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Ride ‘Em, Cowboy! Jimmie Lynch’s Death Dodgers, c.1934

Auto thrill shows might seem old hat to some these days, but they are still a staple at State Fairs and other outdoor entertainment venues in this country. Performing stunts that would put the average motorist in jail, the hospital or worse if attempted on the public roads, pioneer outfits like those run by Joie Chitwood, Stoney Roberts, Lucky Teeter and Jimmie Lynch provided vicarious excitement for millions of fans for decades.

Our photo today features the last of that group and former Texarkana Dodge dealer Jimmie Lynch demonstrating his signature “Horse Car” that he actually drove from that position with the aid of hydraulic assists. Also proudly proclaimed were the many advanced design features that made the 1934 Plymouth his choice to survive the severe abuse inflicted on the cars in those performances. Lynch would remain loyal to the Chrysler Corporation throughout his career as a daredevil as can be seen in the very entertaining film just below. Photo courtesy of Alden Jewell.

18 responses to “Ride ‘Em, Cowboy! Jimmie Lynch’s Death Dodgers, c.1934

    • My grandfather was a friend of Jimmy Lynch and rode with Lucy Teeter and the hell riders and later with the death dodgers I to have some great photos. His name was Bill Williams nick named “Runt” his brother was called DL. I always wonder if anyone else has photos of my grandfather. Are if there are any of the Lynch family around?

      Leilani Hanna

    • Ginger, he was my grandfather too. Your dad was my dad’s half brother. I remember meeting you when your dad and mom came to visit my parents in Paris Texas when you were just a little tyke!

      • I recently received a letter from Bob Lynch telling me that he had some information about my Dad, Bob May aka Bob Maynard, who drove with the Death Dodgers. Do you have any idea who he might be?

  1. My father was the Dodge-Plymouth dealer in Vivian, LA.

    Jimmie Lynch came to town one day (could have been 1941 or 1942), set up a demonstration at the central intersection of the town, to demonstrate the new “Fluid Drive” Dodge, and perhaps to advertise his “Death Dodgers” performance at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport.

    Imagine my thrill as a small boy, getting to meet Jimmie Lynch in person, shake his hand, and later to attend his performance of “precision driving” (he made it clear in his public-address announcements, his team comprised “precision drivers,” NOT “daredevils”).

    Jimmie Lynch gave driving safety tips I remember to this day, using a “Socratic” question-and-answer teaching technique. For example, he asked: ” Where should you mount your best tires, front or rear?”

    While most would have said, “front,” the surprising answer was, “rear,” because–he said, one has some CONTROL over a front tire in the event of a blowout, with the steering; however, no directional control is available for a rear tire.

    This, and other safety tips (controlling skids, etc.), I remember today, over 70 years later.

    Thank you, Jimmie Lynch!

  2. My father, Bob May, drove with Jimmy Lynch in the 1930’s and early 1940’s . I remember his telling of going with the Lynch Show to California to film a Goodyear (as I remember) tire commercial and watching the filming of Atlanta burning in “Gone With The Wind.” He was a good friend of Buddy Toomey and they would see each other in the Washington, DC area until Toomey died. I have some great pictures of the show.

    • Judye,
      My Dad , Stan Ludwig was great friends with Buddy Toomey. Daddy grew up in D C and as I was told from the time I was very young, those two were “always up to something”. The last time I saw Uncle Buddy was a couple years before he passed. He drove to Florida to visit my Dad shortly before he passed away. As usual he kept us all laughing. Miss both those men so much.

      • What a nice memory. I wish I had asked my Dad, Bob, more about his days with Buddy. He and Buddy caught up with each other when we lived in the DC area, before they both died.

  3. My Father “Roland (Rollie) Bernson ” drove for Jimmy Lynch in the early 50s . I have some pictures but I would like copies of any others out there. My Father invented the “Ice Wall,” and was the first to jump the length of a school bus with a motor cycle.

  4. Judye, Buddy Toomey was my dad and “ByeBye” Boddie Toomey was my mom. I remember them speaking of your dad.

    Pauline, I remember your dad and mom very well. I last saw your mom at Kathleen Panzone’s funeral.

  5. Ginger Lynch, if I am remembering right, my mother, Mary Jo McCullough Bruce, was your father (Bob Lynch) cousin. Jimmie Lynch was my maternal grandmother’s (Willie Pauline Lynch McCullough) brother. Enjoyed hearing about their adventures. She got to visit them when they had the big show at the 1939 New York Worlds Fair.

  6. Howdy, I’m the great grandson of Jimmie Lynch. Grandson of Bob Lynch. My grandfather has written several books about the experiences with his father and the Death Dodgers. This was neat to find! – Tyler Hardie

  7. My dad rode a motorcycle for Jimmy in Paris TX somewhere in the 1940s. He rode the “wall”, rode through a burning board fence and shot balloons in the air with a 45 while riding his motorcycle laying on his back. His name was Albert “Jabo” Spann. I was a very young boy then and never got to see him perform or have ever seen any pictures. Just grew up hearing the stories. I still live in Paris.

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