Real photo postcard: Smoky Branch on "Glass Eye" (©1922 R.R. Doubleday)
Inked stamp on back reads: Baker Ranch Rodeo / Saugus, California / May 5-6 [No year listed; probably 1928 because May 5 & 6 fell on a Saturday and Sunday that year].
This appears to be an advertising card, used to promote an upcoming rodeo at the Baker Ranch. It depicts a popular rodeo star at a different venue (not the Baker Ranch Rodeo).
The future Saugus Speedway was built originally as a rodeo arena in 1927 by Roy Baker, brother of shoe magnate C.H. Baker.
Baker Ranch Stadium was a completely enclosed rodeo arena seating over 18,000 fans. Over the next decade, ownership of the arena
would change hands three more times.
As with a majority of the American populace, Baker was hit hard financially by the Great Depression of 1929 and was forced
to sell the stadium to cowboy actor Hoot Gibson in 1930. Gibson continued to hold rodeos at the stadium and drew a Hollywood crowd
including famous actors such as William S. Hart, Harey Carey, Tom Mix, and John Wayne. He also used the stadium as a movie set
or leased it to other companies for film making.
In 1934, Gibson sold the stadium to Paul Hill, owner of the Western Livestock Stockyards. As with Baker, the stadium brought
Hill financial hardship when it was hit by the great flood of 1937. Heavy rains that year caused a river of water to flow down
Soledad Canyon and filled the stadium with debris. Hill was unable to afford the cleanup, and the stadium was repossessed by
Ownership of the stadium passed to William Bonelli in 1938 and was renamed Bonelli Stadium. Bonelli continued the tradition
of rodeos for a number of years, but ultimately turned the stadium into an auto race track. Auto racing was introduced in 1939.
AL2027: 9600 dpi jpeg from 300 dpi jpg of original postcard