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Kansas Short Grass Motorcycle Club pathfinders in Pratt, Kansas - Page

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In this photograph, two riders pose on their Indian motorcycles, ready to leave Pratt on a pathfinding mission in advance of the Kansas Short Grass Motorcycle Club's annual tour. Plans called for the tour to originate in Garden City, and extend into Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado. The pathfinders' job was to select the routes, make arrangements for fuel, supplies, and campground locations, and attend to other logistical details. The tour itself departed from Garden City on August 11, 1912, with one of the main itinerary attractions being Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

A handwritten note beneath the image identifies the two pathfinders as Cross and Bennett. The latter is Wells Bennett, a Wichita native who was one of the state's leading dirt-track racers at the time. He would later establish himself as a premier national competitor in several motorcycle event categories. Bennett was inducted into the national Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000, and is described by the Hall of Fame as "one of the pioneers of motorcycle racing," and "one of the greatest cross-country riders of all time."

The Kansas Short Grass Motorcycle Club was founded in Rexford in 1910 under the leadership of Dr. Benjamin J. Patterson. It achieved national attention and acclaim, largely because of its well-publicized, long-distance motorcycle tours into Colorado and Wyoming. The Short Grass club was most active between 1910 and 1915, sponsoring tours each year except 1914. During its heyday, the club described itself as "the most famous motorcycle club in the world."

Date: June, 1912

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Item Number: 225960
Call Number: FK2.P4 P.55 M. *1
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 225960

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