75th Annual Trailblazers Hall of Fame Banquet

The 75th annual Trailblazers Hall of Fame banquet aims to keep the sport of motorcycling alive for future generations.

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by Jim Gianatsis, Trailblazers, and Dain Gingerelli
All member of the Trailblazers hall of Fame are invited for a group photo at the end of each banquet.

Seventy-five years is a rather long time. In the doggie world that’s 525 years, and in real terms 75 years equates to three-quarters of a century.

Closer to home in the motorcycle community, 2019 marked the 75th annual banquet hosted by the Trailblazers, an organization formed in 1940 that pays homage to longtime and key members of the motorcycle sport. Today the Trailblazers is an affiliate of the Motorcycle Industry Council, the industry’s major trade organization. Current Trailblazers president Don Emde explained the purpose behind the Trailblazers, “Our mission has been, and continues to be, to keep the sport of motorcycling alive by gathering annually to reconnect, remember and honor our fellow motorcycling friends and associates.”

And so it was in 1940 that A.F. Van Order and a core of motorcycle racers within the Los Angeles, California, area gathered for a banquet. The group called themselves the Trailblazers, and table settings were for men only; no women allowed.

Beyond enjoying a good meal and camaraderie with fellow racers, the order of business at that first gathering included electing a club president. The honor fell to Paul “Dare Devil” Derkum, although Van Order remained the driving force for the annual banquets until his passing in 1954.

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