Lenny, the Gov have clout, politics or not

By Jack Hackley

Back in 1970 when the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV against Minnesota, Warren Hearnes called me and asked if I would bring Len Dawson to Jefferson City to receive congratulations from the governor – and collect the bet he had won from the governor of Minnesota, some wild rice and a Minnesota ham.
All I had was an old 1963 Ford Fairlane. I decided to call Jim Campbell, who owned the Ford dealership in Blue Springs tosee if I could borrow his Lincoln.  He said yes.
I got to thinking that I was thinking too small. Why not borrow an airplane?  I called Bill Clarkston of Clarkston Construction Company.  He had a twin-engine Cessna 310. He said I could have borrowed it, but he had it going to Colorado that day to look at a job.
There were two private jets in Kansas City at that time. When I called one of the Stern brothers, (they owned a stock brokerage company), I told him what I wanted and he hung the phone up on me.  But not before he told me how much it cost per hour to operate his jet.
I was two or three days getting on the phone with Walt Bixby, with Kansas City Life Insurance Company. When I asked him if I could borrow his jet, he said, “Before I hang this phone up on you, tell me what you want it for.”
When I told him, the phone went quiet for a couple of minutes.  He then said, “You can have it on one condition.”  When I asked what that was, he replied, “If I can go with you.”
It was the first time Dawson or I had been on a private jet. Dawson’s eyes got as big around as a silver dollar because of the thrust when we took off.
The plane had a bar that mixed drinks at the push of a button. In a little over 10 minutes, the plane started circling to let us finish our drinks. We were already there. I had gone to Chiefs headquarters at Arrowhead Stadium and picked up a handful of pictures for Dawson to autograph and pass out in the Capitol building.  He autographed one for the governor, and the governor in turn autographed one of himself and gave it to Dawson.
When we got back to Municipal Airport, Len was late and in a hurry to get to Channel 9, and he sped off in his car. I was helping the pilot clean out the plane when here comes Dawson back to the airport.  He came running over to the plane saying, “I forgot my picture of Hearnes.” After he left again, the pilot, an obvious Republican said, “Now who in the world would want a picture of him?”

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or  Visit

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