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William Arthur "Art" Branum

William Arthur "Art" Branum

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November 03, 2015
A little bit late Art...But I hope your drivin' your 40' up in heaven....when I get there we'll race
October 07, 2004
Hi Artie,
By this time you should have seen Tootie already. She left for heaven last night. Watch out for her for us. Also, all those ribs you are eating with your new teeth...give her the bones since she has new teeth now too, and don't forget to leave a little bit of meat on them for her. Hug and kiss her a lot for us. Thanks for taking care of her till we get there.
The Nurse
May 03, 2004
Today marks one year since the passing of Artie. Many events, runs and gatherings have had a vacant spot since he's been gone. He was the one that was always there and could be picked out of a crowd (especially since he was as tall as two people!) Many days he's missed and many places, but he has left lots of love and humor for us all. Thanks for the memories, Artie!!
Bernie and The Nurse
March 22, 2004
Today would have been Artie's 66th birthday. Artie, we miss sending you a card, so we're sending you one via e-mail to heaven. We miss you and we're glad we have such great memories of so much fun and good times. It is hard to believe it has been almost a year since you've been gone. It's also hard to go to events and not see you there because you were just always everywhere. Thanks for your present, of your presence to us!
We love and miss you,
Bernie and The Nurse
September 29, 2003
2003 Bonneville UT.

Memories abound.

I am here with Arts sons Ty and Duff, and Duffs wife Nicki. We left Thursday afternoon, traveled all night with Ty pulling Nevada desert driving duties. The trip was uneventful, and all was well. We pulled a trailer loaded with 3 mini-chopper motorcycles, and my Honda Trail 70 ugly duckling as the 4th

The mini-choppers drew immediate crowds, with lotsa interest. That continued on a minute by minute basis, every hour we were here. There was never a let up.

Yesterday, I walked the entire pits. For those of you who have not found their way to Wendover Ut, for Speed week, the pits are accessible to all who venture out here. The pits are roughly a mile long and a half mile wide. The popular mode of travel out here is by motor scooter. My Honda 70 decided it did not want to start with the rest of the group. Ty spent some time repairing it, and ouilah!!! We’re off!! The starting line is roughly, 3 miles south of the pits.

We had the chance to chat with many long time acquaintances. Art had been well acquainted with Al Teague. Al Teague had just retired his streamliner, and was expected to be out here with his roadster. The plan was to Check in with Al, and see if he might know someone, who would give Art his 300 mph spread job (insert your own thoughts, Legacy.com would not print this with the favorite vernacular applicable to BLOWING ones ashes out of a streamliner at over 300 mph!!). No Al Teague!!! What now???

I went to Terry Nish’s (Nish-Vesco Streamliner) pits and asked if he might find in his heart to do what we need to do. He said sure, and asked me to bring the ashes over to his pits when we were ready. No problem!! But!! Art was already in a ride which was a 1940 coupe out of Cleveland. The ride was video’d, and the driver promised he would send us a copy.

We retrieved Art’s Ashes from the Blown flathead 40 Coupe, then went to drop off a symbolic amount with Terry Nish. I cannot express to you, the kindness and reverence with which Terry dealt Art’s remains. When I handed him the small packet, he immediately turned away from me, walked about 25 to 30 feet away from everybody. He seemed to be communicating with Art. Terry then walked slowly over to the back of the liner, sat down behind it, gingerly opened the high speed chute tube, and put Arties ashes inside. I do not have the talent, as a writer, to express to you, how respectful, kind and caring Terry Nish was about this.

While all of this was happening, there was a tremendous amount of activity going on around the liner. It appears to have a professional crew of about 12. Each crew member has certain tasks, and assignments which happen in preparation for a Record attempt. The driver, Jim Wysong, his wife, and I are chatting while watching Terry load the chute tube. Jim expresses some concern if he does not get up over 300 mph. We both chuckle, knowing that he will be pretty busy, Art’s ashes, will not be his main concern!! As Wysong departs to get strapped into the Streamliner, he turns back and says in a matter fact soft fashion, “Don’t worry, we’re gonna set a record, I’ve got a passenger with me”.

