The Early Years – The 1980s!
The formative years… The mid-1900s and Founder – The Late John J. Galletta:
The original track was a small one (a fraction of the size and off the fourth turn of where the existing track located past the fourth turn where some newer greenhouses are now located). Originally, only one of his sons and grandsons drove a kart around it and it never really took off.
This is the tale, truncated for your digestion.
John Galletta – the son of Italian Immigrants – founded the modern Galletta’s Greenhouse on County Route 20 after his service in the Navy during WWII and while he was in the Oswego Police Department (the original one was in his backyard on West 7th Street). He also was head of security at the Oswego Speedway for years before his retirement. Not to mention that John’s wife Josephine was first cousin to the Oswego Speedway’s founder George Caruso, which just goes to show that our family has a deep-rooted love for racing! John had five sons – Jerry, Ronnie, Gene, Johnny and Paul, and two daughters – Mary and Tammy.
Here is John in the US Navy and in the Oswego Police Force.
However, his first-born daughter Mary mysteriously married a weasely troll of a Fultonian named Wesley James TrOgre Stevens (some have said; Beauty and the Beast), and established their home at Galletta’s with the newborns Christopher and Matthew.
Wesley always tried to impress Mr. Galletta, and his limited mental and physical abilities should have prevented him from ever succeeding. But Ogre’s work ethic in the greenhouse did impress Mr. Galletta enough to dub Wes, “Captain Marvel” – to which we added “-less.”
One day, Ogre heard his father-in-law tell the tale of his plans of building a kart track on the property, and was inspired so much that he tried to see if he could indeed win a race. However, while racing against thin air, Ogre crashed and died in a horrible one-man Western Flyer tricycle accident.
His alleged children, Christopher and Matthew, summoned the power of the racing ghosts and the magic of Galletta’s flowers, and revived Ogre from his slumber and near-final-resting-place under the Galletta’s Greenhouse sign. This temporarily halted the racing for a short time.
The early 1980s:
“Galletta’s Boys” Matt and Chris got their starts rather early. Almost at embryonic stage here! Peddle-power! Back before they destroyed them… (Notice Matt’s doll went for a ride with him! Bwhahaha! What a girly-boy!)
Behold! The early 1980s! Pretending to be Steve Gioia and Doug Heveron, whom they cheered for at Oswego Speedway back then!
“Galletta’s Rules” Matt and Chris got their experiences in racing strategies in the early 1980s by PUSHINGtheir karts to victory! Who needs motors? Only lazy wimps!
They learned early how to race clean. Here, Chris takes out Matt, and then realized the error of his ways. However, now he plans to bring this technique back against all who oppose him!
Here, Chris and Matt practice posing with their karts. This is how they look so handsome and dignified compared to all other drivers when they pose next to their karts.
Again, the racing here started with fast feet – and they learned very well. They learned so well, that they were expert drivers before some disgruntled felon drivers and their gossip-happy wives learned how to spell! In these early years, Chris won a majority of the time.
As the boys grew, so did their racing skills. They outgrew the plastic pedal carts and went on to BMX Bicycle racing. The brothers would race bikes with school buddies such as Jeremy Ketchum, Nader Majlaton, David Scruton, John Gibson, Rob Reagan, Jim and John Kibbe and many more.
The bros and their group of friends did not let Oswego’s snowy winters stop their learning, as they would then further groom their abilities at sledding the treacherous Galletta’s Sledding Hill.
Here they are, teaching the revived corpse of Ogre how to sled. As we see, Ogre did not learn very well, and his terrible sledding caused an accident that put Matt on his head! Maybe in the future Ogre would learn?
The late-80s… onto INDY!
Chris and Matt were so good, they went straight to Indy in 1986 at 12 and 10 years of age! Ogre, with his 80s beard, was allowed close to the prodigies, but only for a short time… just long enough for pictures. Here they drew powers from the legendary cars and track.
Oh how the years went by. Matt got his #3 Go-Kart in 1990 (a used Manco yard kart off of a friend which they rebuilt several times), followed by Chris getting his original #1 in 1992 (a tank of a Thunder Island Kart which was too heavy to compete with the smaller #3, so they stripped it and used the parts to build the #2; something some visiting drivers should also do). This then resumed the racing rivalry, and young Chris and Matt further honed their racing prowess in their furious battles. The track was formed around the old “Chrusher Coliseum Football Field” and the Fort Crusher treehouse, (which later became the race tower in 2005). The track was later slightly shortened to stop in front of the tower house, and slowly, but surely, a track was born through hundreds of races and years of Matt’s hard work. Then, after just a few years of Matt and Chris battling 1-on-1 (occasionally with Jesse “The Liar” Jesse Vivlemore driving one) we got a third kart, the #4 – a brand new Manco out of the box – and dragged Ogre into our early conflicts, schooling him in the ways of the racing arts as well.
Meanwhile, countless locals discovered the track and felt that they learned enough alleged skillz drinking beer, getting arrested, and watching NASCAR “press gas peddle and turn left – *BURP*!” in drunken stupors to challenge the boys! Still, some of these locals were genuine good drivers. How could we ever find out?! Naturally, we threw them into our battles in addition to our friends and relatives just long enough to properly school them. We now resume our picture gallery after we further dragged friends, relatives, and acquaintances into our epic battles that raged on in the mid-1990s….
We have been racing for seasonal points and Klassic wins at Galletta’s since 1996 (and at Oswego Speedway/Kartway between 2006-08). Here are shortcuts to each of our seasons (1st race of the year, and the point season finale Classics and Klassics):