June 1, 1956 the Wichita Jeeps Motorcycle Club will celebrate their
the following Preamble and Platform a new club was organized and
held its first meeting at the Harley Shop in the first block on
North Water Street, on June 1, 1936 by E.C. Smith.
we believe that the greatest benefits from motorcycling are received
through the organization to be known to us as the Wichita Jeeps
Motorcycle Club we declare the purpose of this organization
to be the promotion of motorcycling as a sport in whatever ways
may seem best to achieve this purpose.
furthermore that this club is a nonprofit organization and whatever
money or property shall accrue to said club from races, dues, fees, or
any sources whatever shall be placed in a fund to be used and spent only
on club activities. This shall not be construed to prohibit the buying
of presents and flowers on appropriate occasions.
Jeeps Motorcycle Club aims:
1. To bring within the organization all riders, male and female, who
are actively engaged in or connected with the motorcycle sport, to press
in their hearts the spirit of mutual helpfulness, and to impress them
with their obligation to do their best for the welfare of each member
and for the Club as a whole.
2. To adopt
and put into active operation an effective plan to stabilize motorcycling
for all the members of our organization.
charter members were present at the first meeting: Clay Allred, Kenneth
Allred, Warren Heinkel, Paul Stepleton, Leland Chapman, Bill Devore, Les
McColgan, Al Olmstead, Curley Bauer, Glen Richmond and Virgil Mendenhall,
who was elected President.
they dream that 20 years later from this small gathering would emerge
a club that would receive the highest award Most Outstanding
Club trophy. On April 10, 1956, four charter members Clay Allred,
Warren Heinkel, Les McColgan and Al Olmstead saw Mayor Claude Devorss
present the Trophy to President Jerry Frazier.
has received eleven coveted Safety Awards. The first was presented to
us in 1938. Five Awards have been won in the last five consecutive years.
information on the progress of the club from 1936 to 1950 required personal
interviews, scrap books and newspaper clippings as all of the club records
were destroyed by high water in 1950.
1937 and 1938 most of the activity was getting the new club started and
on its own two feet. Races were held on a quarter mile track at 28th and
Market. Price of admission was $0.10 per person and the riders prize
money was in proportion to what was taken in at the gate.
was increasing in the sport of motorcycling and so was the membership
in the club. Then the big race in 1939. Track location was on East Kellogg
and the purse was $400, which was guaranteed by all club members. Riders
came from all points. A few were: Hap Jones from California, J.B. Jones
from Indiana, Les and Dutch Meyers, Wichita Falls, Texas, Bruce Pearson,
Tommy Hayes, Stan Newton, Dugan Douglas, Wilbur Fudge and Eldon Beer.
Over 40 entries were in and on that eventful Sunday under a threatening
sky and with a very large crowd it rained. Some of the riders promised
to come back the following Sunday and a few didnt leave town. The
weather was favorable and the race was held. The Winners were: Hap Jones
1st, J.B. Jones 2nd, and Dugan Douglas 3rd. After seeing a profitable
adventure washed out the Sunday before the club members were happy to
only break even.
On May 5,
1940 on East Harry at a motorcycle race as an added event, which everyone
in attendance remembers, was the burning four wall crash by Ed Adrain
who now resides at Newton, Kansas.
In 1941 the
membership had grown to approximately 50 members. Five members of the
club made a Good Will Tour to Mexico City. In April 1942 races were held
on South Meridian. That was the last event for the public for a few years
due to World War II. 1943 and 1944 were curtained to meetings and house
parties. Services were volunteered and accepted for Auxiliary Police Work.
Members furnished their own cycles and gas with the Police Department
furnishing the gas stamps.
In 1944 the
club moved to the new and present Harley-Davidson Sales and Service Shop
at 623 W. Douglas. It was along about this time that George Merritt was
elected as Activity Chairman. He continued to serve until his death in
April 1951. No one has contributed as much time, talent and interest in
the Jeeps as George did. It was during his years in office
that the policies were set up that has allowed the club to make money
and progress to one of the outstanding clubs in the world. In honor of
George Merritt the following statement is posted in a prominent location
at our present clubhouse:
spent here regardless, goes for the benefit of the Wichita Jeeps Motorcycle
By: Geo. H. Merrritt
In 1945 the
club moved into a clubhouse of its own known as the chicken house.
Then in 1947 the new clubhouse on East Pawnee was completed. The
club was in debt $2646.97 on April 16, 1947. Through various ways and
means of raising money under Georges leadership the loan was paid
on June 7, 1948.
In 1949 the
club was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the state laws
of Kansas and carry our present title Wichita Jeeps Motorcycle
of Wichita was growing and so was the Jeeps Club. The Quonset
clubhouse was too small for the growing membership and the city limits
was getting closer. Land was purchased on K-42 (Southwest of Wichita)
on which the present clubhouse was constructed. We have been at our present
location since January 1, 1952.
have increased yearly. The following races are now annual events: Side
Car Race, Easter Egg Hunt, Gypsy Tour, Hare and Hound Race, Turkey Run
and Christmas Run. Numerous other races are scheduled throughout
the year. A Halloween Party, Dinner-Dance Party, Christmas Party are the
annual social events.