I go over to the start line, sit down with a couple from Salt Lake City. There are other folks around specifically for the Liner run. The SLC folks ask what we were up to, I let them know we are spreading a friends ashes. A little at a time, word spreads around us. It turns out some folks knew Artie, or knew who he was. Even when you are the third car in line at Bonneville, you may still be 25 – 40 minutes from leaving the start line.

Wysong lights off the liner. Roars a bit, and dies off. Wysong refires the liner, it lights off with a ferocious roar. Those of you who have been to Bonneville know the anticipation with which participants, and spectators alike, await runs like the Nish-Vesco liner. There is a rush to the fence lines in the pits, there is a rush to the start line from the staging areas. Everybody wants to see the big guns run!! The radio announces “heads up out there!! The Nish-Vesco liner is next”. And he’s off. From the start line, you can hear it go through the gears nicely, engine screaming, not missing a beat. The record he is running on is 306.395 mph. The liner has a 301 cubic inch Chevy in it for this run. We see the liner go over the horizon, the sounds linger, we all wait for the announcers statement of speed etcetera. The radio comes alive “Nish liner through the 4 mile marker 312.588”. With that a big cheer goes up all around us, some folks with tears in their eyes, knowing what has just happened.

I bid my fellow spectators adieu, jump on the scooter, and head for the pits. Duff, Ty and Nickie are there waiting. They got to see the liner go by at the 3.5 mile marker. They also heard the speed. They were also aware that there was a record set. We celebrate, we had accomplished our major objective for the meet. We got the big guy his 300 mph spread job (Be it noted, according to Legacy.com it is only permissible for ones ashes to be spread!! It is not permissible for the ashes to be BLOWN!! One is also to assume that if the ashes were BLOWN, it could not be a JOB!!).

Ty and I head over to impound. We arrive, the crew is going over the car, getting it ready for the backup run to set the record. As we stand away, watching the crew, one of the crew members walks over. He knows what has transpired. He says, “just go over and get Terry, it’s no problem”. I let him know, there is no way I’m going to interrupt Terry, we are not in a hurry, and are really appreciative of what he has done for us. A bit later, Terry spots me, runs over, throws his arms around me and says “ We did it!! I checked the data, Jimmy pulled the chute at the 4 mile marker, he was at 8400 rpm, that was 318 miles per hour.” I introduce Ty to Terry, we chat for a couple of minutes, and Terry gets pulled away by crew members for technical stuff.

Ty and I are standing there, waiting for the opportunity to talk to Jim Wysong, and congratulate him on his record run. A couple of minutes later, he spots us, walks over, and we both congratulate him on his record run. Jim says, “Yup, now we’ve got to back it up tomorrow morning.” We chat for a couple of minutes, then Ty and I get out of the way, and motor back to our own pits. We spot Lloyd Langlie, Paul Langlie, And Bob Langlie, stand around and chat for a bit. Bob has driven his 40 Convertible out onto the salt……… God! Ya just got to love the real car guys.

Monday morning, 4:30 am I can’t sleep. I get up, fill the chest with ice, make sure I’ve remembered the camera, batteries charged, radio, etcetera. 5:10 am Try to wake up the Branum crew. Damn, no nuclear weaponry..... I leave 5:30, let them know I will be at the 3.5 mile marker when they get there, I want to see the liner at full speed!! I know I need to hitch a ride out to the salt, no problem!! Ya gotta have been there to know!! In the elevator, on the way out of the motel, there is a young guy and his wife. I ask if they were on their way out to the salt? (I already knew by their shirts, and stuff they were) I ask if they have room for a passenger?, Yup, she has got to stay at the motel that day, the son needs his home schooling. SOOooooooo, I introduce myself, he introduces himself, Mike Cook!! Yup, that’s the one, the son of the guy who went 296 mph in the Thunderbird about 1996. We chat on the way out, he takes me all the way to our pit, which is 3/4 mile further than his. I tellya, Bonneville folks are just plain special.

