“We’re not just a cowboy town,” says Oliver Bland.
Back in its heyday, Dodge City attracted as many bikers as it did cowboys. In 1914, 17,000 people came to the races in town. 26 trains a day came. Companies like Indian and Harley Davidson had their motorcycles shipped in on the train.
“The intrigue at that time was awesome,” Bland adds.
The time that Bland is referring to is the era of the Dodge City 300, an epic motorcycle race that took place on July 4, 1914. The race happened just northeast of Dodge City on a two mile oval track. Competing motorcycle companies included Indian, Pope, Thor, Excelsior, Flying Merkel and Harley Davidson. Glenn “Slivers” Boyd won the race on his Indian bike, with Bill Brier coming in second on his Thor and Carl Goudy coming in third on his Excelsior. Present among the audience members were William Harley and Walter Davidson, who attended to watch how their machines performed. Harley Davidson would go on to win every Dodge City 300 from 1915 to 1921.
Now, Oliver Brand and his group of fellow motorcycle enthusiasts called Dodge City 300, Inc. are looking to bring the magic of this era back to life through a Centennial event to take place July 1 through 6, 2014.
“We were around when some of the races were going on and Dodge has such a deep history of races… We’re gonna bring it back to Dodge,” Bland said.
Meanwhile, Dodge City 300, Inc. is open to additional members.
The event itself will feature an antique motorcycle display, beer garden, fireworks, vendors and, of course, racing. It harkens back to a time when Front Street was lined with motorcycles.
“We had all of that right here, so why not bring it back?” Bland said.
For more information on the Dodge City 300 Centennial, visit www.dodgecity300.org.