The Dodge City 300 Centennial, July 1-6, 2014, celebrates one of the most significant and historic motorcycle events in America. On July 4, 1914, Dodge City, Kansas, hosted a major international motorcycle race. The list of competitors reads like a Who's Who of motorcycling. The race is known throughout the world motorcycling community and it served as the kick-off for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle racing division, a group that came to dominate motorcycle racing for many years to come.
The Dodge City 300, Inc. has formed as a non-profit entity to host the celebration. Some of the planned events include:
- Short Track motorcycle race promoted by Crooked Creek Promotions of Little Rock, Ark.
- Sand Drags
- Kansas Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home
- Historic Motorcycle Displays.
- Blues Bands
- Peoples Choice Classic, Vintage, Antique and Custom and Classic Motorcycle Shows
- A selection of Single Day Gypsy Tours
- Motorcycles and Art Juried Art Show
- Symposium on Early Motorcycle Racing History
- Motorcycle Field Events (amateur)
- Motorcycle Vendors, Dealers, apparel & gear
- Historic marker dedication - original track site
- Motorcyclists fun, fellowship, camaraderie and much more
The celebration takes place in the historic old west city of Dodge City, Kansas, on the 100th anniversary of the race - an event that more than tripled the local population. More information may be found on the organization's website at: DodgeCity300.org
A Little Dodge City 300 History
July 4, 1914, saw the wild west town of Dodge City, Kansas, hosting what may have been one of the most significant motorcycle races in history. A two-mile oval track was laid out just northeast of Dodge City with sanctioning by the FAM (Federation of American Motorcyclists) which was the forerunner of today's American Motorcyclists Association (AMA) - the governing body of motorcycle competition. The major manufacturers of the day showed up with Hendee Manufacturing Indian motorcycles of Springfield, Massachusetts, entered as a factory team. Also competing were Thor, Pope, Harley-Davidson, Excelsior, and Flying Merkel. The race was won by Glenn "Slivers" Boyd on the big 8-valve Indian with Bill Brier second on a Thor and Carl Goudy third on an Excelsior.
Both William Harley and Walter Davidson attended the race to watch the performance of their privateer entered machines. Harley-Davidson had not yet fielded a serious racing team in 1914. The Harley Davidson bikes entered in the event did not perform well. As a result, Harley and Davidson realized their company would be embarrassed in the market place, convincing them to hire tuner and team manager Bill Ottaway away from Thor to form what became the "Wrecking Crew" and eventually the "Hogs." Harley-Davidson would win every Dodge City 300 from 1915 to 1921 excepting a 3 year hiatus during World War I.
Kansas farm boy and H-D rider Ray Weishaar in Dodge City with the piglet mascot that gave H-D their "HOGS" moniker.
The 1914 Indian Racing Team in Dodge City – Famous endurance rider Erwin "Cannonball" Baker is at far left.