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Dodge City 300 Centennial Celebration - Dodge City, Kansas

Written by  July 27, 2014

A century ago, Dodge City, Kansas, was the site of a world championship 300-mile motorcycle race on a 2-mile dirt oval on the northeast corner of town. The field included motorcycles manufactured by Indian, Thor, Excelsior, Pope, Flying Merkel, Harley-Davidson, and others. The race, sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcycles, took almost 4-1/2 hours to complete with speeds reaching nearly 100 miles per hour. The winner was factory Indian rider Glen “Slivers” Boyd. Bill Brier finished second on a Thor, and Carl Goudy came in third aboard an Excelsior. Dodge City racing continued for many years, but was suspended during times of war. Later championship racing moved on to other locations and shorter tracks. Races sponsored by the Jackpine Gypsies became the nucleus for South Dakota’s famous motorcycle rally at Sturgis.

A group of Dodge City area motorcycle enthusiasts decided that the 100th anniversary of the Dodge City 300 was something to celebrate, and the result was a motorcycle rally held in the “Cowboy Capital of Kansas” from July 2 through 6. There were vendors and live music in Wright Park throughout the rally with “Music for the Soul” provided by various blues bands brought together by Don Overbey. Hoover Pavilion in the park was the venue for bike shows on July 3 (modern and custom), July 4 (vintage and classic), and July 5 (pre-1925 racers and antique). Field events for men and for women were contested at the Dodge City Roundup Arena.

In downtown Dodge City at the Carnegie Center for the Arts, there was a fascinating display featuring the history of motorcycle racing in Dodge City. There were photos, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia and a 7/8 scale tribute Flying Merkel racing bike built by Roger Burnett.

On July 2 at the Dodge City Civic Center, a special Vietnam Veterans’ Welcome Home ceremony was held. The Presentation of the Colors was conducted by members of the Motor Maids, an organization of women motorcyclists. Vets whose residence was in Kansas at the time of the war or who currently live in Kansas were eligible to receive a special medallion.

Short track motorcycle and quad races were contested on July 4 in the rodeo arena featuring competitors from the Great Plains Flat Track Series. The competition went on from late afternoon until after dark and entertained a large crowd of spectators.

On Saturday, a ceremony was held at the band shell in Wright Park to dedicate the marker that would be placed at the historical site of the 2-mile track. Since the actual marker was not yet finished, there was a large banner on display to illustrate the design of the marker. Mayor Brian Delziet welcomed those in attendance and recognized the accomplishment of the team that organized the event. Several members of the Bales family were in the audience including the daughter of one of the organizers of the original Dodge City 300. More racing was on tap for Saturday, dirt drags at the horse racing track. Also scheduled on July 5 was a motorcycle swap meet at The Scooter Shop, a tattoo contest at Dodge City Harley-Davidson, and the Peckerhead River Run between Garden City and Dodge. The rally wrapped up on Sunday.

I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to my old stomping grounds in Dodge City where I lived for 18 years prior to moving to the Kansas City area 20 years ago. My friends Mark and Rhonda Jeffries were kind enough to provide lodging in their home for me and several other motorcycling friends from Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. The local V.F.W. was open for breakfast each morning, and it was a good place to eat and visit with motorcycle enthusiasts. It was there that I enjoyed a nice chat with Burt and Mary Lou Davis. Burt was the owner of Burt’s Cycle Center, now Dodge City Harley-Davidson, when I bought my 1990 Heritage. Big John, a mechanic at the dealership back then, was back in town for the occasion, and I had a good visit with him at one of the bike shows. On Saturday, I visited the Harley shop and talked with owner Darren who sold me my second Harley in 2001. Also visiting the shop was Mike Bahnmaier of motorcycle drag racing fame. I enjoyed meeting Chuck Ellis, a member of the rally board of directors who teaches art and has produced some very impressive works of art including a limited edition cold cast bronze wall hanging featuring a pair of antique racers. I also admired the Harley he customized, a work of art that he can ride. My host Mark a. k. a. “Mouse” used his skills as a jeweler to produce a number of special commemorative pins for the celebration, also quite artistic. I met several of the other board members including Mark Mahieu, and all were very personable and supportive of the coverage of their event in our magazine. Oliver Bland, another board member, has been a great friend for many years and shares memories of many terrific riding experiences. I had the privilege of spending time with many other long-time friends and enjoyed great weather at Dodge City and during the ride in both directions. I believe the organizers of the Dodge City 300 Centennial Celebration will give strong consideration to the possibility of sponsoring future events. More information is available on the Dodge City 300 website.  



Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at