Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Vol. 2 No. 93 A Bevy of Bouffanted Beauties Brightens Boys' Meets
Ok, it's time to get serious and cover women's track. This morning I opened the New York Times (October 2, 2012) , turned to the Arts section where the crossword puzzle is located, and suddenly on page C2 I'm flashing back to the 60's. There is a story on a current exhibition in Paris, France, not Texas, entitled The Art of Hair. Wait, you're asking, this is a blog about track and field events, where is the editor headed with this? Patience folks, read on or click on the link below to find out.
Featured is a photograph of three young ladies, members of the Texas Track Club out of Abiliene, resting in their starting blocks. These young ladies wearing what then could only have been called skimpy uniforms, though they might today pass for Hooters' waitress get ups are rather top heavy in the hair department, especially the one in lane two. The caption on the photo refers to them as the "Bouffant Belles, a running team in Texas in a 1962 photograph by Neil Barr". The one in the center could easily be the subject of the jokes about Texas ladies getting tangled in ceiling fans. The three actually made the cover of Sports Illustrated on April 20, 1964, announcing they were on the road to Tokyo. Of course the SI curse bit them, and I believe only Janice Richardson , the blonde in the foreground made it to the Olympic trials in the 200 meters running 4th in her heat in a non-advancing 25.5 seconds. The out of focus lady with the starting pistol was their coach. The meet announcers had a good time with them, and they certainly had all the attention of the male contestants and the spectators.
Having run at the University of Oklahoma in those days, I used to see this group of bouffanted beauties at various meets in the Southwest, and they were certainly an attraction in an era of limited female participation at men's meets. It fact they were the only female attraction at men's meets other than a few Relays queens from the local sorority houses in Austin, Des Moines, and Lawrence. It was a small beginning toward women being recognized as competitive in the sport, and they had to peddle their sexuality to do it.
It you have any memories or comments about this group please share them through the comments section of this blog or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org