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2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Humboldt, Iowa
July 4-6, 2024

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

words and photos by Tom McCarthy

The 2024 edition of the annual Iowa, Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion, presented by the Rockford Liquidation Warehouse and Humboldt County Dragway, which took place on July 4-5-6, 2024, was everything the event promised to be. It was a trip down memory lane, motorcycle drag racing as it used to be in the 60s/70’s era, and great informal fun.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

Humboldt County Dragway, was once again a great and gracious host for the racers and fans. The pits are spacious and the grass mowed tight, stone gravel keeps the dust down and the plastic fantastic out-houses were kept very clean. The concession stand served up the best walking-Tacos I’ve ever encountered, and the staff as a whole were friendly and accommodating to all who attended.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Doug Whitmore

One’s first walk through the pits on set up day, Thursday, pretty much indicated everything one needed to know about the drag racing getting ready to unfold. Jordan Peterson’s Top Fuel Harley rig was right at the apex to the pit area, representing the “Nitro Open” class of racing. His immaculate big beautiful machine not only turns heads, his team took the win for the event in their class.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Jordan Peterson

Just a few spaces down from Jordan was a 1951 Vincent Rapide, owned by Doug Dettbarn, sitting quietly on a self-starting set of rollers. This was the first and only time in 29 years of ownership, Doug made the decision to fire up the bike and send it down a drag strip. It was quite a thrill for him and his family to fire it up on Friday morning and take it to Tech, and enter the race.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
1951 Vincent

Racer Michael Weems of Tennessee was given the honor of taking it down the track for its first and only pass before the bike was returned to display, where it will stay quietly in its glory. What a beautiful motorcycle!

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

Throughout the rest of the pits, racers and fans could see everything from modern V-Rods, to Shovelheads and Knuck’s with tank shifters. And wow was that a fun class to watch racing! Kick starts, foot clutch & tank slapp’n shifting! Jenny Bass showed how women ROCK and won the hand-shifter class for Bass Cycles, of Spring Green, Wisconsin.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Jenni Bass

If you’re into big time, scripted, everything has to run on schedule, lots of rules drag racing, this is not the event for you. This is drag racing like it was when drag racing began and the bikes and racers love it that way.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Stan Sleaver

Racers wait for each other when repairs are needed, they even loan parts and beers at proper times. One big time modern day race team in attendance with their old street bikes commented, “We are here with our slowest street bikes and we own some of the fastest bikes in modern racing, but we are having a blast!”

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

THAT”S what Jay Roger’s event is all about; having fun, racers behaving like racers and keeping the racing competitive and fun. Sure folks want to win. But the biggest win is just being there with your friends, racing.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

Thursday was intended to be the set-up day and be capped off by a test and tune session, for the early bird racers. But at this particular event, Mother Nature had a major influence on the overall picture, before the race even began. She’s a force of nature not to be ignored, especially during the summer stormy season.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

A week prior to the race, the forecast was great. Even the weekend prior to the race the forecast indicated maybe some weather may impact the event. But by Tuesday, just 48 hours before the event was to start, suddenly Mother Nature was changing her mind again and threatened to wash out everything. This is highly significant as the arm-chair weather prognosticators have a bad habit of being negative in social media and this greatly impacts participation by racers and fans.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

The weather in Iowa is like nowhere else. It’s as if the sky just makes up its mind as it goes along. There can be a clear forecast, but by days end, it pours out. The reverse is also true. Rain may be forecast, but it can and will shift direction quickly.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Jim Martin

The weather did squash the racing on Thursday, but despite the initial Monday forecast for Friday, that day was awesome and so was the weather! All classes ran smoothly all day for qualifying. On Saturday, race day, the day started off with zero rain forecast early in the morning, chance of a shower in the afternoon.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

Opening ceremonies at noon greeted the spectators and the nitro Harley bikes kicked off the show. The rest of the classes followed and all was rocking and rolling along, until Mother Nature changed her mind again. At about 4:30 local time, with only three classes remaining, the dark clouds that were quickly forming since noon, decided to open up. Sprinkles at first, then a deluge of hard rain for 15 minutes. Everyone and everything was drenched.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

At 5:30 the race day was officially cancelled and everyone began preparing for an evening rock concert scheduled to kick off about 8pm. Again, mom had her own ideas about that.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

The weather suddenly swung back around and in less than an hour, a storm twice as bad at the first pop-up storm thundered into play. This was violent, featuring Ping-Pong-ball sized hail and severe gusting winds. Stage equipment was damaged, some areas of the pits had 8 + inches of standing water. This event was over.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Dean Monroe

A great time was had by all who attended, and the winners were:

  • Nitro Nostalgia, winner Doug Whitmore
  • Nitro Pro, winner Jim Martin
  • Nitro Open, winner Jordan Peterson
  • Hand Shift, winner Jenny Bass
  • Iron Head Shoot-Out, winner, Dean Monroe
  • S/G 630, winner Tom Krava
  • Street Bagger, winner Rob Angland
  • 690 Super Pro, winner Stan Sleaver
2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion
Tom Krava

Classes rained out before completion: Run what you brung, Money bike and Vintage Gas.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion


Tom McCarthy Until Next time…

– Tom McCarthy


PRE-EVENT REPORT

The annual Hog Drags & Nostalgia Reunion will take place July 4-6 at Humboldt County Dragway—that’s Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for those of you without a calendar handy. Jay Rogers of Iowa is the ring leader of this merry band of drag racers, and he’s also the chief cook and bottle washer of this event.

If you have any questions about this race and the gathering of the yesteryear granddaddies, please contact Jay Rogers via social media or give him a call. He’s very easy to find.

