How to Crown a Winner, in 1906

Long before burnouts, spraying champagne, or Monster Energy girls, auto racing had a history of big celebrations for winners. When Victor Demogeot was crowned the Speed King of the world, having gone under 1 minute for 2 miles on the beach, a coronation and parade awaited him. Mary Simrall, an Ormond teenager who won a newspaper beauty/popularity contest, was selected to officially “crown” the speed king and to accompany him in the victory parade. Below is the speech that was made by Simrall, complete with hyperbole and sponsor mentions that we've grown accustomed to today:

Having been chosen to represent our beautiful State of Florida, in the ceremony of crowning the winner of the two miles a minute race it gives me infinite pleasure to crown you Mr. Victor Demogeot as the Speed King of the World.

It is a beautiful crown trophy presented by the Times-Union, the leading paper of our State and this honor paid you today will be known by all the people of these United States and Europe, tomorrow. You have won against the greatest and most daring drivers of the world and your fame will speed to all corners of the earth with even greater speed than your beautiful racer made.

May further honor and fortune attend you. You will take to your home and people a crown won in open contest on the world’s fastest and safest automobile course, the Ormond-Daytona Beach.

It is now my pleasant duty to place on your head the crown.

See the original news coverage here: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn93059208/1906-02-03/ed-1/seq-1/


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