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Letter: Horse once ran in Magnolia, too

By Marvin Kroontje, Magnolia

First of all, I enjoy the design of the Daily Globe. Good job; well done. I also enjoy the trips down memory lane with Ray Crippen’s Saturday column.

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The Aug. 31 column on horses and horse racing reminded me of the former horse racing track and thinning tree grove that remains a mile south of the city of Magnolia and just south of Interstate 90. When I was a teen-ager I baled hay next to this grove, and the oval was plain to see. Before I-90 came through, the Johnson brothers (Johnnie and Billy) were still riding and jumping their horses on the old track.

According to the Rose history book of Rock and Pipestone counties, this was a well-equipped race track. It had a grandstand, crow’s nest, a refreshment stand and a stable barn. How long ago was this? It doesn’t say. But one of the track’s promoters was Johnnie Bowron, and his son, “Dallas,” just celebrated his 99th birthday. John Bowron was a trade trader, livestock and grain dealer. Another promoter was Ben Davis, who was a wrestler and boxer and raised race horses. His boxing and wrestling fights drew many to watch.

Horse racing and polo games were held regularly at tha time. The former track must be in some sort of reserve, as it is now land-locked and would have long ago been turned into plowed ground and crops if it was privately owned.

So, the next time you pass Magnolia on I-90 and gaze south to see the thinning tree grove, you will know “the rest of the story.”