We honor Frank “Scoop” Vessels in Episode 161


ORMHOF Class of 2007 inductee Frank “Scoop” Vessels was inducted into multiple Halls of Fame in his short lifetime. Taken in a plane crash in 2010; Scoop took the Off-Road world by storm until his return to Quarter Horse life in 1993, where he was born and bred. Join his wife, Bonnie, and Big Rich for a listen in on the impact of Scoop’s life.  We are happy to be joined by family members 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.


6:06 – That kid’s got a head like a scoop shovel!

9:29 – he passed being jockey-size when he was 12 years old

16:32 – that’s what got him into desert was his dad getting him off the streets

19:15 – the pride of knowing he had done it on his own

22:58– slower is smoother, which protects the car

33:26 – in order to succeed, you couldn’t have a hiccup and forget a tree or a cactus or a rock

46:23 – you couldn’t tell Mike (Mike’s Sky Ranch) no, if he wanted to show you a secondary route, he was going to show you

51:53 – they’d flown into weather, he iced up, lost a wing, and it spiraled down on a cattle ranch

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


[00:01:15.670] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we will be talking about Frank Scoop Vessels. Our guest is Bonnie Vessels. She will be talking to us and letting us know all about Scoop, their life and his life, and how Frank was able to impact the world of offroad and NASCAR. Frank was a 2007 inductee into the Offroad Motorsports Hall of Fame. I’d like to thank Bonnie Vessels for coming on and talking about Frank. Bonnie, thank you so much for being here.

[00:01:47.960] – Bonnie Vessels

Thanks, Rich. I’m nervous and I hope you guide me along.

[00:01:52.120] – Big Rich Klein

No worries. I’m an old pro at doing this, but luckily we edit. As we go through this, if there’s any spots in there, we’ll clean them up and don’t worry about it. Just relax and consider us like sitting around a campfire.

[00:02:11.540] – Bonnie Vessels

Yes, sir.

[00:02:12.930] – Big Rich Klein

Let’s start off right away with where was Frank born and raised?

[00:02:18.170] – Bonnie Vessels

He was born in Long Beach, California. He was born at the time his grandparents were building and developing and ultimately opening up Los Alamedas Race Course for quarter horses.

[00:02:33.010] – Big Rich Klein

Wow, that’s amazing. So he was in the horse racing world at a young age?

[00:02:40.020] – Bonnie Vessels

From birth.

[00:02:41.450] – Big Rich Klein

Did he work the racetrack and the horses at an early age like that?

[00:02:48.980] – Bonnie Vessels

Well, he was just raised in the day to day of it. He’d be on the backside with the trainers and the jockeys and the horses. And then he’d be up in the grandstands with his parents or grandparents at night. So he got to meet both sides of the horse world.

[00:03:07.290] – Big Rich Klein

So racing was in his blood with any racing. The concept of going fast in the competition. So that’s probably what was a big drive for him.

[00:03:21.040] – Bonnie Vessels

Yeah. And his dad always told him, You’re not going to be able to get away from the horse racing because it’s bred into your genes. That was literally the case.

[00:03:33.880] – Big Rich Klein

I can imagine that. And I would imagine he went through College or in school also dealing with animal husbandry or things like that. It was W as that a case?

[00:03:47.150] – Bonnie Vessels

No, he went to a junior college and he took a business course. And I don’t know that he actually even finished it. He was more involved with the surfing while he was going to school.

[00:04:06.470] – Big Rich Klein

More involved with the surfing? Yes, sir. Okay. So horses and surfing. That’s Southern California right there. He was born in 1952. Correct. In those early 60s in that area, that 50s and 60s was pretty rural still. La really saw growth impact in the 60s of growth. But are you from that area as well?

[00:04:38.610] – Bonnie Vessels

No, I was from North San Diego County, but scoop would always talk about Mr. Disney was building Disneyland at the same time his grandfather was building Los Alamedas. They lived there on Ketelha. He said, during that time frame, if someone drove down the road at night, it woke you up.

[00:04:59.830] – Big Rich Klein

Oh, wow. Okay. So it wasn’t as impacted as it is now, of course?

[00:05:06.740] – Bonnie Vessels


[00:05:08.670] – Big Rich Klein

Do you know when he got interested in… We’ll jump ahead a little bit here, into the off road motor sports?

[00:05:19.120] – Bonnie Vessels

It was when he’d gotten a speeding ticket. His officer that pulled him over, congratulations him and told him he’d given his grandfather, his grandmother, his mother, and his dad a ticket. Now, scoop was getting a ticket, and that was how it all started.  READ MORE

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