SIR BARON THUNDERFOOTS SPECIALS

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DAY 11 CATPAIGN

January 11th 2014 12:06 pm
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Trophies:

With the PCHA/WCHL/WHL now out of the way, the NHL took control of the Stanley Cup, awarding it to the victor of the league. The NHL also added more trophies to its case, awarding them each year. The first trophy was the Prince of Wales trophy, which the Prince of Wales had donated to the NHL in 1924. Initially, it was given to the winner of the NHL (while the Stanley Cup was awarded to the victor of the series between the NHL and WHL). After the WHL folded, the Prince of Wales trophy was presented to the regular season champion, while the Stanley Cup was given to the playoff champs. Years later, in the ‘60s, when the league expanded, the Wales trophy would play a different role.

In that same year, 1924, Dr. David Hart, father of Cecil Hart, who managed the Canadiens to three Stanley Cup wins, donated a trophy to the league to be awarded to the player considered most valuable to his team. The Hart Memorial Trophy is still awarded to the league MVP, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA). Its first winner was Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators. Nighbor also received the first Lady Byng Trophy. In 1925, Lady Byng, wife of Canada’s governor general, invited Nighbor to dinner, impressed by his play. After asking Nighbor if he thought the NHL would accept the trophy to be awarded to the most gentlemanly player (and Nighbor answered that he thought the NHL would), Lady Byng awarded the trophy to Nighbor. The award is still given today to the player who shows the most sportsmanship, again as chosen by the PHWA.

Finally, the Vezina trophy was first introduced in the 1920s. Georges Vezina, who had played goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens for years, collapsed on the ice in the 1925-26 season, suffering from tuberculosis. He died a year later. At the end of the ’26-’27 season, Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, owners of the Montreal Canadiens, gave the trophy to the league, awarding it to the goalie of the team with the fewest goals against it. In 1981, the Vezina was changed, awarded instead to the goaltender considered to be the best in the league (as determined by the PHWA).


Conn Smythe’s Luck and the ‘30s:

Conn Smythe, after returning from a German P.O.W. camp (which he had spent time in during World War I), got back into hockey first by building the New York Rangers into a Stanley Cup winner. Smythe parlayed a $2,500 amount paid to him by the Rangers for scouting and assembling the team into $10,000 via gambling (on a soccer match between Toronto and McGill University and on a hockey game between Toronto and the Rangers). With that money, and by gathering other investors, Smythe bought the Toronto St. Patricks, renaming them the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smythe also built a new arena in Toronto, vowing to win the Stanley Cup within five years. Though he had some initial success with the fans, he needed a star player as well; he found him in Frank Clancy. Clancy was a huge star in hockey, and when the cash-strapped Ottawa Senators put him up for sale, Smythe put together the money to sign him by putting his race horse, at 106-1 odds, in a single race, winning the money necessary to ink Clancy. Five years almost to the day since Smythe had vowed to win the Stanley Cup, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Rangers at Maple Leaf Gardens to hoist the Stanley Cup as its 1932 champions.

However, while Smythe was experiencing success, several other NHL franchises were not. The Great 30's Depression had hit in both Canada and the U.S., and teams struggled to stay in business. The Philadelphia Quakers (who had been the Pittsburgh franchise) suspended operations for a year in 1931, but never returned. The Ottawa Senators did the same that year, returning for the 1932-33 season, but in 1934 moved to St. Louis. That franchise only lasted one season, then folded. The Montreal Maroons, who had shared hockey’s capital with the Canadiens for years, went out of business in 1938. Many hockey players also left Canada and the U.S. to go play in Europe, where teams were offering pay (and sometimes better pay) to hockey players. The exodus that resulted from the Depression helped raise the level of play in international hockey as many of the players shared their hockey knowledge with the locals in Europe.


