When Mike Dreiling started telling others about the Fort Hays Disabled Veterans of America Vintage Bike Show and Swap Meet on Saturday, one of the first questions he got was “are you going to have beer there?”
“They’re not going to sit there and not drink any beer,” said Dreiling, one of the organizers of the event. “So somebody got a license for a beer garden, it’s going to be approved on the 9th, which is cutting it pretty close.”
The event is the first ever for Hays, the idea of Pat Martin, Hays, a veteran Vietnam pilot who previously lived in Colorado, where he attended successful vintage bike meets.
The local DAV hopes the event will raise money for a new van to transport area veterans to their VA clinic and hospital and doctor appointments in Hays and Wichita. Right now they have a 2006 Dodge Caravan.
“Dick Werth donated a mini-van to us five or six years ago,” said Dreiling. “It’s got a whole bunch of miles on it, so we need a different van.”
The hope is to raise enough money to get matching funds from the national Disabled American Veterans association.
“If we come up with a minimum of $15,000 they’ll provide us with a brand spankin’ new van,” said Dreiling, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969 with Co. B, 27th Engineer Battalion, mustering out as a Special C4 corporal.
“We built base camps for the infantry,” Dreiling said. “We cleared the area, made underground bunkers and made helipads and global landing pads. We built for them and they protected us.”
The bike show officially starts Friday night with a dance at the Hays VFW Post 9076, 2106 Vine St., with the Jimmy Dee Band.
“Jimmy Dee is donating their time and the VFW is donating the hall,” said Dreiling. “They’ll have their club open, so it’s going to be like an old German wedding, I suspect.”
Admission to the dance costs $10.
Saturday’s event at the National Guard Armory, 200 S. Main, starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. Bike show and swap meet registration starts at 8 a.m. Any motorcycle built before 1984 is eligible. Entry fee is $25 for one bike and $20 for any additional bike.
Awards will be offered for Best of Show — People’s Choice, as well as other classes. Swap meet tables are $10 per vendor.
“We got a lot of bikes coming in. It’s going to pretty well fill up the Armory down there with old vintage bikes,” Dreiling said.
Brian and Deanna Doerfler, owners of Doerflers’ Harley-Davidson, 1100 E. 43rd St., plan to have their 1949 Harley-Davidson at the show.
They purchased the bike after getting to know its owner, Jack McKnight, Luray, who had it for many years after buying it from a man in Osborne. When McKnight died in 2013, the bike went up for auction. The bike is on display at the Doerflers’ shop, along with many other vintage bikes.
“There’s no comparison between these and the new ones,” Brian Doerfler said Tuesday in his shop. “The old ones are fun to ride but high maintenance. You almost had to be a mechanic to ride one.”
Doerflers are one of several sponsors of the show, along with Auto World, 722 E. 8th St., and Hays VFW Post 9076.
“The whole point of this is to help the guys at the DAV raise money,” said Doerflers’ salesman B.J. Rupp. “We love motorcycles and we love antique motorcycles. There’s no reason Hays, Kansas, shouldn’t have an antique motorcycle show every year. Antique motorcycles are just such a big draw, period. The guys who restore them are so particular about getting everything period correct.”
Dreiling, who coordinates the van schedule for the DAV, said the organization is also in need of drivers for its vehicle.
“We need them in the worst way, I’m getting more and more people taken down all the time,” Dreiling said. “Right now I only have two full-time drivers and they are both in their 70s.”
The van runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays to the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center hospitals in Wichita, and on other weekdays it transports veterans from around the area to the Hays Veterans Administration Community Clinic in Hays.
Despite his time volunteering for DAV, Dreiling said he won’t have a bike in the show.
“I was always afraid to drive one of those. I like a lot of protection around me,” he said. “But I have a lot of Army buddies who have them.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.forthaysdavbikeshow.com. To volunteer as a driver, Dreiling said, call him on his cellphone at 785-735-7117.