In 1955 a
large number of club members joined the Wichita Auxiliary Police. They
have all completed their primary and advanced First Aid Courses and primary
course in Police Training. In case of war this group would work as a Civil
now has a total membership of 85. We own our clubhouse, which is located
on a 7-½ acre tract. We are debt free and our total evaluation
is approximately $20,000.
We have been
honored with the highest award for 1955. We have accepted the challenge
to do better in 1956. Activities have been scheduled or every month this
year. We will continue to prosper and grow by following our Preamble
the Club was advised by the Hi-Way Department, that our land and building
on K-42 Hi-Way would be condemned for the right-of-way of the I-235 bypass
around the West side of Wichita.
at all available land around Wichita, we decided to buy 80 acres at 101st.
Street North and 81 Hi-Way.
financial backing of Warren Heinkel, we took possession of the land in
November of 1957, but there was no construction work started on the new
clubhouse until June of 1958. The work, which was started, was a
72 x 25 basement and this was not completed until December
of 1958, just in time for our New Years Eve party.
a racetrack was laid out in an open field East of the clubhouse and from
that time on this was the big thing for the Club. Also in 1959, Jim Wycoff
and Les Bennest constructed a concession stand out of lumber from our
K42 clubhouse. The original concession stand is still in use.
Leroy Hanilton, Jim Cooper and Clarence Bash, laid out and built a short
½ mile race track. Parts of this track are still being used to
Bill Dusenbery, Sr. borrowed from the County, a D-8 bulldozer and
a motor road grader to improve the ½ mile track. The track was
later oiled with 12,000 gallons of oil, was also sanded and sand plowed
under. In the early 60s track lights were installed around the half-mile
track under the direction of Bill Dusenbery, Sr. and night races were
One of the
most important jobs in the Club is the job of Activity Chairman. The first
one being George Merritt, in the early 40s. Following George
were, Buddy Siegel, Jim Cooper, M.L. Kinney, Pete Jones, Harvey Bankson,
Clarence Bash, Bob Fitzgibbons, Bob Chenault,.Bill Patterson, Sam
McCurly, Don Lowman and the present Activity Chairman, Gene Benefield.
a new clubhouse, 72 x 50, was built over the basement. This
was promoted by Don Lowman, and quite a large sum of money was borrowed
for the new construction.
As of today,
the clubhouse has now been finished on the inside, largely by the efforts
of Bob Bledsoe and Gene Benefield, along with the help of 4 or 5 different
under the direction of Sam McCurly, improvements were made on our racetrack
and a ¼ mile short track was added.
is not a racing club, although we do have one or two races per month.
Along with the races, we also have activity events such as, poker runs,
lime runs, banquets, parties in the clubhouse, bench riding, and sometimes
it even sounds like a Liars Club as each rider or member tries to tell
the tallest tale.
membership, as of September 1973, stands at 70. This is down from a peck
of 120 in December of 1957. But as of now, we are building our membership
up again as more and more people are enjoying the Sport of Motorcycling
and I truly believe our best years are ahead of us.
the future could be for a 2,000 seat grandstand and a new and larger concession
stand, which would include restrooms and shower facilities, as soon as
water is available. We are hoping that this will be possible in the spring
IS OURS; IT WILL BE WHAT WE MAKE IT!
Jeeps Motorcycle Club is in its Fifty-first year as an American Motorcyclist
Association Chartered, Club. As such, it is the oldest, continuously active,
motorcycleoriented association in our area.
Jeeps was adopted by the membership when the club was chartered,
and refers to a popular Cartoon Character of that time period. This name
is not to be confused with the small, four wheel drive vehicle that
has been in evidence since the late forties.
has eighty acres of ground situated on One hundred and first Street North,
between Broadway (81 Highway) and I-135. Exit number Nineteen on I-135
is 101st Street and from there the grounds are only a short distance west.
Business meetings are held at the clubhouse on these grounds each Friday
evening at Eight Oclock. Visitors are welcome and applications for
membership can be obtained at any regular meeting.
have traditionally been involved with some of the more competitive aspects
of motorcycling. In addition to the clubhouse, which is used for meetings
and social events, three racecourses are maintained on the grounds with
the possibility of a fourth one being added in the future. These consist
of: A Short track (slightly banked, dirt oval, race track), a Motocross
course (a rather short, simulated cross-country track, of jumps, bumps,
and assorted mayhem), and a Hare Scrambles course (an approximately three
and a half mile, crosscountry course for longer duration racing).
These race programs provide competition for adults and youngsters on twowheelers,
three-wheelers and minis.
does not mean that other, less strenuous, activities are left out of this
clubs schedule. To the contrary, there are members whose interests
run the entire spectrum of motorcycling. This is a club, which provides
the opportunity to do it all!