The Story of Kansas

Today's trivia (August 22)

On a hot summer’s day in 2006, the town of Speed turned into an automotive Field of Dreams.

More than 5,000 car enthusiasts and collectors from around the nation descended on the northwest Kansas town of 37 residents to celebrate a festival like no other.

They honored car culture and, more importantly, Hot Wheels, those tiny, die-cast toy cars that do loop-de-loops on plastic tracks.

"Hot Wheels is all about speed, power and performance, so holding an event in a city named Speed makes perfect sense," said Geoff Walker, the vice president in charge of marketing Hot Wheels for Mattel Inc., when he was interviewed by a Wichita Eagle reporter at the time.

Located in Phillips County near the Nebraska line, the town of Speed never had much fame since the "Kansas Comet," football player Gale Sayers, made the NFL in the 1960s.

Understandably, fame with Speed underwent a dry spell.

So in May of 2006, when Mattel officials first approached Speed city officials and the Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce asking if they could host a daylong Hot Wheels festival, locals did their own loop-de-loops.

"We couldn't believe it," said Jackie Swatzell, Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce director at the time.

"I thought it was a hoax," said Speed Mayor Denise Lyon. "And then, I thought if it is a hoax, we aren't out anything, so we might as well talk with them."

Question: In the 1880s, the tiny Phillips County town was called Big Bend, but because postal authorities sometimes confused it with another town, town leaders decided to change the name, choosing to name it either after a town’s doctor who had a dog named Speed or a Civil War officer named Speed who settled there. What was the other town’s name postal authorities confused with Big Bend?


Answer to Sunday’s question: Kansan Clementine Paddleford, known as "America's No. 1 Food Editor,” was food editor for the New York Herald Tribune. She also wrote for This Week, a Sunday supplement magazine, and was a regular contributor to Gourmet magazine and a women's editor for Farm and Fireside magazine.

Check back at on Tuesday for the answer to today’s question.