Elbow room was at a premium at the 2009 Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts
annual rally, held for the first time at the Airline History Museum in Kansas City.
The June 7 Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts annual rally has come and gone. And if you weren’t there, you missed one of the best classic bike shows of the year, bar none. Although we don’t have official numbers yet, it’s an easy bet that 2,500 people poured through the huge sliding doors of Hangar #9 and the Airline History Museum at the old Wheeler Airport in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
And those that came got to take in some 170 classic and vintage motorcycles spread across the expansive floor of Hangar 9, sharing space with a Douglas DC-3, a Martin 404 and outside a 1958 Super Constellation, all part of the collection of the Airline History Museum at Wheeler Airport. Bikes ranged from Joan Vandergraph’s 1917 Triumph “Trusty” (which garnered our People’s Choice award) to a wild, one-off recreation of the stillborn Norton Nemesis V8 project of the late 1990s. Vintage British iron was in high gear, with Randy Baxter himself making the trip down from Baxter Cycle in Marne, Iowa, bringing along a spectacular 1940 Triumph Tiger. Best of show went to Gene Brown and his Vincent Lightning, trailered in all the way from Denver, and there were trophies awarded in all the display classes, as well.
Lee Cowie's lovely 1947 Norton International, which he's owned for 48 years.
The HoAME club has been working hard to ramp up their show the past few years, and their considerable efforts have resulted in increased attendance and participation every year the past four years. But this year’s show was unlike anything the club’s ever done before, and it’s clear the change in venue (the previous two years were at the new NASCAR track west of Kansas City) played a major role in attracting such an impressive selection of motorcycles. The Airline History Museum is a natural fit, giving the show that extra dimension of interest that’s often lacking from the average classic bike show. If you somehow got tired of looking at fab old Suzuki Titans or Norton Commandos, you could always stroll over to the Super Constellation and check out what it was like to fly cross-country back when flying was still elegant.
Spectacular 1958 Lockheed Super Constellation "Star of America" at the
Airline History Museum in Kansas City. Check out that headroom!
The dates for next year’s show haven’t been set, but we expect it to fall around the same time frame, the first full weekend of June. We’ll post dates when we have them, and like this year we plan to be on hand again for what’s evolving into one of the great shows of the year. – Richard Backus