Fort Smith Museum of History Motorcycle Memories Exhibition

Join the Fort Smith Museum of History for an exhibit and a program on local and regional motorcycle history.  The Motorcycle Memories exhibition will be featured in the Boyd Gallery, April 17-June 2, 2018.   

Motorcycle Memories will feature the Harley-Davidson motorcycle ridden by Fort Smith native Leroy Winters when he won the 1956 Jack Pine Enduro, continuing a successful national motorcycle racing career.  As winner of the Jack Pine Enduro, Winters was named the National Endurance Champion for 1956.  The Winters Motorcycle is loaned from the AMA Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio.  Also featured are two motorcycles ridden by Leroy Winters in international races and three motorcycles re-built and maintained exclusively by Robert Winters.     

During the Steel Horse Motorcycle Rally, the Motorcycle Memories program will be presented on May 4 and 5, 2018 at 1:00 pm at the museum, 320 Rogers Avenue.  The museum will host a motorcycle show on the street in front of the museum on Saturday, May 5, 9:00am-2:00 pm.  A $15 donation is recommended for entry.  Register online:  Registration accepted on May 5 beginning at 8:00 am.   

"Burgers and Beer" will be offered May 5, 11:00 am-2:00 pm with food sponsored by First National Bank. 

The exhibition and program, which was first presented in 2008, features vintage motorcycles and photographs exploring the “art of the motorcycle” in Fort Smith and the region from the 1940’s through present day. Fort Smith has an historical association with motorcycle culture. Learn about the people and places that places that put the region on the map for motorcyclists.

Quin Winters Bike shop on Towson Avenue was the nexus of motorcycle culture in Fort Smith from 1939 until 1975. His sons, Leroy and Robert Winters, gained national fame for their accomplishments in the field of motorcycle racing. In 1940, Fort Smithians Ercie Gann, Kathryn Johnson and Jean Fivekiller became charter members of the “Motor Maids,” a national organization of female motorcyclists. The annual “Razorback Run,” a one hundred fifty mile round trip ride from Fort Smith to White Rock Mountain near Mulberry, Arkansas drew motorcycle enthusiasts from a regional area from 1952 to 1955. Otis Spiker played a vital role in the area cycling culture.  As one of the few manufacturers of Henderson motorcycle parts, Spiker gained national recognition as well as becoming a local motorcycle legend.  Fort Smith native Danny Hammond raced motorcycles professionally from 1959-1969.  After retirement, Hammond raced in the Vintage Dirt Track Racing Association winning the National championships 2004-2007.  These stories and more come to life with the Motorcycle Memories exhibit and programs.    

Motorcycle Memories is designed to unite the “art of the motorcycle” with the generation of Americans that enjoy a lifestyle peculiar to the American mainstream.  The exhibit will strive to educate future generations about a fascinating spectrum of Americana.  Programs will be available to area students during April and May. 

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Fort Smith Museum of History was selected to receive proceeds from the Steel Horse Motorcycle Rally scheduled for May 4 and 5, 2018 in downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas. 

700 block of Garrison Avenue, 1940. Quin Winters in white on left.

Charter members of the Motor Maids, 1940.  In front of the Reynolds-Davis Grocery Company, 3rd Street and Garrison Avenue. Only the façade of the building remains today.

Leroy Winters, 1956 National Endurance Champion.

Leroy Winters and Robert Winters in front of Quin Winters Cycle Shop on Towson Avenue. 

Robert Winters, Daytona, 1966.