Lindley Fowler Bothwell

Lindley Fowler Bothwell

1/8/1902 - 19/6/1986

Pioneer surfer, automobile collector and racer and cheerleading legend who invented the animated card stunt at matches when spectators in the grandstands hold coloured cards above their heads to create an image of slogan.

Lindley Fowler Bothwell was born in 1902 in Los Angeles and is credited with inventing the animated card stunt performed at football games. His ingenious yelling sequences were also popular and well known. He was invited by Notre Dame's Knute Rockne, a summer faculty member at OSU during the 1920s, to become a member of Notre Dame's 1925 Rose Bowl cheerleading squad and accepted.

He moved back to the San Fernando Valley after graduating from OAC in 1926 with a degree in agriculture, where he purchased an orange grove. This was the start of a citrus empire that by 1943 had grown to 34 ranches, which he either owned or managed. At the time, he was considered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be one of the nation’s top-10 citrus farmers. He also had his own soil chemistry lab, served as an adviser to growers all over the southwest and was one of California’s leading cattle breeders. Home-based in the San Fernando Valley, his concerns stretched from San Bernardino to San Diego to Ventura. His professional affiliations included memberships in the American Society of Agronomy and the Society of Soil Scientists.

He was also one of the state's best-known horse breeders and automobile collectors. By 1954, he had amassed the largest private collection of antique automobiles in the country, outside those held by public museums. At its peak, his fleet numbered 88 different cars, many of which were drenched in history, including the Czar of Russia’s 1911 Rolls Royce; King George V’s 1910 Daimler; a 1910 racing Fiat that at one time held the world speed record (120 miles an hour in 1905); Henry Huntington’s (Southern Pacific railroad magnate) 1912 Lozier; Indy 500 speedster Dario Resta’s famous 1913 Peugeot; and two of racing legend Barney Oldfield’s most famous machines, his 1907 Stearns and a 1907 Benz. The collection’s oldest exhibit was a 1898 Locomobile steamer.

Five years earlier, Resta’s Peugeot had played a special role in Bothwell’s life. He used it at Indianapolis in 1949 to get his driver’s certificate qualifying him to drive there. In doing so, he broke a 30-year record at the track by driving the highly prized racer to a speed of 103 miles an hour in the Veteran’s Class.

Bothwell held an official driver’s license with the contest board of the American Automobile Association and was a charter member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, for which he served as national president for seven years and on the board of directors for 10 years.

Bothwell also collected horse drawn streetcars and during his lifetime was the only person in the world to have such a collection. To keep them in working shape, he built a streetcar barn on his ranch and had over a mile of track put down to entertain family, friends and visitors.

He is also remembered as having a great love for the water. He was a pioneer surfer, maintained a small fleet of crew shells and could often be seen "training" along the California coast at Long Beach or out near Catalina Island.

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