There’s Fun In The Gypsy Tour And Rally

By Chet Billings, Photography by Unknown

From the July 1938 issue of Motorcyclist Magazine

Where in days gone by it was the custom to compare gypsy tours and rallies with great gatherings in other sports and walks of life, it is now reaching the point where other gatherings must be compared to motorcycling’s own. Our gypsy tours and rallies have progressed to the point where they overshadow all history in the matter of attendance, activity and showmanship.

This year, most of the larger rallies are highlighted with some kind of a championship. There is the usual get-together the first night, with dancing and visiting and the renewing of friendships. Then there are the field meets, with a variety of games to try the skill of both the ladies and the gents. There is the parade of clubs and in most cases the drill of clubs. This offers an opportunity for a combination of the skill of the men folks and the ingenuity of the ladies in devising novel or highly decorative dress outfits.

Finally comes the big event, when some championship is determined. Everyone can go home with memories of a good time, with the A.M.A. award as a concrete reminder of all the fun, and some may also go home with the championship awards.

There is hardly another sport that provides so completely for the entertainment of all, whether they be competitive minded or just in quest of good fellowship and a good time.

It is a new order of things this modern gypsy tour and rally. The motorcyclist who doesn’t attend one finds himself out of the swim. Aside from all the activities, the rally is a place for the trading of ideas and the rounding up of all the news. The rally sets a new pace for any given territory and during the balance of the season clubs are often busy working out schemes suggested by the other clubs.

Under the new order of rallies a different method of operation is in vogue. Whereas, in the days of a few years ago, everyone used to barge up and down the town, raising a racket and getting in trouble generally, it is now becoming more and more the popular idea to rack up the machines at night and give the townspeople a break. The fellows are finding that it is much more pleasant to wake up the next morning in their own rooms than in jail, and they find that they see more of a rally outside the bars than in. They spend the money that might have gone for fines for their own pleasure, and when it comes time to go home they find that the town is willing to have them come back.

After all it doesn’t take much originality to raise hell. Anyone with a strong stomach and a few bucks can get oiled up and into the hoosegow. It’s been going on for years and when a person checks up he doesn’t find any medals or honors having been passed out for getting stinko. The big payoff is usually just a headache and a bad breath.

Everyone has his moments, but some of the more enjoyable moments are now coming when a club wins recognition from a large crowd of natives as they applaud the skillful execution of some exacting drill, or enthusiastically recognize some novel set of costumes; or maybe it is the performance of stunts, of which there are hundreds yet to be figured out and practiced.

The reputation obtained through performing better than someone else is one that lasts all year. It is something to hang onto and take to other rallies on other years. And with this kind of a rep a fellow is apt to live much longer.

The foregoing is not a sermon. It is just a plain case of calling a drunk a souse, and of handing out a pat on the back for the boys who have really introduced the new scheme of rallies.

Plan to attend a rally this year. If you happen to be one of the noise and wreck ‘em crew, give yourself a trial and see if you can enjoy acting like the majority do. For, if you don’t you are going to be more alone in your old style of operation than you’ve been any year thus far.

By Chet Billings
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