I get to my scooter, fire it up and head south towards the fuel truck, where the record backup cars are que’d up. Nish-Vesco liner is third in line. Turn around, ride 2 or 3 miles back to the 3.5 mile area. Beautiful day, slightly overcast, very cool, moderately humid, utterly perfect for a record run!!

7:00 am Radio announces the impounded cars may now proceed to staging.
7:39 am Radio announces Nish Vesco liner firing up for record backup.
7:41 am Nish-Vesco liner goes by me.. WOW!!! Hear on the radio, speed 308.585 mph....... They did it!! Got a new record, 310.815 mph. I go back to impound to wait for the conquering heroes. While we wait for them to arrive, I ask the drivers wife to spirit away some of the salt from the nose of the liner for me. I further ask that she slip it to me, because I do not want the Branum boys to know I have it. I want to encapsulate it, and somehow label it nicely, as a memory piece for them.

The liner has made it back to the pits. I stand aside waiting for a brief moment to again thank Terry for his efforts. He walks over, say “Did you see the tail fin?”. I go over, look at the tail fin. There is a Mr. 40 sticker just below the numbers!! Ya, well yaknow that set me off!!....

Anyways, Jim Wysong walks over, he has had his unlimited license for several years. He has run over 300 mph several times, BUT!!! He has never set a record.

Wysong, while spreading Artie at over 300 mph, got himself into the 200 MPH club AND the 300 mph chapter.

Thanks again to Terry Nish, Jimmy Wysong, and their entire crew for making the Branum family and myself most happy. That group was already a favorite to watch, but has now become a sentimental favorite as well.

Dick Santana
September 25, 2003
September 19-21 was the 20th anniversary of the Pismofest, which Artie started. It was wonderful to see friends and family gather once more at this time of year to share their weekend together having fun, reliving memories and planning next year's run. How much you were missed Artie and how thankful we all are for the good times and friendship and love we all shared. What a tribute that this will continue. Thanks for having started this with so much fun in mind. Duff and Nikki pulled off the Road Kill Cookoff that you had started to plan and it will also continue. It was great for everyone to share in this with Artie's family, kids, grandkids, and Joanna.
Thanks again for helping to "bond" so many of us together.
Godspeed till we meet again at the biggest of rod runs...The God Rod Run. (we know you are helping plan it).
The Nurse (and Bernie)
June 17, 2003
Farty Artie as I like to call him, was a great person who always managed to make me laugh, if it wasn't at him, it was at myself. I am going to miss the way he always look across the room at me and said "shut up Sheila" when a hot chick would walk into the room. Kinda funny how I didn't have to say one word to him, he kinda always knew what I was thinking. All I know is the 40 ford days will not be the same and neither will the rib tacos. I only hope one day to get the 40 that I always talked to him about getting, since he wouldn't give me the Tub. Love you Artie and yes I will take another rib taco and tequila shot for you!!
June 15, 2003
Artie, as Bill mentioned at your memorial service...you are definitely a DELUXE in a world filled with STAN- ARDS. We are really going to miss you and all the good times you brought with you.
God Bless you.
June 11, 2003
The first time I saw Artie I thought "who invited this biker dude to our hot rod event". Then we were introduced, I got to know him, and I realized that he was just a little boy dressed-up as a teddy bear. The big body size was necessary to hold his heart. I enjoyed watching him laugh at the irony of humanity.
Art stood by his word and spoke his mind, something we can all admire. We are going to really miss him. As Bruce Bereiter commented, "Art had the gift as did Al Smith to make you feel that you were the only person in the room when he was talking with you". That gift and his wicked sence of humor was what endeared him to everyone he met.
Artie we miss you buddy!
June 06, 2003
Kelley and I met Artie for the first
time at the 1987 Pismo Fest.Alot of
the 40s Ltd were there to have the
best of times with him and the San
Jose 40s.No one loved 40s more than
Artie.My dad Al felt at home just as
much as us, as Artie and the group wellcommed all.His special games and
awards were unique.I could call Artie for a 40 part and chew the "fat" for hours. He was that kind of guy that took the time.I,
like all of his friends will miss
him,but now he's chewing the "fat"
up there with my dad Al.
Stan Smith

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