only bobsled run in the world that has a starting point at the half-mile mark, probably because of the passenger feature maintained by the Conservation Department.

Police Officers and bobsledding seem to mix well with many officers taking up the sport. Chuck Pandolph, Neil Rogers, Francis Tyler (policeman at one time in L.P.) and now Platt Harris of the BCI. Bill Miller, Harris' partner in crime — detection, says he thinks Platt may have a touch more of Silver in his hair since he took up the sport.

The current booklet published by the Saranac Lake Bobsled Club is dedicated to Gene Brewster, Chief Driver at the bobrun for the New York State Conservation Department. Many people in Saranac Lake will probably remember Gene or one of his brothers or sisters as they used to live at 23 Pine Street during the 40s.

Speaking of Conservation Department drivers, we have often heard through the years that Leon Gonyea was one of the best. We also remember a small bobsled that the Gonyea children had that was a replica of the big ones. It is logical to assume that Leon built this sled.

When you hear of sledders getting their face scraped as Austrian Paul Asie did just the other day you wonder why they no longer wear the leather face masks that were used in the early days of this sport.

A story in Collier's magazine, January 13, 1934 with a Quentin Reynolds byline is titled Sliding to Glory, Hubert Sievens of Like Placid tells of heating his sled runners to reduce friction until this trick was banned by the International Bobsleigh Federation. And brother Ray tells of rounding hit runners to give him speed but he couldn't control the sled.

Lake Placid News, Friday, January 1, 1943


Bobsleding Fraternity Hit As Racers Change Color And Character Of Helmets

As the winter progresses there is speculation as to the outcome of the racing season at the Olympic bob run at Mt. Van Hovenberg

Big names in "bobbing" circles whose seats on the run have made history of sled speed, are now doing their bit for uncle Sam.

Jimmy Bickford of Saranac Lake considered the ace driver of the past few seasons, is with the U. S. marines at the Great Lakes nava! training station.

Andrew Fortune, now a full-fledged pilot with the U. S. air force, was one of the good drivers of the past two seasons.

Alexis Thompson, sportsman and owner if the Philadelphia Eagles, pro-football team, was a very enthusiastic bob sled driver. He is now at Newport News, Va.

Monroe Flagg, Saranac Lake, who started two years ago with the two-men sleds and last year graduated into the four-man class, is now with the air corps at Lockbourne air base, Columbia, O.

Another member of the Saranac Lake Red Devils, Tuffield Latour, recently left for the U, S. navy and has been assigned to duty at the Brooklyn naval hospital. Latour holds several trophies, won with his sled.

Hugh Bickford, Jimmy's brother, who used to brake for his brother on the two-men teams, is now with the U. S. navy at the naval training barracks at Memphis, Tenn.

Sgt. Charles Keough is with the school squadron in the U. S. air corps at Shawfield, Sumter, S. C. Keough was an ardent sportsman in all breath-taking events. Not only a daredevil bobsled driver but also known in outboard motorboat racing circles, he was a contestant in the Albany-New York race for three seasons.

R. H. Morse, one of a four-man team, is a private in a medical training unit at Camp Pickett, Va. Others who rode sleds are George Stearns, now with the marines at New River, N. C., and Paul Duprey, engineers corps, Camp Gruber, Okla.

William D'Amico, widely known brakeman who has ridden many winners, is at Lawrenceville, Ill.. D. Duprey, also a crew member, is with an officers training unit at Camp Davis, N. C

Alex Thompson hopes to be able to get a furlo to visit Placid this winter during the time one of the major meets is held.

Opinions in the bob sledding fraternity are to the effect that as soon as the war is over there will be a decided upswing of this thrilling sport.

Lake Placid News, November 21, 1947


Last Year's Decision Bars Fair Sex From Racing In Men's Events

Announcement by the Saranac Lake Bobsled club that it will make an effort to solicit the interest of women in the sport of bobsledding on Mt. Van Hoevenberg revives the ruling last year by the nationai A.A.U. that women may not enter into major competition with the men racers.

If the Saranac Lake club succeeds in enlisting women in their ranks, full teams will have to be organized if they are to enter competition and in sufficient numbers so that all-women races maybe scheduled. The ruling, according: to the announcement last year was not taken to mean that women were completely barred from racing but only that they could not take part in the same event as the men racers, leaving the remote possibility that some time there would be enough women bobsledders to stage their own events. The ruling: in regard to the women was not new last year but an opinion was secured on an old one in the A.A.U. books which was misinterpreted here for several years. It is the same one which applies to women competing in the same swimming races and other athletic events in which men participate.

The opinion resulted in disgruntlement in some quarters here, especially from the spectator angle as many expressed themselves as much interested in watching the women vie with men in the rigorous sport. However the men racers were never keen to have their field of endeavor invaded by females and were relieved when the new interpretation came forth and they were left to themselves. However this did not cut down the numbers of women who practice on the run and ride for the sake of riding.

Miss Katharin Dewey, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Godfrey Dewey of Lake Placid, was one of the pioneers in racing, first braking for her father and later piloting her own sled which eventually came thru to win the national senior A.A.U. title. This came after 12 successive weeks of consistent racing competition in 1940. Miss Dewey has just been made head nurse of the urology department at St. Luke's hospital in New York.

Lake Placid News, March 7, 1947


Tyler, d'Amico, Pat Martin And Fortune Included on Team; Stevens Mgr.

Four Lake Placid men were named to the 15-man 1948 Olympic bobsled team by the seven-man Olympic bobsled committee, headed by George Stearns of Saranac Lake, at a meeting of that group at the arena on Sunday afternoon. Announcement of the squad was made at the annual bobsled banquet held Sunday evening at the LeBourget restaurant in this village.

Local men named to the team were Fred Fortune, Jr., pilot of the United States number two 2- man sled; Francis Tyler, driver of the United States number two 4-man sled and Bill D'Amico and Pat Martin, members of Tyler's squad. Another Lake Placid man, and a veteran of two Olympic teams, J. Hubert Stevens, was named manager of the squad.

Tuffield "Tuffy" Latour and Leo "Stubby" Martin of Saranac Lake, were chosen as the number one United States 2-man team while huge Schuyler Carron of Au Sable Forks was picked to brake for Fortune on the other 2-man sled. Fortune and Carron captured the North American title and placed second in the Olympic trials, while Latour drove to victory in both the nationals and Olympic trials and finished second to Fortune in the North Americans. Wrightman "Bud" Washbond of Keene Valley, son of Alan Washbond, who teamed with Ivan Brown to annex the 1966 Olympic 2-man title, was chosen as the alternate 2-man driver.

Jim Bickford and his husky Saranac Lake crew of Pat Buckley, Hugh Bickford and Bill Duprey were named as the number one 4-man team, with Francis Tyler, veteran Olympic driver, and his crew of Pat Martin, Ed Rimkus and D'Amico being named as the number two team.

Joe Meconi of Au Sable Forks, who came through to win the North American 4-man title, was named the alternate 4-man driver and Adrian Aubin, also of Au Sable Forks, was selected as the alternate rider.

A coach for the squad will be named at a later date.

Steams, as spokesman for the committee, said that, "If skeleton bobs are included in the Olympic games, we will attempt to have tryouts on the St. Moritz run in January to enable us to pick teams."

Of the fifteen-man squad only Jim Bickford and Francis Tyler were on the 1936 team, which competed at Garmisch - Partenkirchen, Germany last time the games were held prior to World War II.

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2012-02-26 18:33:03   Don't forget Brent Rushlaw from Saranac Lake..4 time Olympian.National Champion numerous times and many other titles in his career. —

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