Manly Sports:  the Chariot Races

By | March 14, 2023

[March 14, 2023]   In 1960, a small group of boys sat in a movie theater to watch the second movie any of them had seen; the first was King Kong.  All I remember from it was the finale’s Roman chariot race in MGM film Ben Hur (1959).  We sat there, eyes open wide and transfixed.  It should be no surprise that today there is a new version of chariot racing.  Manly sports!

Would any of us rather watch a modern basketball or football game or a chariot race?  I don’t think anybody here would hesitate to pick the chariot race.  Chariot racing involves a high probability of crashing – like modern car racing – and injury and even death.  No wonder, so many Romans found the sport fascinating.

The chariots of old were made up of a driver, usually a slave or contract professional, pulled by a team of two or four horses.  Despite the risk to riders, credit for the wins in these ancient races went to the horses and their wealthy owners.  No one thought much about the riders, but if they were good enough, they could become celebrated and earn a lot of money.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, chariot racing declined and nearly went out of existence.  The danger probably explains a lot of its decline.

In the 1920s, we saw horses being replaced with motorcycles.  This new version of chariot racing began in Australia, and the movie Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ (1925) was the inspiration.  Just imagine a man in a chariot pulled by motorcycles.  Now that is something for the imagination, but that is precisely what happened.

The modern version includes a man in a chariot controlling motorcycles from his position.  A bit dangerous.  A motorcycle pulling chariots gained popularity until World War II, and then nearly died out but did not disappear.

You can see some videos of it here (29 seconds).


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

29 thoughts on “Manly Sports:  the Chariot Races

  1. mainer

    I found this particular article enticing but I could not figure out why. Maybe it is the call to adventure that Gen. Satterfield discusses. Maybe it is just something built into men. Maybe yes or no but I am drawn to it. Standing on the edge of terror has a fascination that I cannot explain.

    1. Good Dog

      Good point mainer, but I do think you put your finger on it.

  2. Big Al

    When I read this, I thought to myself that doing this motorcycle chariot race thing was a crazy idea. Now, maybe not.

    1. Bernie

      Yeah, Big Al. But I did enjoy the videos. Reminded me of the crazy stunts I pulled as a younster.

  3. ant man

    Looks like fun!? I’m not so sure that I would want to steer two motorbikes attached to a chariot around an oval dirt ring anywhere. But hey, being a guy is being a guy. Let’s go!

  4. Unwoke Dude

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield. You’ve not had a manly sport article in a long time. Keep them coming our way.

  5. Watson Bell

    Gen. Satterfield, very enjoyable article on manly sports. Men are just the way they are, and not because they are better than women but different biologically. Oh, now I’m going to get a visit from the FBI for telling the truth.

    1. Delf "Jelly" Bryce

      Ha Ha, yes, but I’ll run a little interference from you. Just kidding, as I hope they know the difference in someone stating what we all know to be true rather than being the enforcement arm of the US Democrat Party. True, the FBI is collapsing because of partisan leadership (actually lack of leadership). We all stand up to those who deserve protection and the FBI has failed America in that task.

      1. JT Patterson

        This is why men watch Nascar races. Not to see a winner but to experience the thrill of racing.

      2. Da Man

        Hey Jelly, wonderful to see you on Gen. Satterfield’s website. I’m a huge huge fan, of course. I’m looking forward to your next article.

  6. Ursala J. Simpson

    Gen. Satterfield has hit upon something important and deep within the psyche of all men and women. But it is men who are likely to go on an adventure and I can understand why women would be less likely to do so (taking care of children makes you much more cautious). Men have less to lose. And they need to show that they are braver, stronger, more successful than other men and will have better access to better women. Just the way of the world.

    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Good point Ursala. We haven’t heard from you in a long time, hope you are well.

  7. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Info that I did not know, “In the 1920s, we saw horses being replaced with motorcycles. This new version of chariot racing began in Australia, and the movie Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ (1925) was the inspiration. ” No wonder I appreciate this website so much. Watch the movies Ben Hur, all three of them.

  8. Mikka Solarno

    Enjoyed this entertaining article. I watched a few of the videos. Scary.

      1. Roger Yellowmule

        Always good to read your comments Patriot Wife.👍

      2. Rowen Tabernackle

        Manly sports. Yeah! I am attracted to those real men who participate in manly sports and in manly jobs. That is why so many of my girlfriends are married to such wonderful men. Why? Because they are men and not weaklings like our society wants them to be.

  9. Bobby Joe

    I looked back at Gen. Satterfield’s past articles on manliness and manly sports. Keep these coming our way to help educate those who believe manliness is toxic. Actually manliness is necessary for our progress as a culture.

  10. Max Foster

    Gen. Satterfield, I laughed a bit when I saw this article and then began reading. I think what you are trying to say, but didn’t come out exactly and say it, is that we look for adventure in our lives and riding a chariot pulled by horses or by motorbikes is certainly an adventure, and maybe even your death. Now, women might ask, “why would men do such a thing?” And I think the answer for men is rather obvious and so not a question we would ask. It is exciting, it is an adventure and gives us bragging rights about our manhood. And, please don’t get me wrong here, manhood is a wonderful thing. Our biggest societal problem today is that our men are being attacked for their manhood and that is bad. Weak men are now in charge, like Pres Joe Biden or PM Justin Trudeau. Weak men cause terrible trouble for us all.

    1. Liz at Home

      Excellent observation about weak men and the trouble they cause. Weak men are those that rape and pillage. And they are the ones who claim great moral courage when they are truly moral cowards. Great article Gen Satterfield and I highly recommend your book ’55 Rules for a Good Life.’

      1. Goalie for Cal State

        Liz, thanks. Women typically do not understand this. Good to see that one woman does.

  11. Emma Archambeau

    Nothing better than an overdose of testosterone and racing. Love these men. That is what makes the world function.

    1. British Citizen

      He He, our mates down under still have their manhood…. at least a few of them.

      1. Dale Paul Fox

        YES, Lady Hawk and I honestly believe that if we are truthful with ourselves, all of us would admit to the same thing. I know that I would. My parents taught me to be brave and accept my fate and to have a little excitement in my life. Now, I will admit that I was hesitant but now I understand better what they were trying to tell me. Do not fear life. Do not be imprudent, but enjoy your life. You will not regret those things you did that were part of your adventure.


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