Jackson/Mississippi Fairgrounds

First race track in Central Mississippi

As told by Jack Brown "MS Race Historian"

The absolutely first race track in Jackson was at the state fairgrounds.  It was about 3/4 or one mile long dirt oval.  The backstretch ran along about where High Street is now.  The grandstand, a massive wooden structure sat where the coliseum is now.  All I personally ever saw of this track myself as a small boy was a few fragments of the guard rail along where the back straight used to be.  My Dad told me that he saw the legendary Barney Oldfield actually race here in a Marmon and the place drew huge crowds for races held during the fair.   The race track closed about 1940 and a baseball field replaced it.  This baseball team was about all there was to do in Jackson right after WWII.   1946 was about the first year I ever went down there.  The grandstand continued to host musical/circus type shows during the fair each year plus an occasional outdoor rodeo/auto thrill show.   I remember as a kid some daredevil named King Kovaz doing a ramp jump into a pile of cars in a yellow 36 Ford sedan.  They knocked a hole in the baseball field's outfield fence so he could get the old Ford way outside the fairgrounds for a running start.  He started way back about where Shoney's is now and let the hammer down.  He made it about halfway over the pile of cars and crashed on top of them.  He immediately crawled out a window and waved to the cheering crowd.   Quite a showman.  I had to find him after the show and just stood and stared at him.  He must have known I was fascinated with his act, as he stopped loading his car and shook my hand.  I was hooked.  Tore up several Sears bicycles jumping ramps into cardboard boxes, piles of hay or anything else I could pile up.  The old grandstand stayed until 48 or 49 when a tornado blew the top off it.  Then in the early 50's it was torn down and replaced by the current coliseum.