Thursday will be set up and an informal meet and greet by all, complete with a friendly test and tune on the Humboldt County Dragway 1/8th mile racing surface. Be advised this is an old-fashioned Dragway with open sides adjacent to each lane. If you are in the right lane and go right, you get to visit the local farmer’s corn field. If you are in the left lane and you go too far to the left, you will be grass drag’n in short order. I strongly suggest you stay in your lane at all times!

When your travels bring you to HCD, after many miles of gentle rolling hills filled with corn fields you see the turn in the road with the small white and blue sign that reads “Humboldt County Dragway AHRA.”  Yes, right away, you are greeted to yesterday when you see the American Hot Rod Association logo in conjunction with the barbed-wire fencing to keep wandering critters out of the drag strip pit area that comprises the dragway.

2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion

It is like literally falling asleep in a time capsule, and waking up sometime in the 1960s and Ta Da: Here you are, welcome to yesterday! No Musco lighting, just a handful of half-size telephone poles with a bulb in them. No Bose sound system, just a few PA bull horns on poles and the afternoon broadcast sounds like a 60’s AM Radio broadcast and what’s coming out of it doesn’t matter, you can’t make heads nor tales of it anyway!

Wake up, butter-cup, you’re not in the modern era anymore, this isn’t fancy, this is yesterday and that’s exactly what we are here for: To celebrate yesterday’s machines with drag racing as it was, when organized (?) motorcycle drag racing first began.

Yes, there are some definitive classes and competition. Today’s racers would never settle for less, but the rules are simple, and so is the racing. This is a Nostalgia event, and it’s more about celebrating and reliving yesterday than setting records and trying to impress the masses. A nostalgia event is a gathering of geezers who want to revisit yesterday’s machines and good times—one more time.

The roadways in the pit areas are crushed stone on top of packed dirt. Occasionally, a water truck will wet down the bare dirt areas to keep the dust down. Everything else is grass, nicely mowed. This is not Indy; it’s Iowa. Dig out your Blue Suede Shoes and get with the program.

This wonderful trip down memory lane is courtesy of the 2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion, held this year at Humboldt County Dragway. Single-engine and double-engine nitro is spoken here, as well as double-engine gas Triumph, Yetman frames, and Fairbanks Morse magnetos. A four-inch Avon slick or a five-inch M&H Racemaster is the standard board of fare for rear tires.

Before modernization takes over and the new generation spoils this, I hope racers and fans come see this and learn about where the sport was back in the 50’s and 60’s and see how it all began. Back in 1960, when Pete Hill first went to his local drag strip in South Carolina, drag bikes were not welcome. So he installed one of his Knucklehead racing motors into a small dragster chassis and added a roots type supercharger to it. Racers go racing – that’s what they do!

In the 50’s when racers like Clem Johnson, Joe Smith, Chet Herbert and THE George Smith of S&S Cycles, back before there was an aftermarket, when they raced, it was whatever they could lay hands on to make their bikes go fast.

At this race, you can see that kind of early American ingenuity. Back when motorcycles were foot-shifted and hand clutched. Many drag bikes in the early 1960s had only three wires on them, and two of them were spark plug wires. The third one was to ground out the mag to kill the ignition. Life was simpler then. In 1966, a gallon of gasoline was about .31 cents/gallon. Sandy Kosman and Yetman were just getting going making racing frames, and LBJ was in the White House.

Granted, at the 2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion, most of the bikes actually racing here are more from the 1970s era of drag bike racing, but there are representations of close to 75 years of drag racing from 1950 through 2024 fuel bikes. If you have a drag bike, Jay Rogers will find you a class to race in.

Thursday afternoon into evening T/T. Friday qualifying will be from 12 noon to 6 PM.  Saturday will start the day with a “last Chance” to qualify round, followed closely by eliminations beginning at 12 Noon. ATTENTION IN THE PITS: Saturday night after a party, with the cover band “Hair Ball!”

  • Nitro Nostalgia Class has a $100 entry, 100% payback, NO BUYBACKS, A and B fields determined after qualifying. 8 bikes or less the field will be combined, chip draw by tower for pairing
  • Nitro Open Class has a $100 entry, 100% payback, NO BUYBACKS
  • Nitro Pro Dragster $100.00 entry fee with 100% payback., NO BUYBACKS
  • Vintage Fuel class(4 inch rear tire only) $100 entry, 100% payback, NO BUYBACKS
  • Money Bike E.T. class has a $50.00 entry, 80/20 purse, and 1st round buybacks are allowed. NO DELAY BOXES
  • “Run What You Brung” e.t. class has a $50 entry fee with 80% payback, NO BUYBACKS
  • Vintage Gas classes $30.00 entry 80% payback, NO BUYBACKS, A and B fields determined after qualifying. 8 bikes or less the field will be combined, chip draw by tower for pairing
  • Super Gas 6.30 index $50.00 entry, 80% payback, NO BUYBACKS
  • Super Pro 6.90 index $50.00 entry, 80% payback, NO BUYBACKS
  • Street Bagger $50.00 entry, 80% payback, NO BUYBACKS
  • Outlaw Bagger $50.00 entry, 80% payback, NO BUYBACKS
  • Handshift class $50.00 entry, 80% payback, NO BUYBACKS

We reserve the right to make changes and adjustments to the above based on turn out

Spectator prices
$20 per day pass
$50 for the weekend no concert leave after the races.
$80 for hairball and weekend
$100 vip and weekend if any left day of show.

See you at the 2024 Iowa Hog Drags and Nostalgia Reunion, July 4-6 at Humboldt County Dragway!

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