Wilburn Cleo Hobbs (1925 - 2007)




at House,
Guthrie, Ok USA


Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada
Cause of death: Prostate Cancer

Cause of death

Prostate Cancer

Burial / Funeral

Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada


Last Known Residence

Henderson, Clark County, Nevada


Add family members




Professional Race Driver, Mechanic

Military Service

US Navy WWII, USS Platte, USS Baham

Middle name




White, Native American







Family Tree

Wilburn's Family
Add a parent
Add a parent
Wilburn Cleo Hobbs
Add a partner
Add a child
Add a sibling

You can add or remove people from this genealogy by clicking here.


Bill “Wilburn” Hobbs, aka “Wild Bill”
This is actually the submission letter to the Sprint Car and Midget Race car Hall of Fame.
Jeff Hobbs

Bill Hobbs auto raced throughout the 1950’s and the early 1960’s, predominately sprint cars but also midgets, and was very competitive winning and placing in many main events. Later in the 1970’s he raced stock cars and was Nevada State Champion scoring 28 wins out of 29 races in his best year there, including a match race for the state title.
While racing sprint cars in the fifties and sixties he was based in San Francisco. He not only raced the West Coast but also throughout the Midwest. Bill was a very intense driver and set many track records during qualifying. He was “old school” whereas he built and worked on his own cars as well as drove them. He was a tough yet quiet man and stories have it that he broke AJ Foyt’s nose over an on track confrontation, although that cannot be substantiated. He was a larger than life hero to his family and friends.
He raced against- and beat- drivers like Buzz Barton, Jim Hurtubise, Harold Leep, AJ Foyt, A.J. Shepherd, Parnelli Jones, Pete Folse, and many others. Bill was featured in photographs in 1957 Speed magazine and a book called Big Car Thunder. I have copies of both. There were other publications he was in from his sprint car days, but they are long lost.
Bill raced various cars, built many of his own, but was best known for # 5 owned by Pappy Hobbs, (no relation to him.) He raced sprint cars and midgets at tracks like Sedalia, Faribault, Terre Haute, Springfield, Fayette County Speedway, La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, Kansas State Fairgrounds, Manzanita and even the old Soldier Field in Chicago. He built a car he called “the Alligator” and featured an airplane engine that was reversed and ran off the propeller shaft.
Bill was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma in 1923. He was the son of a failed farmer turned moonshiner. His uncle was a gangster who ran with the famous “Pretty Boy” Floyd and was killed in Oklahoma City during the 1930’s. Bill grew up during the Great Depression and left home at 12 years old to ride the rails and see the world. He was drafted in the Navy and was a sailor aboard the USS Platt, an oiler that fueled the flagship, the USS Enterprise. He was decorated with a Victory medal, and an Anti-Submarine medal among a few others. After the war he became a mechanic, motorcycle racer, and race car driver. He fathered 11 children and was a beloved by them deeply. He died in 2007 from complications of prostate cancer. He worked on cars up to the week he died.
Listed below are a few web sites of race tracks that have recorded stats of him and many other drivers. Obviously not all the stats during his long and illustrious career are there. Many trophies, and personally watching him race, proved many more wins, place and show awards. I am doing a lot of research trying to find more websites with his stats, but it is a long and arduous task. Thank you for considering him.
[external link]
[external link]
[external link]
[external link]
[external link]
[external link]
[external link]
[external link]

Eulogy for Bill Hobbs
Elena Murphy

I met Bill Hobbs some 17 years ago when Jeff became my son-in-law. There was an instant bonding between Bill and me. No matter how long a time in between our encounters, each time was as if we had seen each other last week. I loved to sit and talk to him at family get togethers. He love to tease and would always make me laugh with him stories. He had a million stories, but never forced them on you, but sure enjoyed a captive audience......which I always was. I’ll miss those times of sitting with him or talking to him on the phone. I never knew his as anything but a perfect gentleman, loving, kind and unselfish.

What always impressed me was the total love and respect displayed between Bill and his sons, Jeff, Vince and Victor. It always touched my heart to see such good boys so loyal to their father. Bill was not just their father, he was their best friend.

Bill had a heart of gold and would do anything for just about anyone. There were so many “adopted” members of his family. He was always willing to take someone in or help someone in need, whether he could really afford it or not. He never preached, but taught by his example and his unconditional love. He was the most down to earth, real person you could ever want to meet. Bill may not have been a “church going” person, but as far as I am concerned, he had more “Christian” qualities than many “church going” people I have known. We will probably never really know how many lives he touched, or turned around. He had wisdom not attainable by any college degree!

I loved the way he got so excited about coming over to collect odds and ends we offered to get rid of or some new part or tool he acquired. He loved to collect, but loved to share them too. I loved his independent spirit displayed when he would get in his “Scooby Doo” (as we called his motor home) and make the trek to Oklahoma for family reunions. I loved to see his genuine love and support for all his grandchildren. They gave him such joy. I can still see him reclined on the couch at Jeff & Tina’s, with tiny Alex and Nikki both sleeping on his chest in perfect contentment. I still have that picture. I loved seeing him take little Jeffrey and Zachary out to the lake fishing or camping with him. He loved being part of their life and his devoted grandchildren will truly miss him. In every conversation I had with him, he talked about how proud he was of his family.

I feel blessed to have been able to talk to him and see him in the hospital, his beautiful blue eyes still beaming and trying to maintain a smile for us in spite of his pain. It was truly a blessing to have been by his bedside for some of his final hours in Hospice.

I have been through many deaths in the past 18 years. No matter what age they may be, it is never easy to say good-bye to our loved ones. There is very real pain and sorrow in this physical separation. At times it feels as if our heart is ripped out of our body. It is such a mistake to see death as separation and nothing more. They don’t just go off to some dark distant place. They simply continue to eternal life. Death is this doorway to eternal life and our loved one remains with us in an even stronger way, knowing and loving us more than ever. We are all made for heaven and we end this life to begin a new life of endless happiness.

Bill didn’t care about the big house, fancy cars, prestigious jobs, or money. He was happy living a simple life. When it is all said and done and we take our last breath and Our Heavenly Father extends his arms to us, I believe His only question will be “How well did you love?”

I truly feel in my heart, Bill loved well, gave much and asked for little. He was an inspiration to all as to what is important in life. My prayer today is that as you go through your grief that our Heavenly Father who is the source of all comfort be your strength and consoler. He has always been mine. Each one has to grieve in their own way. Don’t hold back your tears. Crying releases sorrow and helps to heal. Even Jesus cried when Lazarus died. Always continue the “Dad”stories and laugh and cry together.

My final prayer is that when the Lord took Bill’s hand that His final words to him were “Well done good and faithful son.........now enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”


Write a comment
Jeff Hobbs I don't even remember a Christmas without a homeless family spending it with us. Pop was a great man. He cared for the people no one else cared about.
Sep 13, 2013 · Reply

Other Records of Wilburn Cleo Hobbs