Motorcyclists Take Over Town, Many
By C. I. DOURGHTY
JR. San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer: Transcribed
by Mike Carroll Jr.
HOLLISTER. July, 5 1947
State Highway patrolmen tonight imposed informal martial
law in downtown Hollister to curb the riotous activities
of an estimated 4000.
Almost 60 persons were injured, three of them seriously.
Several more arrests were made and a special night court
session was convened to punish those charged with reckless
driving and drunkenness.
The outburst of terrorism - wrecking of bars, bottle
barrages into the streets from upper story windows and
roofs and high speed racing of motorcycles though the
streets - came as participants in the annual "Gypsy Tour"
sponsored by the American Motorcycle Association converged
on Hollister for a three-day meeting.
Shortly after dusk tonight, the force of 40 highway
patrol officers, commanded by Captain L.T. Torres of San
Benito County, forced a lull in the terrorism.
Armed with tear gas guns, the officers herded the cyclists
into a block on San Benito street, between Fifth and Sixth
streets, parked a dance band on a truck and ordered the
musicians to play.
Hundreds of individuals who invaded the town yesterday
for the motorcycle show, about 10 percent of them women
halted their riotous "play" to dance. Their formal ball
at the American Legion Hall was canceled by police orders.
The dancers scuffed their way through inches of broken
glass, debris of bottle barrages thrown during the day.
The officers stood almost shoulder to shoulder along the
REQUEST FOR HELP
Captain Torres and his men were sent to the scene by
Charles E. Raymond Cato of the highway patrol who received
a formal request of assistance from Lieutenant Roy L.
McPhail of the seven-men Hollister police department.
The request for aid was made at 3:30 P.M. today.
As the state officers moved in, hundreds of cyclists
roared through the streets of Hollister, defying traffic
regulations. Many of them were injured in spills and crashes.
One man's left foot was virtually severed.
Lieutenant McPhail was emphatic in his announcement
to The Chronicle that he was asked for assistance by the
State Highway Patrol.
Police Chief Fred A. Earin of Hollister said:
"It's just one hell of a mess."
The motorcyclists gathering for a three-day program
of social activities, races and hill climbing events scheduled
to end tomorrow began "taking over the town" the evening
of July 3.
The momentum of their activities gained strength during
the 4th of July. By evening, they were virtually out of
control, the police reported.
Riders, both men and women, steered their machines into
bars, crashing fixtures and bottles and mirrors. They
defied all traffic regulations racing full speed through
the streets and intersections. Hundreds loosed bottle
Bartenders halted the sale of beer, believing the group
could not afford whiskey. Riotous activities continued.
The bars closed two hours earlier than permitted by law.
The same curfew was to go into effect tonight.
The groups defied the officers to curb their activities.
As many arrests as possible were made. Police. Judge Frank
Butcher convened a special session of his court tonight
to dispose of the cases as he did last night.
The sentences ranged from $25 to $250 and up to 75 days
in jail. One of the participants identified by the police
as Jim Morrison, 19, of Los Angeles, was given 90 days
in the county jail for indecent exposure.
The emergency room at Hazel Hawkins Hospital was jammed
to overflowing. The first case arrived early yesterday.
Late tonight, more than 40 persons had been treated. The
San Benito Hospital handled the overflow cases.
LIST OF INJURED
The most seriously injured were:
Merton Kranzman, 20, Rural Rout NO. 4, Tular. Compound
fracture of the right leg.
Frank McGovern, 45, Rural Rout NO. 2, Chico. Left leg
Ted Boyde Jr., 20, 542 Williams street, Oakland. Possible
With the riot under control for the moment, officers
said there is no apparent organized leader of the activity.
The "Gypsy Tour" attracted motorcyclists from California,
Arizona and Oregon. The first days meeting was attended
by as many as 12,000 persons, according to official estimates.
Races were to conclude the tour today. Officers late
tonight had not decided whether they would be permitted.
"You just can't run everybody out of town", said Captain
The "tour" brought the largest amount of transients
in recent history to Hollister. Hundreds slept in "haystacks"
according to police and in the city park and squares.