The 1947 Gypsy Tour in Hollister
It is not widely known that the Salinas Ramblers figured prominently in the 1947 incident that was popularized by the movie 'The Wild Ones'. This movie is considered ground zero for the outlaw biker movement. Most of the web sites concerning the incident focus on the activities in downtown Hollister and rowdy bikers like Wino Willy and his Boozefighter compatriots. In fact there were several events going on in Hollister that Fourth of July weekend. According to newspaper articles, one was the flat track races being held at Bolado Park, a hillclimb also held at Bolado Park and the third was a gypsy tour that was promoted by the Salinas Ramblers. The images on this page were provided my the American Heritage Motorcycle Museum and we thank them for their assistance.
The combination of the three events over a three day weekend drew many participants and contestants as well as spectators. There are a number of reports about what happened in Hollister that weekend six decades ago. According to club member Ted Ponton, things got rowdy downtown and Larry Ketzel, SRMC founder, drove to Salinas and rounded up members of the Sheriff's motorcycle posse of which he was a member to assist the local police with crowd control. A sensationalized report in the SF Chronicle followed by the picture (left by Barney Peterson) and accompanying article in the July 21, 1947 edition of Life magazine no doubt played a roll in the creation of the screenplay for the 1953 movie 'The Wild One' starring Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin.
The story of the Hollister riots and interviews
Tophatter's web page on Hollister
Cycle Guide Article
'The Wild One' movie trailer