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Monday, October 28, 2019

Stuntman Krazy Keith Kardell at the 2019 Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival -- Birmingham, Alabama

I met Keith Kardell at the AMCA display at this year's Barber Festival.  I noticed a table with two steel shoes.  The kind the flat track racers wear, but these were a pair in left and right side.  His wife was working the table and when I asked why left and right side steel shoes she said, "you'll need to talk to my husband, they were his".

After waiting awhile (Mr. Kardell was busy talking to other folks) Mrs. Kardell said, "O.K. he was a stuntman".  Then she explained how part of his act involved sliding off the back of the bike and sliding on the steel shoes.  I told her that growing up we had a family friend named Lee Irons.  He performed as Ironman Irons and performed a similar stunt.

"You know Lee Irons?" she asked.  She explained that her husband was inspired to become a stuntman after watching Ironman Irons perform.

She pull Keith Kardell over and we had a great time reminiscing about the old days.  My Dad had wrenched on Lee's 650 Yamahas and also helped with some of the stunts when the Ironman was starting out.

When I commented on the shoes and told him I used to go to Perris Raceway when my Dad raced there in the 60s.  Another family friend named Ken Maley made steel shoes for all the racers.  When he wasn't busy making shoes he'd play tic-tac-toe in the dirt with me.

"You knew Maley?" he asked?  "He made these shoes".  This lead to more great memories about Ken Maley and watching him make steel shoes, and flat track, and the 60s and 70s, and the smells at a race track.

I am attaching some links to Krazy Keith Kardell, Lee "Ironman" Irons, and Ken Maley.  All, in their own way have contributed to the great sport of motorcycling.

1933 Harley-Davidson VC with Sidecar on display at the 2019 Barber Motorcycle Festival -- Birmingham, Alabama