With a $20,059 payday up for grabs, there was already plenty on the line for the Paul “Butterball” Wooldridge Memorial at Richmond Raceway (KY) on August 21-22. Now, drivers will have even more incentive to win the event, with the victor receiving a trophy that is larger than life – literally and figuratively.
The “Trophy of Legends,” a trophy which stands seven feet tall and boasts a history dating back to 1988, will be presented to the winner of this year’s Butterball Memorial for the ULTIMATE Heart of America Super Late Model Series.
The Trophy of Legends’ origins are simple. In 1987, Mike Jewell, promoter of Southern Ohio Raceway at the time, presented a large trophy to one of his race winners. As soon as talk of the big prize – a more modest four feet tall at the time – spread, an idea was born.
“Way back when I owned Southern Ohio Raceway, everybody was giving away these trophies that were about two foot tall,” Jewell told Speed51. “In 1987, I gave one out that was about four feet tall and everyone started saying, ‘Did you see the size of that trophy at Southern.’ It got a lot of attention.”
“As time went on, we started giving out one big trophy a year, which at that time became the Famed Southern Trophy. Through the years, with all the names that have been added to it, we started naming it the Famed Trophy of Legends. It started out about four foot tall in 1988, and it got a little bigger.”
Jewell also decided early in the lifespan of the Trophy of Legends that it would not be one trophy which remained at his racetrack. Each winner of the trophy would receive a trophy, with names of past winners engraved on it, giving them a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
“The first partner I had, he wanted to keep the trophy at the track and keep it displayed with all the names. I decided we were going to give the trophy away and give one away every year.”
Jewell eventually stepped away from promoting at Southern Ohio, and the track would close years later. Many years later, Jewell brought the Trophy of Legends to another big race, reviving interest in the massive trophy.
“The old track I promoted had been closed for several years and had cattle running on it. I brought the trophy back out to memorialize the old racetrack. I brought it out, seven-and-a-half feet tall, and everyone was going crazy. We’ve been handing it out ever since.”
The Trophy of Legends has recently taken up residence at the Atomic 100, a major race each summer at Atomic Speedway in Ohio. However, that event was cancelled in 2020, and Jewell still wanted to present the trophy this year.
That led to a conversation with Richmond Raceway owner and promoter Bill Lupinos, lining up the trophy to be awarded as part of the Butterball Memorial.
“It’s now the official trophy of the Atomic 100, which was cancelled this year. I know Bill and everyone really well down at Richmond. I told them the trophy was available and I could bring it down, and they were tickled to death.
“I’ve known Bill for a long time and talked to him about bringing the trophy down. When the race was cancelled, the opportunity arose for it to be available this year. I made some plaque changes to it, added the names of previous Butterball Memorial winners along with the past winners of the trophy.”
The Trophy of Legends is a fitting moniker for the trophy. Ever since Billy Moyer won the first Trophy of Legends in 1988, some of the finest racers in Dirt Late Model competition have earned the win. Dirt Late Model Hall of Famers including Moyer, Donnie Moran, Delmas Conley and Jack Boggs.
“Well, that’s why we renamed it the Trophy of Legends. When I had Southern Ohio Raceway, this was before you had your Lucas Oil or World of Outlaws Late Models. When you had a big show, you had Billy Moyer, Donnie Moran, Steve Francis, Jack Boggs, Eddie Carrier, Sr., Delmas Conley.
“We had an overabundance of great drivers. As it went on with these big events, it became a pretty impressive list of drivers.”
Now, drivers will be competing to join that list of winners at the Butterball Memorial at Richmond Raceway.
For more information about the Butterball Memorial, visit ultimatesupers.com and richmond-raceway.net.
Stay tuned to Speed51 for more information regarding Speed51’s coverage plans for the Butterball Memorial as the Official Video Home of the ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Provided by Mike Jewell