War Again: the 1940s:

As had happened during World War I, World War II saw the creation of several military teams across Canada. However, unlike before, public outcry eventually worked against them. As most of the military teams stayed at home for the early part of the war, the public thought it outrageous that hockey players essentially got deferments. The military responded by almost immediately sending the soldier teams to war. Still, many enlisted players never had to fight overseas; the Montreal Canadiens in particular largely escaped the conflict because of a loophole in the system, which allowed them to stay home if their jobs were considered essential to the war effort. The Toronto Maple Leafs would have mostly done the same had Conn Smythe not been so devoted to the military. With the Canadiens able to stay at home, they dominated the early part of the 1940s in hockey. This domination was helped by the addition of a young player from Montreal named Maurice Richard. The man who eventually earned the nickname “Rocket” was a scoring machine: in the 1944 Stanley Cup Finals, Rocket Richard scored five goals…in one game, including three in the first period alone (known as a natural hat trick). The next year, Richard would become the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games, a record that would stand for over 30 years. Richard would go on to be the first NHL player to record 500 goals in a career.

The ‘40s also saw an innovation in the game that helped significantly increase scoring: the creation of the center red line. The brainchild of NY Rangers coach Frank Boucher and Boston Bruins coach Art Ross, the red line, which divides the rink in half, was put in place so players could now pass the puck out of their own zone (which had previously been illegal). This helped open up scoring: scoring averages went from 2.5 goals per game in the late ‘30s to 4.08 gpg in 1944, the first year of the new line. That same season, six NHLers scored 30 or more goals, the first time in NHL history that happened.

In 1947, the NHL had another first: their first All-Star game. The exhibition, played between a team of NHL All-Stars and the defending Cup champion Maple Leafs, raised money for the newly created NHL Pension Fund. The All-Stars won 4-3 and the game raised more than $25 thousand ($240 thousand today). In that same season, ‘46-‘47, the NHL increased the regular season from 50 to 60 games. Just three years later, in the ’49-’50 season, the number of games would again go up, this time to 70. That number would not change again until expansion hit the league. Also in the ’47 season, Boston Bruins coach Art Ross gave the NHL a new trophy, named for him, to be awarded to the NHL’s scoring leader at the end of each season.

 

DAY 10 CATPAIGN BLOG

January 10th 2014 5:23 am
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The War and Beyond:

World War I claimed millions of lives, and hockey players were among those lost. As Canada entered the war (it was still under British control, and went to war when the U.K. did), many hockey teams were gutted, losing quite a few players. However, play went on, and new teams started to pop up – soldier teams. Units put together teams made up of their soldiers, and exhibitions were often played, some of them earning nice profits for the soldiers. One soldier team, led by Conn Smythe, who would go on to play a big role in hockey, earned a profit of $6,706 for one game played ($135,000 modern), with the bulk of the profit coming from a wager with the opposing team’s owner. That caught the attention of the NHA, who put together a team from the 228th battalion and made them a member of the NHA during the war.

The war also helped the cause of women’s rights and women in hockey. Before the war, women in Canada could neither vote nor own property; once the war began and women went to work, those things changed. And although women had been playing hockey almost since the sport began, the war gave women’s hockey a far bigger spotlight, and they flourished, with some rumors circulating that the pro men’s leagues were even going to consider signing some of the top female stars. While that never came to fruition, it underlined the quality of the women’s play.

When Montreal beat Portland to win the Stanley Cup in 1916, it was the first Stanley Cup victory for the Canadiens. They would go on to win more Stanley Cup than any hockey team in history. Yet, that first victory was overshadowed by severely low attendance figures; the war hurt hockey greatly, primarily in the pocketbook. However, when the Canadiens travelled to Seattle to play the Stanley Cup the next year, with the Metros taking the Cup, it helped revive some interest in the sport, and as the world exited from world war, hockey recovered. Ironically, however, the only Stanley Cup series ever cancelled after a full season had been played came just a year after the war ended, when, in 1919, the series was shut down due to the flu epidemic.

1920 also saw hockey at the Olympics for the first time. Though world hockey had been around for the vast majority of the 20th century, its quality was not very high. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had been formed in 1908, made up of Belgium, Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), England, France and Switzerland, with Germany joining a year later. Canada and the U.S., the true centers of the hockey world, did not join until 1920, the year of the Olympics. Though the Olympics that year were not well attended – held in Antwerp, the majority of the public could not put together enough money to attend – hockey was a huge draw, with the Canadians winning handily.


The NHL:

During the war years, as pro hockey struggled to stay afloat, numerous disagreements arose among the owners, particularly Toronto Blueshirts owners Eddie Livingstone, who regularly flouted league rules and angered the other owners.

