The following article appeared in the August 22, 1946, issue of the Delta County Independent.
Feelings ran high in the 1900s between enthusiasts who favored the new-fangled bicycles and the more conservative partisans of old dobbin. In fact, it ran so high that the boast of the ‘wheel” crowd could no longer be taken by those who remained faithful to the old ‘hay burner’, who offered to wager $100 that a horse could beat a bicycle in a race from Delta to Montrose and back.
Ed Reynolds was the rider. Old Blue was one of the livery horses from the stable owned by Clarence Mower (now the Davis Clothing Store at Fourth and Main.) He was used to pull the bus that meet the train, but it seems he missed his calling.
Old Blue was bought at a Sheriff’s sale for $60, but was reputed to be remarkable long winded. So he was chosen for the race, after an agreement that a horse should be chosen from the livery stable animals.
On the day of the race, the road between Delta and Montrose was ‘line with people’, according to old-time Delta residents. The race stated with Old Blue in the lead, and he stayed there all the way.
In Montrose, Reynolds, the rider, signed in at the bank, and horse and rider stopped again in Olathe for water, so great was their lead. The bicycle rider gave up at about the county line on the return trip, and finished the race in a buggy behind a cousin of the animal he had been so confident that he could beat.
Old Blue seemed none the worse after the race, and Clarence Mower feels confident that he could have hitched him up to the bus the same day.
For years after the race, Old Blue was used in the livery stable.
Director, Delta County Historical Society and Museum