The Kansas City chapter of the VJMC is in its second year and has grown from a meeting of six people to an active membership of a little over twenty. We also have over 70+ local vintage Japanese motorcycle enthusiasts signed up on our Yahoo group site. We schedule two major shows yearly as well as support a number of other rides and events. Our Sunday afternoon meetings (held on the last Sunday of every month) are usually packed with regulars and we almost always have a few new visitors as well. The two major events we sponsor are called the "First Sunday Show & Swap Meet" held in early May, and the "All Japanese Motorcycle Show" held in early July.

The "First Sunday" event was held on Sunday, May 6th of this year. We had a great start but by late morning the rains came. By 11am, nearly 300 visitors had attended the event and around 78 bikes had been shown. I have no doubt that the numbers would have been substantially greater if the rain had not cut the event short! We had been watching the weather all week and had seen the probability of rain go from 0% to 30%, then to 80% the day before the event!

A local Denny's restaurant allowed us to use their truck parking lot for the event. We were allowed to use around 60% of the entire lot which seemed enough at the time. By 9 am, the lot was nearly full with visitors having to use the remainder of the lot for parking. The bulk of the lot was used by the 24 vendor who had signed up to use spaces. Not all the vendors showed up, however, the lot was nearly full.

A few members had arrived by 6 am to begin the set up. By 8 am, there were at least ten others helping in the set up and organization. The KCVJMC group certainly appreciated their help. With a clear driving path cutting through the lot, vendors were easily able to find spaces to show their bikes, parts, and other items. One long time VJMC member brought a car load of old VJMC magazines to sell, some going back to the 1970's. There was quite a number of complete vintage Japanese bikes for sale, a 1964 and 65 Honda Dream, a trailer load of 1970's Suzuki 750's and 1100's, a number of smaller 1970's 2 stroke dirt bikes, and a few first edition Honda 750's.

Some of the most notable vintage bikes shown were the following, a beautifully restored Honda CB100, a really nice CBX, Ron's "Black Bomber", a beautifully restored Suzuki 500, and a Suzuki RE 5 owned by Fred Reynolds, a past Missouri VJMC Representative. Jose's brought his nicely restored 1978 (?) Kawasaki 650, Mike brought a beautiful 80's Suzuki 1100, and James brought his 1978 Honda 750 Hondamatic. James also brought a 1987 Honda TLR200. Joe brought his Hodaka Wombat, Jim brought a beautifully original Honda CB500, and Mike (another Mike) brought his Honda CB900 with an original Vetter faring.

One member noted that most of the bikes were ride-in entries. There were a few bikes brought in on trailers, but the majority were ridden to the event. We had a number of 1980 and newer machines, however there were at least 40 bikes which were at least 25 years or older. The oldest bike was a 1963 or 64 Honda Dream.

Our event from 2011 did not include a "Swap Meet." The 2011 event had around 30 bikes which were vintage bikes with around 100 visitors. We struggled over having a Swap Meet because we wanted to insure that enough vendors would show up to make the event a success. We were concerned that if too few vendors were to show up, there would be less interest for the 2013 event. This was not a problem! There were at least 20 complete bikes for sale and truckloads of parts available. These are small numbers but a good start for a first time event. We would normally expect a 25% increase for the next years event. By year three, if these numbers were to continue, the event will be a much more significant one. It would have been a much better event if the rains had waited a day but they didn't.

Our event in 2011 also had questionable weather. Our goal is to have an indoor event but this may be an expensive proposition. So far, the weather has been our most significant obstacle which is a factor we have little control. We may consider a date change but this does not guarantee good weather either! All in all, the group had fun and we saw significant growth from the event last year. Now we can concentrate on our next big event, the "All Japanese Motorcycle Show" scheduled for July 8, 2012. This event is under cover, however, rain will certainly have a negative impact as well.


Mark Bayer, President - KCVJMC