Things got so bad that prior to the 1917-18 season, the other NHA owners began to work on shutting down the league and start a new one, leaving Eddie Livingstone out in the cold. In response, Livingstone transferred ownership of his team to a Toronto arena ownership group; when the Quebec Bulldogs had to shut down, the other owners allowed Toronto into the fold of their new league, the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL, after its first season, quickly moved to become the premier professional league in hockey, naming itself pro hockey’s governing body.

However, the early NHL was not a massive organization; comprised of four teams initially, it lost one (the Montreal Wanderers) after its first season. Despite adding a team in Hamilton along the way, the NHL only had three real, stable franchises: the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto St. Patricks (Livingstone’s old team) and the Ottawa Senators. When Hamilton’s players went on strike in 1925, NHL president Frank Calder suspended the entire team and fined them. The NHL, wanting to branch out to the U.S., then sold the team to a New York entrepreneur and renamed them the New York Americans. The Americans debuted at the newly built Madison Square Garden (which replaced its predecessor in 1925).

Meanwhile, out west, the PCHA had been struggling along in the late 1910s and into the 1920s, and in 1924, they merged with the Western Canada Hockey League, which had started up in 1921. After two years, the new league (the Western Hockey League) finally folded, and the Patrick brothers sold off their two remaining teams to owners from Detroit and Chicago. Those two teams joined the NHL, which now had teams in Boston and Pittsburgh in addition to Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and New York. That same year, 1926, New York businessman Tex Rickard (who had spearheaded the building of Madison Square Garden and the addition of the New York Americans to the NHL) sought to form his own team, also in New York, having them named the Rangers (a word play on Texas Rangers). The NHL had truly taken form, and established itself as the premier pro hockey league in the world.

 

DAY 9 CATPAIGN BLOG

January 9th 2014 9:57 am
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Professional Hockey:

Hockey’s popularity led to serious moneymaking for the owners; the Stanley Cup in particular was a huge financial success, drawing large crowds who paid good money to watch the games. Hockey’s success also led to gambling on the sport. However, despite all the money coming from the sport, almost none was going to the players. The leagues in Canada and the U.S. were strictly amateur, and though money often changed hands under the table, the vast majority of players were never paid. That all changed in 1904. Jack Gibson, born in Ontario in 1880 and a hockey star there, moved to Michigan to study dentistry in Detroit shortly after the turn of the century. After setting up a practice in Houghton, Michigan, Gibson formed the Portage Lake hockey team in 1902. Gibson’s team was given a new arena by local businessman James Dee, who invested a great deal of money in the team. The Portage Lake squad was exceptionally good, beating most opponents over the next two years. This was helped by the fact that Gibson had been recruiting Canadian stars to come play for the team, offering to pay them. In 1904, Gibson’s Portage Lakers beat the Stanley Cup champion Montreal Wanderers. The success of the two game series – called the World Championship – led Dee and Gibson to form the International Hockey League, the first professional hockey league. The league’s first teams came from Houghton, Calumet, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. Hod Stuart, star of the Portage Lake team, took advantage of free agency in the new league and signed with Calumet as player-coach for $1,800 per season (worth $44,700 today). As the league experienced early success, players from Canada swarmed over the border, drawn by the prospect of being paid to play hockey. Canadian hockey finally responded with the creation of the Ontario Professional Hockey League in 1907, which helped persuade some Canadian stars to cross back over the border. In the other Canadian hockey leagues, players were now being paid quietly, drawing even more back to the country, and between the Canadian hockey leagues now paying their talent and a recession, the International Hockey League folded in 1907.


New Leagues and New Teams:

Late in 1909, the Eastern Canada Hockey Association had folded because of disputes between new owner J.P. Doran and the rest of the owners. The others owners folded the league only to start a new one, the Canadian Hockey Association, shutting out Doran. As a result, Doran’s Montreal Wanderers formed a new league of their own, the National Hockey Association, with small town teams from Haileybury, Cobalt and Renfrew, while adding a new team by forming the Montreal Canadiens, an all French-Canadian team. This new league was well-financed, with early stars Lester and Frank Patrick making $3,000 and $2,000 per season. The biggest star of the new league (and its wealthiest) was Fred Taylor, who had played in the IHL before going back to Canada to play for the Ottawa Senators. When the Renfrew Millionaires of the NHA came calling, Taylor negotiated a contract of $5,200 per season (which, at the time, was just 12 games). At the time, that salary was more than double that of the Canadian prime minister. The $5,200 salary broke down to just over $433 per game. In today’s money, that comes to $126,000 per season, $10,500 per game. However, the pricey players spelled trouble for the league, and the NHA by 1912 was suffering heavily in financial terms, with small town teams Renfrew, Cobalt and Haileybury all dropping out, and two Toronto teams taking their place.

