These nine racers participated in the first official Sturgis Black Hills Motor Classic races in 1938. Participants, their hometowns, and their motorcycles are, from the left, Smith, Rapid City, Harley- Davidson; Don Vodden, Sturgis, Indian; Miles Chandler, St. Paul, Minn., Indian; Levin, Minneapolis, Indian; Gail Gilkison, Denver, Colo., Indian; Johnnie Speiglehoff, Milwaukee, Wis., Harley-Davidson; Fred Ford, Denver, Indian; Dale Short, Sturgis, Indian; and Al Nelson, Black Hills, Indian.
Main Street was blocked off for the first time in 1949, but only for two hours for contests. The evening program on Main was to start promptly, and bikers were asked to “please have your motorcycle parked and do not interrupt the program with motor noise.’’ The program attracted substantial attention because Black Hills residents were ineligible to compete in competitions, i.e., queen contest, neatest-dressed, longest distance, and others.
My wife came across two prints of this photo in a thrift store a few years back. They were somewhat beat up as if they had been stored in a drawer or a box someplace for awhile. I don't know the year, photographer or any other information, but it appears to feature "Pappy" Hoel and his wife, pearl, in the foreground. -- Michael Massey