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In 1914 the city of Dodge City, Kansas held a motorcycle race, the Dodge City 300, attracting over 17,000 spectators. By 1921 there were more than 20,000. The race was held on a two-mile dirt oval and was sanctioned by the FAM (Federation of American Motorcyclists).
Many manufacturers of the time attended, including Excelsior, Indian, Flying Merkel, Thor, Pope and Harley-Davidson, which was entering its first sanctioned race. In 2014, a small group of passionate residents are reviving the celebration for its centennial anniversary, tentatively scheduled for July 1 – July 6, 2014.
“There was literally train load after train load of spectators, participants and sponsors coming off the train,” local race historian Roger Burnett told www.hutchnews.com. “It was so unbelievable you could make a movie about it.”
Burnett and others including Oliver Bland and Mark Mahieu are part of the team who formed the Dodge City 300 Centennial Group in order to organize a week-long celebration in 2014 to commemorate their little town’s big, historical race.
According to the report in HutchNews, the biggest hurdle facing the group is funding. They’re working on attracting sponsorship and participation from Harley-Davidson and Indian, who both were involved in the original races. On the bright side, the group already has local support from Main Street Dodge City and area businesses.
www.RidingVintage.com has reported some of the activities planned for the 2014 event include:
- AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) Pro Racing Grand National points races
- AHRMA historic motorcycle racing
- Judged concours d’Elegance for pre-1925 racing motorcycles
- Peoples choice classic, vintage and custom motorcycle shows
- Single day gypsy tours
- Motorcycle history symposium and book signings with well known motohistorians
- Motorcycle field events
- Motorcycle trade show with vendors, dealers, apparel & gear
- Historic motorcycle displays
- Historic marker dedication – original track site
For more information on the Dodge City 300, including ways you can lend your support, visit www.dodgecity300.org.