Meanwhile, as the NHA was suffering, brothers Lester and Frank Patrick had moved to the Pacific coast of Canada, to Vancouver, where they started up the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Hockey had never really caught on on the west coast of Canada, primarily because there was so little natural ice that formed. The Patricks solved this problem by building the Vancouver Arena, the world’s largest artificial ice arena (which had previously been Madison Square Garden in New York). The first pro hockey game ever played west of Ontario and Michigan was in 1912, and the Patrick brothers had made it possible by ensuring they lured players west with plenty of money, poaching many from the NHA. Still, the money wasn’t quite the same – in the PCHA’s second season, Fred Taylor was convinced to come west to play for $1,800 a season, more than he could get elsewhere, but far less than his salary from just three years earlier. In 1915, the Stanley Cup ceased to be a challenge cup, as the NHA and PCHA agreed to compete for the prize at the end of each season, with Vancouver winning the PCHA’s first Stanley Cup that year. A year prior, the New Westminster team of the PCHA had been sold and moved to Portland, Oregon, and in 1915, a new franchise was formed in Seattle. The Patricks had created a truly international league. In 1916, the Portland team became the first American team to play for the Stanley Cup, losing to the Canadiens in a five-game series, and the next year, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup.

But Lester and Frank did not merely change the sport through their money; they also brought new innovations that would revolutionize the game. In 1912, the Patricks debuted numbered uniforms and allowed goalies to drop to their feet in order to make saves. The next year, they came up with the concept of zoned hockey, creating the blue lines, and allowed forward passing in those zones.

 

day 8 catpaign

January 8th 2014 9:34 am
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BEGINNINGS CONT

Lord Stanley:

Hockey took the country by storm, as hockey teams sprouted up across eastern Canada, both at universities and at amateur athletic clubs. McGill University (at which James Creighton studied law) established the first university hockey team in 1877, and the 1880s saw an explosion of teams. The first hockey leagues formed in the mid-1880s, while the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC), which began in 1885, was the first national hockey organization. At the Montreal Winter Carnival in 1889, at a match between the Montreal Victorias and the Amateur Athletic Association, Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Governor General of Canada, with his wife and two children stopped to watch the game. Stanley was taken with the game, and helped to form a team, the Rideau Rebels and a league, the Ontario Hockey Association (which formed in 1890). Two years after the formation of the OHA, Stanley created the concept of a regional competition and gave a cup to be awarded to the victor, the Dominion Challenge Trophy. In 1893, it was decided the cup would never become the property of any team and was renamed the Stanley Hockey Championship Cup. While the cup, about the size of an association football, has undergone several cosmetic changes over the years, the Stanley Cup is still awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League today.


Growth:

As the country spread west, so did the sport. The Manitoba Hockey Association was formed in 1892, and first competed for the Stanley Cup four years later. In their first attempt at capturing the Cup, the Winnipeg team defeated their counterparts from Montreal, (the first team the Cup winners didn’t come from Montreal), and the reports of the victory came down in hockey’s first play-by-play, done by telegraph. The Cup continued to be awarded, year after year, to teams mainly from Montreal, the hockey capital of the world. In 1900, a team from Halifax competed for the Stanley Cup, losing to the Montreal Shamrocks 11-0. However, the Halifax team had come west with the practice of putting up fishing nets on the back of the metal posts that served as goals. The tradition stayed, and the first goal nets were born.




Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, the game spread not only geographically but also across the classes. While the amateur athletic clubs who played organized hockey were made up of upper class men, hockey leagues and teams formed among both the middle and lower classes, often by banks or mining companies for example. Women also played early organized hockey, forming their own leagues by the turn of the century. The first black hockey league began in Nova Scotia, the Colored League of the Maritimes, in 1900. Its creation was spurred because the white leagues wouldn’t allow black players. The game had also spread all the way to the Pacific in Canada and south to the United States by 1900, in places like Vancouver, the Yukon Territory, New England and Michigan. Early hockey, however, was also plagued by excessive violence. In two cases, one in 1905 and another in 1907, hockey players were put on trial after blows that killed other hockey players. Both times the players were found innocent, but the press and many in the country (including the juries) called on legislation to be enacted that would curb the violence.

