Enter the Sand Man, Herman Booy, on Episode 160


ORMHOF Class of 2004 inductee Herman Booy was larger than life. Listen in as his daughter and nephew, Sherry and Steve, share life on the sand with Herman and his brother, Hal, and all the adventures they had. We are thrilled to be able to offer interviews with inductees’ families when the inductee is no longer with us. This is our history; legends live at ORMHOF.org.  Be sure to tune in on your favorite podcast app.


7:17 – There are these sand dunes over here called Glamis; why don’t you come on out here?

14:38 – we got back to camp, and one of our buddies was gone!

18:59 – an amazing engineer for a man not classically trained as one

21:49 – Dad took the conveyor belt out of the rose business and stitched it together to create the first paddle tire

27:43– no raffle tickets from Loretta, so she shot him!

33:40 – the Blue Goose was one of the first modern type motorhomes they built from a bread truck

42:32 – he had to push that car across the finish line to get the win

52:50 – what’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work, so you figure out what you did wrong and fix it again.

Special thanks to ORMHOF.org for support and sponsorship of this podcast.


00:01:15.040] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we are doing an ORMHOF special. That’s the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. We are doing it about Herman Booy. He is a 2004 inductee as a builder and innovator into the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. And while sand cars were his first passion, Herman also built funny cars, dragsters, and mechanicked on off road race teams. And for himself, he built a 100 yard world record sand car, and that’s according to the Guinness Book of World Records. I’d like to thank Sherry Nelson and Steve Smith for joining me today and discussing Herman’s life and his offroad career. Sherry, thank you so much for coming out. And Steve, thank you for being available as well.

[00:01:59.670] – Sherry Nelson

You’re welcome. Thank you.

[00:02:02.060] – Big Rich Klein

Sherry, you’re his daughter, so let’s start there. I understand that Herman was born in New Jersey. Is that correct?

[00:02:10.590] – Sherry Nelson

That’s correct.

[00:02:11.910] – Big Rich Klein

And do you have any stories that you can share from him as he was a little kid, before maybe he came out to California?

[00:02:20.410] – Sherry Nelson

Well, the stories are actually funny because his parents, one came from Holland and one came from Germany, around the wartime. New Jersey was so cold and they were rose growers, and it was miserable. His dad came out to California to see if there was a better place for him to grow roses. Dad said he couldn’t throw his stuff in the car fast enough to get to California to get out of that cold weather. And he was nine or 10 at the time, so he was ready to leave.

[00:02:58.590] – Big Rich Klein

Well, that’s interesting. Moving to grow roses. It’s amazing what our ancestors did before to get us to where we’re at today.

[00:03:10.370] – Sherry Nelson

Right. Yeah, it really is. And it’s funny because Steve’s mom, which is my dad’s brother, she couldn’t believe he’d want to leave there because it was a kid’s paradise. There was hunting and fishing, and it was so much beauty to move to California in the desert. She couldn’t believe you wanted to go. It was funny.

[00:03:30.140] – Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I understand that. I love trees myself, but there’s just so much to do in the desert because of that open terrain. Yes. And what about stories on the… Were there any good stories on the trip out?

[00:03:45.920] – Sherry Nelson

I never really heard him talk about it. They fought back and forth, him and his sister and he. Steve, do you have any?

[00:03:57.340] – Steve Smith

Well, I remember one story. It wasn’t on the way out. I think they probably were already in Hemet at by that time. They were eating dinner one night, and my mom was smart enough to Sherry’s dad. Herman grabbed the handful of potatoes and threw them at her. She ducked and it stuck on the wall. Our grandfather just went ballistic and was going to kill Herman. I think he must have been 10 or 12 years old at that time. But my mom always thought that that was a really funny story about Herman.

[00:04:30.370] – Sherry Nelson

That was because my grandfather came over from Holland on a ship, and they had to eat rats at the last part of the voyage because they ran out of food. He couldn’t believe his kids would waste food like that. So that was also interesting, I thought.  READ MORE


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