By LARRY PHILIPS
• Leader & Times
When Liberal’s J.C. president R.J. Leete contacted Vicar Roland Collins in Olney in 1949, he envisioned a friendly competition between the women of both towns where that would compare their Pancake Day Race times and see who could claim an “International title.”
The first race was in February of 1950.
Liberal’ first race winner was Billy Warden. But Warden, years later, said the race layout had been too long and she had thought she was on the wrong street and stopped to wait for the others. Needless to say, that first time she ran was not nearly good enough to beat Olney’s first international racer, Florence (Callow) Mynart.
Mynart was in attendance Tuesday evening as Olney’s special guest when the Liberal-Olney video link-up was made. Mynart, 83, told the Liberal audience her time that first race between the two cities.
“I ran it in one-minute, 10,” she said. “Back then, we didn’t train or anything. I got off work and went down to run. I won it and then went back to work.”
Mynart later told how she got involved with the race in 1950.
“There were advertisements all around from the Vicar,” she said. “I just decided to give it a go.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: I feel privileged and honored to probably be the only newspaper person to ever meet and talk with both the winners in that very first race 1n 1950 between Liberal and Olney. Both women proved to be quite charming.