 

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January 7th 2014 6:34 am
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Ice Hockey


The Ball-and-Stick on Ice:

Ball-and-stick games are almost as old as civilization itself. Its earliest origins may be from Persia, Egypt or China, while archaeological evidence shows an early ball-and-stick game played in Greece in the 400s BCE. As civilization spread, so did the games. And eventually, as the civilized world went north, ball-and-stick moved onto the ice. Paintings in the Netherlands in the 1600s showed the Dutch playing a version of golf on the ice; Scotland’s Edinburgh Skating Club, formed in 1642, is considered the oldest in the world, and records from Ireland’s Dublin Evening Post have a report of men playing hurling on ice. When the Europeans made their way across the Atlantic to North America, they discovered Native Americans had their own games, the forerunners of lacrosse, and some Native Americans in South Dakota essentially played lacrosse on ice. The modern idea of field hockey sprouted out of these traditions, and the modern sport of ice hockey was relegated primarily to small towns, and in no organized setting, until the late 1800s.

In 1872, a young man from Halifax, Nova Scotia named James Creighton moved to Montreal, bringing the sport of ice hockey (hereafter referred to just as “hockey”) with him – more particularly, bringing with him hockey sticks and skates. The skates, which were patented by a Nova Scotia company in 1866, featured rounded blades held onto boots by metal clamps (the first time that had ever been done and not too different from modern skates). After introducing the game to his friends, Creighton, in 1875, organized a group of players to practice the sport indoors at the Victoria Skating Rink. The sport had never taken hold indoors, forced outdoors by the societal belief that ice hockey only belonged on ponds, due in large part to the danger of a ball flying around inside. Creighton solved the problem by creating a “flat, circular piece of wood,” the first hockey puck. After practicing for about a month, Creighton staged a public exhibition of the sport on March 3, 1875. While some praised the new sport, others decried the violence in the game.

The earliest games in the sport were not carbon copies of the current version; the Halifax Rules , which Creighton played under in the March 3rd game, said the puck couldn’t leave the ice, no forward passing was permitted and the goalie couldn’t fall down or kneel to make saves. As the sport’s popularity skyrocketed in Montreal in the late 1800s, the official rules of the sport were created, the Montreal Rules, in 1877. Injured players could now be replaced, team sizes were set at seven a side (down from eight) and the rink’s measurements were now made standard.

 

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January 6th 2014 1:39 pm
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Harley Davidson History Time Line

[Harley Davidson Links]




1903 Harley Davidson is founded

1903 The first Harley-Davidson motorcycle is manufactured

1905 The "Silent Grey Fellow" nickname coincides with the new standard grey
color.

1907 The first Harley-Davidsons sold for police duty

1909 First "V-Twin" engine

1912 First clutch mechanism

1914 Stepstarter and internal expanding rear brake

1915 Three speed transmission

1916 The first issue of "The Enthusiast" publication
.
1922 74" Twin engine debuts

1928 Front wheel brake appears

1929 WL 45" Twin engine

1932 45" Servicar

1936 80" Side Valve Twin engine and the first "Knuckle Head" 61" engine

1937 William A. Davidson dies

1941 74" OHV Super Power engine

1942 Walter Davidson dies at age 65

1943 Bill Harley dies at age 66

1947 74" OHV Big Twin engine

1948 74" "Panhead" engine is introduced

1949 The Hydra-Glide debuts

1950 Arthur Davidson dies at age 69

1957 XLH Sportster

1958 The Hydra-Glide turns into the Duo-Glide

1959 XLCH Sportster

1960 The "Topper," a fiberglass motorscooter, was introduced.

1960 Harley Davidson teams up with Italian manufacturer Aeronautica Macchi
S.p.A. to produce a line of smaller bikes including the Shortster and Sprint
models.

1965 The Electra-Glide debuts

1965 George Roeder sets a world land speed record (177.225 m.p.h.) for 250
cc motorcycles on a much modified Harley-Davidson Sprint.

