In 1939 the Fresno Motorcycle Club was established by Ed Sumner and Jim & Jerri Riley. The first meetings were held were held weekly, every Tuesday night, at Jim & Jerri's house on Cherry Avenue south of North Avenue. Some of the original members were Ed & Myrtle Sumner, Jim & Jeri Riley, Jake & Min Jacobson, Locky & Wendy Barringer, Glen & Velma Turner, Walter & Vena Biggers, Glen & Ila Bente, and more. After WWII, the meetings were held at an old garage on Kings Canyon & Temperence owned by "Square John" - John Chakarian who was a Triumph dealer. The garage had an old wood burning drum-like stove used for heat during the meetings, and they most always had a ride every Sunday. The club was very family oriented and the women held a strong presence in the club at that time.
In the early 50's, Myrtle Sumner & Mildred Green found the 10 acres on Chestnut & Clayton, which continues to be the home of the Fresno Motorcycle Club. The land was purchased by the club with proceeds from putting on drag races at Hammer Field (The Fresno Air Terminal). The club charged admission and the women operated a concession stand selling food. During half-time there was a TT exhibition put on with riders such as Danny Martin, Wayne Sumner, Jerry Turner, Mike & Danny Calbrese, Tody Elmer, and Joe Boghosian. The women were instrumental in obtaining the proper permits from the City of Fresno to put on the races at Hammer Field. During the early days you would find Myrtle Sumner & Mildred Green hammering boards up for the clubhouse and the men had to have clay hauled in and they would be out setting up the racetrack. After the clubhouse was built, the club started the annual Turkey Run with a Thanksgiving dinner for all of the familiesat the end of the run. At one time there were over 100 Fresno Motorcycle Club members.
Some more members were Harold Jacobson, Bob Hamilton, Tody Emler, Ralph & Alice Holland, Leo Cline. They put on Friday night scrambles, traded off with the Madera Braves, which is now Little Okie; with some local headliners such as Jerry Turner, Jim Hutchings, Tody Elmer, Jo Jo Kiramidjian, Wayne Sumner, Danny Green, Marsh Runyon, Doug Watson, Poncho Vincent, Gilbert Allison, Dale Mason, Marty Korshan, Bob Dituri, and many, many more. The club would sometimes have Sunday events; they put on Halloween parties; they put on a soccer benefit race at the Fresno Fairgrounds with all the proceeds going to the soccer teams, of course the annual Turkey Run, and many other activities going on every weekend.
In 1977 or 1978 the club lost their conditional use permit to have races at the clubhouse. There are still play days and activities for the club membersand their families at the clubhouse; they have group rides a few times a year, an annual dinner party celebration, and since 1982 have been promoting dirt track races at the Caruthers Fair Grounds. Dennis Watson, a farmer in Caruthers, and a member of the Fair Board at the time, was instrumental in bringing the Fresno Motorcycle Club to the Caruthers Fair to put on the races during the annual fair. Dennis Watson
passed away 7/13/91. The fair time race became the Dennis Watson Memorial. With the help of the Caruthers Fair Board and especially Paul Rasmussen
, the club is still promoting races at the Caruthers Fair. In fact, the club promotes 4 to 6 throughout
the year in addition to the fair races. The club now has a limited membership, but still very active with motorcycle activities,
and some of our old timersare Dennis Hollenbeck, Marsh Runyon, Wayne Sumner, and 2nd generation members like
Ricky & Blayne Hollenbeck, Mike Turner, and 3rd generation member Clark Sumner.
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