URSS John Keenan Memorial set for Saturday in Oberlin

By the URSS

OBERLIN, Kan. -- Racing was in his blood, and John Keenan couldn't get enough of dirt track racing.

He also had a strong love for his family. So it seems right the two would be brought together to honor the life of Keenan, who died in November at age 64.

Rick Salem and Beaver Valley Supply Co. Inc. in Atwood have teamed up to host the John Keenan Memorial Spring Sizzler on May 4 at Decatur County Speedway in Oberlin. The night will feature the 305 sprint cars of the United Rebel Sprint Series, which was founded by Salem.

Gates open at 5 p.m., with races starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for those age 6 to 12. Those younger than 6 are free.

"He never missed a race anywhere around here," Salem said. "We has a great race fan and family man. He was just a super, super guy."

Keenan died Nov. 11. He was a 1966 graduate of Jennings High School and eventually graduated from Fort Hays State University. He served in the U.S. Navy.

He was a truck driver for Halliburton prior to moving on to work at Beaver Valley Supply.

"John was a very loyal employee to Beaver Valley. The only time he would take off from work was to be with his kids or grandkids and races," according to a statement from the company.

The May 4 event will include bike races for children, and children bringing a bike to the track will get free admission.

The night also will feature a chicken chase for URSS drivers. It's sure to provide great entertainment for the fans and a little fun for the drivers competing, Salem said. The race will be a two lap timed event, with the drivers stopping on the front straight before the end of their second lap. They then will get out, remove their helmet and run into a pen where three chickens await. They must catch one chicken and run to the finish line to complete their time, Salem said.

"You'll laugh until you have tears in your eyes with this," he said. "This was a deal John and I talked about that would really be entertaining for the whole family, and I thought it fitting we include it in this special night for John. I can assure you every fan in the stands will have their favorite driver to root for after this."

Salem expects a good contingent of drivers to compete at the memorial show, including racers from Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The weekend also offers the Rebels a chance to compete two nights during the weekend. On May 5, the URSS heads to Dawson County Raceway in Lexington, Neb.

The Oberlin race will also be broadcast live on Be sure to tune in as Mike Wilson calls all the nights action live.

For more information about the URSS, visit