1965 After being privately held for over 60 years, Harley-Davidson goes
public.

1966 The introduction of the Harley Davidson "shovel head" engine

1967 Electric start Sportster

1969 Merger with American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF)

1971 FX 1200 Super Glide

1972 1000 cc XLH/XLCH Sportster

1972 First disc brakes on a Harley

1977 FXS 1200 Low Rider and FLHS

1978 75th Anniversary models

1978 FLH 80 Electra-Glide

1978 First electronic ignition on a Harley

1979 FXS 80 Low Rider

1980 FLT rubber mounted engine

1981 Senior executives at Harley-Davidson purchase the company from AMF.
Harley-Davidson once again becomes a privately owned company.

1983 President Reagan imposes additional tariffs on all Japanese motorcycles
700 cc or larger.

1983 The Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) is established.

1984 The Introduction of the "Evolution" engine

1984 First Softail models and Air Assisted Anti-Drive

1986 By offering common stock and subordinated notes, Harley-Davidson once
again becomes a publically owned corporation.

1987 In an unprecedented move, Harley-Davidson petitions the ITC for early
termination of the five year tariff imposed in 1983.

1988 Patented "Springer" front-end returns

1990 Dyna model is introduced

1991 All Harleys change to five speed transmission

1992 All Harleys adopt a belt drive

1993 "90th Anniversary" homecoming

1995 First fuel injection models

 

day 5 catpaign

January 5th 2014 10:57 am
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August 24, 1958

Harley-Davidson swept the 1958 racing Grand National competition held in Du Quoin, IL, marking the fifth straight year that Harley was first in the nation. Leading the pack was Carroll Resweber with 36 points. One point behind was Joe Leonard in second place. Three new AMA records were set: Joe Leonard won the 200-mile Beach-Road Course in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 11.3 seconds and the 50-mile, 1-mile dirt track in 34 min, 33 sec; and Carroll Resweber led the 20-mile, 1-mile dirt track race in 14 min, 5.12 sec. Harley had an additional seven outstanding victories throughout the year.


Racing Ad poster. Harley-Davidson Sweeps ’58 racing competition.



August 21, 1926

On the 1¼ mile board track in Rockingham, NH, Curly Fredericks set the record for fastest lap on a board track, registering 120.3 mph. That speed was never to be bested. Board Track racing was a teens and twenties’ form that involved speeding around a banked, wooden track. It was outlawed because of the high death rate of racers and spectators alike. Harley-Davidson’s Eight-Valve Racer was so successful in board track racing, that it was outlawed by the racing federation at the time.


Curly Fredericks posing on his motorcycle on a boardtrack.



August 15, 1939

The first National Gypsy Tour was held in 1917, as shown in this photo from that year. Gypsy Tours were large rallies organized by local motorcycle clubs. In 1939, the tours kicked off on August 15th. The events usually included a motorcycle tour that ended at a park where games and competitions were held. Participants were awarded watch fobs and trophies were handed out for various categories at a national level. These categories included best dressed, highest percentage of military participation, highest percentage of female participation, most riders, and fastest times for racing events.

Gypsy Tours were open to all and were social events that attracted thousands of participants. They were billed as a way to show the public the fun times that could be had on a motorcycle. Although the American Motorcycle Association set the official date for when Gypsy Tours would take place, individual motorcycle clubs were free to hold them anytime during the summer. Gypsy Tours attracted large crowds, but their popularity began to fade in the late 1950s.The tradition of events like the Gypsy Tours were never lost, though, as motorcycle clubs around the country still hold annual rallies and tours.


The official start date of the 1939 Gypsy Tours.



August 14, 1915

On August 14, 1915, over 150 Harley-Davidson employees and their families gathered at Army Lake for the first company picnic. The picnic featured games, prizes, and music and was, by all accounts, a great success. L. C. Rosenkrans, Harley-Davidson’s staff photographer, took several photos at the event in 1915. These images were among those recently re-discovered in 2012.


The first Harley-Davidson company picnic is held at Army Lake.

