The crew from Miss Chicken recently spent a Saturday afternoon visiting with a very active 86 year old Hilton “Fats” Harvison in his home in Laurel. Fats, as he’s been known since he was a baby, is the dean of Mississippi race track announcers. His career began in 1948 when he announced a motorcycle race at the old Laurel Fairgrounds Track. When the track changed to stock cars, he continued to do the announcing and since then has been the man on the mike at most every track in south and central Mississippi as well as some in Louisiana. In addition to Laurel, he has worked with tracks in Meridian, Hattiesburg, Gulfport, Jackson and Baton Rouge and was considered by most everyone to be the original ambassador of stock car racing in our state. In addition to his work with race tracks, Fats also did the play by play of high school sports all over the state for the Laurel radio station. Our visit with Fats was particularly enjoyable for me, having grown up listening to his running commentary at Speedbowl Park in Jackson. During the nearly 6 hours we visited and talked, Fats told us story after story of the great drivers of the 50’s and 60’s. All I had to do was mention a name and Fats would immediately come up with a story or two about each of them. I was fascinated and entertained by these tales the entire visit. By the time late afternoon had arrived, Fats had talked so much he was about to get hoarse so we bid him goodbye and promised to come back again to continue our lap around the track full of memories. As we shook hands and walked outside, Fats commented that he had not had that much fun on a Saturday afternoon in a long while. That goes double for the Miss Chicken crew. He is truly a legend and a large part of Mississippi racing history.
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