Sierra Vista,  Arizona




The Nomads Motorcycle Club was formed in 1963 by the original members;   CPT Ernie Hoff (the 1st president), Red Hartman, Florence Hartman, Ted Waggoner, Arnold Lane and a guy & his wife who rode a Harley 74.  We met at Red Hartman's shop.  Betty Jo Buck and Tommy Smith joined a little later.  After an initial burst of energy the club languished for awhile.

In early 1965 it was reinvigorated and took off from there.
We held our early meetings in the old Gulf service station that flew the large American flag located just beyond 7th St. on Fry Blvd.  If I remember correctly, Betty Jo Buck was the first president.  We had a difficult time getting the club started and getting our feet off the ground and were unsure if the club would survive.  The following year Ernie Dovers became president, we affiliated with the American Motorcycle Association and became a family club.  We did not want to be associated in any way with any of the outlaw clubs that were running wild in Arizona and California.  The club started attending the AMA sanctioned tours around Arizona.  We also started picking up members.  Stella Boyer and John and Dixie Baron were some.  We started holding our meetings at Enco Motors on Theater Drive.  We decided that we needed a uniform with a western look and settled on a white shirt, black pants and a black neck scarf.  We started having poker runs, campouts and taking short rides around Arizona.  We then decided we needed a vest and patch for the club uniform.  Around this time Arnold Lane joined the club.  I don't remember who designed the club logo of a red roadrunner with an Arab hat.  The vest was black vinyl with a red liner.  Arnold Lane made the patches and Stella Boyer made vests.  We also incorporated to protect our members.

In 1967, the first big run that we attended was hosted by the Tucson Crowns between Tucson and Nogales and was called the "Crowns Capers".  Other runs that year included "Los Caballeros" and "The 8th annual Grand Canyon Road Tour".

The Nomads hosted our first AMA sanctioned road tour in 1967 at Huachuca City and was called "The Nomads Caravan".  It was held in a bar on the south side of town that is now a church.  The meeting was a success but we decided that we needed a better place for our next one.  Some of the members suggested Tombstone.  As president, I did some legwork and got in contact with the Wagon Wheel restaurant and arranged for the use of their hall and food for the run.  Now I had to get permission from the city of Tombstone.  The city was somewhat concerned about bringing many motorcycle riders into Tombstone and the city Marshall said he could not control the town by myself and would need some help.  I took this information back to the members and someone suggested that the Arizona Rangers may be able to help.  So we made arrangements for the Rangers to set up a command post in Tombstone and all we had to do was feed them.  I then went to the city council and told them that the Arizona Rangers would help the city marshal police the town and they approved the run.  The citizens of Tombstone were petrified that the motorcycle riders were going to tear their town apart and cause a lot of hell and fights.  They had heard so much about the Hells Angles and other outlaw clubs and did not realize that the American Motorcycle Association clubs were not into that sort of thing.  The Nomads events and parade on Saturday and Sunday went off without a hitch and the run was a great success.  We proved ourselves to the people of Tombstone and we were welcomed back for succeeding years until our last run in 1972.

The Nomads rented some property next to the old sewer ponds on the Charleston Road where we laid out a race course.  After a lot of hard work by the members we had the track to the point that we could have races on weekends.  The track was open to adults and kids so they would have someplace to ride their bikes other than private property.  Later, Doug Rysdam got in touch with someone from the state and got approval to lease some acreage on the Charleston Road near the San Pedro river.  We built a motocross course out there as well as a general riding area.  This property is still being used by motorcyclists today.

Another bright idea by me and the president of the Sierra Vista Riding Club was to hold a horse verses motorcycle gymkhana.  We did three of these.  We lost the first two big time.  The last one a friend of the Nomads decided to have a campout with all the riders he could muster up so the Nomads would have no riders in the race.  His plan backfired and all the best riders were in the race and we won big time.  I think he did us a favor.

There are many stories I could relate.  Some are funny & others sad.  No one person was responsible for the success of the club.  It was a team effort.  One man does stand out however; A friend to all, admired by kids and adults, a great rider, a willing helper when needed and who left a lasting impression on everyone he came in contact with, Arnold Land.  I am proud to call him a friend.

Our hair is turning white with time but we have found lifelong friends in the Nomads.  We are fading away one by one but we will have those wonderful memories forever.

As I Remember,

Ernie Dovers

Page Updated     04/02/2006 02:58 PM