 

day 4 catpaign

January 5th 2014 10:54 am
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August 29, 1919

Ted Gilbert became the first motorcyclist to pilot a machine to the top of the rocky butte near Portland, Oregon. His machine of choice was a Harley-Davidson Sport Twin. 4,045 feet above sea level, Larch Mountain is 11,000 feet of narrow, brushlined trail. Rugged and heavily timbered, with huge boulders, sharp stones, and logs lining its sides, it had previously withstood all attempts to reach its summit on a motor vehicle. The three-mile climb took 2 hours and 20 minutes and needed neither chains nor a tractor band to help the Sport Model along. A big sign measuring 4 feet by 6 feet nailed to the side of a mighty fir tree marks the time, the name “Harley-Davidson Sport Model,” and the name of its rider, so that when Mazamas and various other organizations of mountain climbers would later reach the top, they would be able to see that other things besides goats and nags could climb the hazardous cliffs of Larch Mountain.

Harley’s Sport Model can also be credited with other endurance feats. H.C. “Hap” Scherer rode a Sport Model to break the Three Flag Record in 1920, riding from Canada to Mexico in 64 hours, 58 minutes, breaking the previous record by more than 5 hours. He also smashed the Denver-Chicago record that same year, riding more than 1,260 hilly miles for nearly 48 continuous hours. Throughout its life, 20,000 miles were accumulated on Scherer’s Sport Model, a testament to its agility and endurance.

August 27, 1949

Jimmy Chann set his record time of 11 minutes and 18 seconds at the 15-Mile Championship in Milwaukee on August 27, 1949. This was the second year in a row that he won the Championship. It was also a week after he won his third 25-Mile Championship in Springfield, Illinois. Chann was a very successful rider to race for Harley-Davidson. He raced for Harley-Davidson in the 1940s and early 1950s. During that time, he won several national championships and set numerous records. In 1953, he was seriously injured during the Daytona 200 and his career ended shortly thereafter.


Harley-Davidson racer Jimmy Chann sets an AMA record on a 15-mile track with a time of 11 minutes and 18 seconds.

 

day 3 catpaign

January 5th 2014 10:53 am
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day 3 catpaign BEGINNINGS Sent: Fri Jan 3



Message:
1907 Chestnut Street
In 1906, Harley and the Davidsons built their first factory on Chestnut Street (later Juneau Avenue). This location remains the Motor Company’s corporate headquarters today. The first Juneau Avenue plant was a 40 by 60-foot (18 m) single-story wooden structure. That year around 50 motorcycles were produced.

In 1907, William S. Harley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in mechanical engineering. That year additional factory expansion came with a second floor and later with facings and additions of Milwaukee pale yellow (“cream”) brick. With the new facilities production increased to 150 motorcycles in 1907. The company was officially incorporated that September. They also began selling their motorcycles to police departments around this time, a market that has been important to them ever since.


1907 Model
Production in 1905 and 1906 were all single-cylinder models with 26.84 cubic inch (440 cc) engines. In February 1907 a prototype model with a 45-degree V-Twin engine was displayed at the Chicago Automobile Show. Although shown and advertised, very few V-Twin models were built between 1907 and 1910. These first V-Twins displaced 53.68 cubic inches (880 cc) and produced about 7 horsepower (5 kW). This gave about double the power of the first singles. Top speed was about 60 mph (97 km/h). Production jumped from 450 motorcycles in 1908 to 1,149 machines in 1909.
By 1911 some 150 makes of motorcycles had already been built in the United States — although just a handful would survive the 1910s.

In 1911, an improved V-Twin model was introduced. The new engine had mechanically operated intake valves, as opposed to the “automatic” intake valves used on earlier V-Twins that opened by engine vacuum. With a displacement of 49.48 cubic inches (810 cc), the 1911 V-Twin was smaller than earlier twins, but gave better performance. After 1913 the majority of bikes produced by Harley-Davidson would be V-Twin models.

By 1913, the yellow brick factory had been demolished and on the site a new 5-story structure of reinforced concrete and red brick had been built. Begun in 1910, the red brick factory with its many additions would take up two blocks along Juneau Avenue and around the corner on 38th Street. Despite the competition, Harley-Davidson was already pulling ahead of Indian and would dominate motorcycle racing after 1914. Production that year swelled to 16,284 machines.

 

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January 5th 2014 10:50 am
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THE BEGINNING


William Harley
In 1901, William S. Harley, age 21, drew up plans for a small engine with a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches (116 cc) and four-inch (102 mm) flywheels. The engine was designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame.

