KANSAS CITY, MO., JUNE 3—Near the Land of Oz, “aahs” were being generated because of the motorcycle wizards that had lovingly and painstakingly collected, rebuilt, restored and carefully cared for original-condition vintage motorcycles. AJS, BMW, BSA, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian, Moto Guzzi, Rickman, Triumph, Ural, Vincent, Zundapp and Ducati (the featured marque this year) were just a smattering of the motorcycle brands entered into the Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts’ (HoAME) 21st annual Vintage Motorcycle Rally.
Once again, this year’s show was conveniently held at the National Airline History Museum hangar at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Kansas City Airport. Nestled in the bend and confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, with the skyline of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, overlooking it, the airport is home to the Airline History Museum and site of the HoAME annual rally for the past few years. And once again, ideal weather prevailed.
Having the HoAME show in the Airline Museum is like a two-for-one ride in a time machine. Not only did you have more than 270 amazingly exquisite motorcycles to peruse, but you could also inspect a 1941 Douglas DC-3 TWA airliner, a 1952 Martin 404 Eastern airliner (one of only five in North America), a 1971 Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, and a fully restored 1957 Lockheed Super-G Constellation airliner in traditional TWA colors—the only airworthy civilian Constellation in existence.
The caliber of exhibitors and their machines from this Midwest region has risen to include world-class collectibles that have been featured in such prominent shows as the Art of the Motorcycle, the Legend of the Motorcycle, and AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Many of the classic bikes on display were ridden by their owners to the HoAME vintage show.
Enthusiasts—that’s the only way you can describe them. The volunteers, the exhibitors, the sponsors, the spectators, and even the occasional accidental tourist. The HoAME 21st annual Vintage Motorcycle Rally brought them all together for one exciting day at this year’s annual vintage bike show for a mere $5 admission fee.
It was a motorhead’s nirvana. You could meet the owners of the bikes on display and learn about the passions of these individuals and the history of their machines. The one-to-one (or -two, or –three or more) face time is definitely an element that sets the HoAME show apart from the typical motorcycle show. In addition to standing back for an overall view, you have the opportunity to closely eyeball any glorious detail of fit and finish or hardware and fasteners that may grab your attention. A significant portion of Kansas City’s motorcycling heritage is gathered together for your indulgence for the day. And most owners are more than happy to share their motorcycle experiences and knowledge with you.
Bikes exhibited in this year’s vintage motorcycle rally included: Doug Rollert’s 1917 Indian Power Plus that won the Best Preservation award;
John Garcia’s 1929 BSA 770 Colonial that won second place trophy in the Best British class; Doug Rollert’s 1946 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead that won the trophy for Best American; and Kenny Bright’s 1956 BSA Gold Star that won the Best Competition trophy. The Clymer Manuals Award trophy went to Ron Covell’s 1967 Honda CB450. Wally LaFond’s award-winning 1973 BMW R75/5 was back on display again this year, and Motorcycle Cannonball Coast-to-Coast Endurance Run rider Steve Simpson was there with his 1928 Harley-Davidson JD.
Dale Keesecker’s 1974 Laverda 750 FSC took the trophy for Best European Motorcycle. At the end of the day Dale also garnered Best in Show and People’s Choice trophies for his exquisite—and rare—1968 Egli-Vincent.
Sean Ervin supplied the delightful Ducati, a 1962 Elite 200cc, for the poster promoting this year’s HoAME highlighted marque. Nationally renowned Kansas City photographer Nick Vedros worked with creative director Steve Sweitzer and spritely “Ducati Girl” Caitlin to produce the eye-catching image for the HoAME promos. Ervin’s Ducati held a place of honor in the center of the show on top of a Ducati shipping crate surrounded by more than two-dozen more dazzling Ducs.
The listing of motorcycles I mentioned barely scratched the surface of the veritable smorgasbord of bikes from a wide variety of manufacturers from every decade on display. There were also café racers, “tiddlers,” scooters and minibikes. If you could not find a bike like the one you used to own, you could definitely find a bike to lust after.
An exciting element added to this year’s event was the appearance of Chris “Teach” McNeil. “Teach” is the only BMW-sponsored stunt rider in the U.S. He put on three thrilling performances during the day, doing amazing feats on a BMW GS800 and a BMW 1000RR. Check his website at www.teachtrix.com or the HoAME website for some video clips of his gravity-defying stunts.
The Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts typically make a big deal of this rally weekend, and rightly so. This year was no exception. Earlier on, the HoAMEs held one of their club dealer rides. They gathered at their monthly meeting location, Lucky Brewgrille, and rode to Shawnee Cycle Plaza, Café Racer, Advantage PowerSports, Engle Motors (with a plentiful supply of free hot dogs), Austin Trailers and Motorsports, Reno’s Powersports and Freedom Cycles, all on a Saturday. The routes between dealerships managed to include a lot of interesting roads off the beaten path.
A HoAME First Friday Block Party was hosted at Dave Wilhm’s KC Brake & Auto Repair on June 1. The first Friday of each month, the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District (surrounding 20th Street and Baltimore) hosts an evening of open art galleries, street bands, outdoor movies, street performers and plenty of food and drink. At the HoAME Block Party, about two blocks away from the center of the Arts District, Boulevard Brewing Company, Missouri’s largest independent brewery, stepped up as a sponsor and provided free beer.
The HoAME Club originated in the mid 1980s. The concept of an all-inclusive club was adopted as a way to reach agreement on the club’s orientation. They established a meeting schedule, elected officers, designed a logo and began to attract more members. In 1991 the club organized its first weekend motorcycle rally and show at Clinton Lake, south of Lawrence, Kansas. This became an AMA-sanctioned event, and for the first 15 years the event was held at the lake. Today they celebrated their 21st anniversary in style, close by in downtown Kansas City.
HoAME President Mike Pandzik, Rally Director Jim Van Eman, with Raj Mitra as assistant rally director, and the rally committee members presented another outstanding rally. Jim worked with All Star Awards to develop the trophies for this year’s rally with a donated vintage carburetor serving as the topping for the Best-In-Show trophy. Additional trophies were very large polished and engraved wrenches—an actual useful tool to add to your collection of plaques and ribbons.
“The turnout was great—nearly 2,000,” Jim Van Eman enthused. “It was one of the largest rally crowds ever of exhibitors, vendors and spectators. We had a great group of hard-working volunteers, and a kick-ass BMW riding show. Now, we’ll take a well-deserved rest, and soon start the planning for next year’s program.”
Go to www.hoame.com to find out how you can join this eclectic group of motorcyclists to add more motorcycle related activities to your lifestyle, and to make sure you put the Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts’ 22nd annual Vintage Motorcycle Rally on your 2013 calendar. 4