September 2000 Davenport Story
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 A Pilgrim at Davenport 2000
 By Cotten

The Midwest had enjoyed a particularly mild summer so far, and it was another glorious morning when I pushed open my east doors to roll out the sidehack for loading. Still apprehensive about riding a Milwaukee machine to an event where I was to sponsor a booth for an Indian group of enthusiasts, I left the layer of roadgrime and bugs intact and only tended to the chain and battery. 

Robbing even the set of hold-down straps that holds my pickup truck bed together, I soon had a semi-aerodynamic pile secured atop of my pickup truck toolbox, which is a lot more sensible of an appliance for a hack than a people-carrier. The leaf springs stretched out flat from the load. (pic 1)

I always try to take a different route every year, and the trip for me is a comfortable one hundred and twenty-odd miles. Cruising north on the east side of the Illinois River the shade was cool and fragrant, and turning west to criss-cross the hand-dug Hennepin Canal (pic 2) and the rolling moraines that cradle it kept the sun to my back.

So when I pulled into the fairgrounds and stopped, the heat was a shock. And it never let up.

I have lost count of the years that I have attended the Chief Blackhawk Chapter AMCA Meet.

Thursday was intended to be for vendor set-up, but much of it was already filled in, and trading was already going on full tilt, or at least as fast as the obscenely high prices would allow. It was easy to almost get run over by Chiefs on the crowded lanes. (pic 3)

I pitched the humble canopy, put out the peanuts, and deserted it to immerse myself in the flurry of old hardware and old aquaintances. (Some annual events will tend to blur in one's memory after a decade or more of experiencing them. Not the Chief Blackhawk Meet!) This year it became undeniably overrun by Indians and enthusiasts flying Indian's logos on their shirts and caps.

Beyond all doubt, Harley-Davidson has lost it's domination of this enormous event. Not that you won't still see Willie G. out scouting for copyright infringements, and some of the parts-pirates are still hawking the same piles of rusting H-D scrap as they have for years; It is just that the hoards of typical harley-dudes have matured into serious enthusiasts.

I stopped in at the pavilion to greet the Chapter, and cool under a fan for a minute: As always, a priceless assembly of museum-quality machines were displayed without glass or ropes to hold you back from detailed observation and even smelling their age. (pic 4)

The Winner's circle display was crowned with Doc Patt's jewel Ace's, and he was around for questions often. (pic 5 & 6) 

Out on the field, there was everything imagineable, from rugged baskets (pic 7) to heartbreaker rats (pic 8, below) to icons. (pic 9)

Whether you are into fours (pic 10), skirtless Chiefs (pic 11), or Scouts (pic 12), the scenery was awesome!

Oh yeah, skirted Chiefs, too,.. everywhere. (pic 13 & 14)

Maybe you just want to get with the program? (pic 15)

Click on pictures for full size

Pic 1. Ark

Pic 2. Hennepin Canal

Pic 3. Davenport Traffic

Click blue text links for more info!

Pic 4. Pavilion

Pic 5. Pavilion

Pic 6. Ace XP3

Pic 7. Basket Scout...

More on Page Two!

Pic 8. VI Lister Dan Fitzgerald's new 642 project!

Pic 9. Dick Gross 648!

Pic 10. Four

Pic 11. Skirtless Chief

Pic 12. Scout and Chief

Click on pictures for full size

Pic 13. Pair of Chiefs

Pic 14. Green skirts

More on Page Two!

Pic 15. 1990 & 1991 Race winner!

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