Over the next two years Harley and his boyhood friend Arthur Davidson labored on their motor-bicycle using the northside machine shop at the home of their friend, Henry Melk. It was finished in 1903 with the help of Arthur’s brother, Walter Davidson. Upon completion the boys found their power-cycle unable to conquer Milwaukee’s modest hills without pedal assistance. Will Harley and the Davidsons quickly wrote off their first motor-bicycle as a valuable learning experiment.


First Bike
Work immediately began on a new and improved second-generation machine. This first “real” Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a bigger engine of 24.74 cubic inches (405 cc) with 9-3/4 inch flywheels weighing 28 pounds. The machine’s advanced loop-frame pattern was similar to the 1903 Milwaukee Merkel motorcycle (designed by Joseph Merkel, later of Flying Merkel fame.) The bigger engine and loop-frame design took it out of the motorized-bicycle category and would help define what a modern motorcycle should contain in the years to come. The boys also received help with their bigger engine from outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude, who was then building gas engines of his own design for automotive use on Milwaukee’s Lake Street.

The prototype of the new loop-frame Harley-Davidson was assembled in a 10- by 15-foot (3 by 5 meter) shed in the Davidson family backyard. Most of the major parts, however, were made elsewhere, including some probably fabricated at the West Milwaukee railshops where oldest brother William A. Davidson was then toolroom foreman. This prototype machine was functional by 8 September 1904 when it competed in a Milwaukee motorcycle race held at State Fair Park. It was ridden by Edward Hildebrand and placed fourth. This is the first documented appearance of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the historical record.

In January 1905, small advertisements were placed in the “Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal” that offered bare Harley-Davidson engines to the do-it-yourself trade. By April, complete motorcycles were in production on a very limited basis. That year the first Harley-Davidson dealer, Carl H. Lang of Chicago, sold three bikes from the dozen or so built in the Davidson backyard shed. (Some years later the original shed was taken to the Juneau Avenue factory where it would stand for many decades as a tribute to the Motor Company’s humble origins. Unfortunately, the first shed was accidentally destroyed by contractors in the early 1970s during a clean-up of the factory yard.)


1907 Chestnut Street
In 1906, Harley and the Davidsons built their first factory on Chestnut Street (later Juneau Avenue). This location remains the Motor Company’s corporate headquarters today. The first Juneau Avenue plant was a 40 by 60-foot (18 m) single-story wooden structure. That year around 50 motorcycles were produced.

In 1907, William S. Harley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in mechanical engineering. That year additional factory expansion came with a second floor and later with facings and additions of Milwaukee pale yellow (“cream”) brick. With the new facilities production increased to 150 motorcycles in 1907. The company was officially incorporated that September. They also began selling their motorcycles to police departments around this time, a market that has been important to them ever since.


1907 Model
Production in 1905 and 1906 were all single-cylinder models with 26.84 cubic inch (440 cc) engines. In February 1907 a prototype model with a 45-degree V-Twin engine was displayed at the Chicago Automobile Show. Although shown and advertised, very few V-Twin models were built between 1907 and 1910. These first V-Twins displaced 53.68 cubic inches (880 cc) and produced about 7 horsepower (5 kW). This gave about double the power of the first singles. Top speed was about 60 mph (97 km/h). Production jumped from 450 motorcycles in 1908 to 1,149 machines in 1909.
By 1911 some 150 makes of motorcycles had already been built in the United States — although just a handful would survive the 1910s.

In 1911, an improved V-Twin model was introduced. The new engine had mechanically operated intake valves, as opposed to the “automatic” intake valves used on earlier V-Twins that opened by engine vacuum. With a displacement of 49.48 cubic inches (810 cc), the 1911 V-Twin was smaller than earlier twins, but gave better performance. After 1913 the majority of bikes produced by Harley-Davidson would be V-Twin models.

By 1913, the yellow brick factory had been demolished and on the site a new 5-story structure of reinforced concrete and red brick had been built. Begun in 1910, the red brick factory with its many additions would take up two blocks along Juneau Avenue and around the corner on 38th Street. Despite the competition, Harley-Davidson was already pulling ahead of Indian and would dominate motorcycle racing after 1914. Production that year swelled to 16,284 machines.

 
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