On a Friday Afternoon in the Summer of 1986 a group of friends were gathering at another friends motorcycle garage planning to take a road trip the next day. One of the friends remarked that he needed to get a bigger gas tank. One of the guys spoke up that he had a spare tank and that they could bolt it on foe the weekend. The guy that needed the bigger tank said that he had to go to work and wouldn't have time to change tanks before they left in the morning. Being the good friends that they were they all agreed to change the tanks and have the bike ready for him when he got off work, and that they would all meet at the local watering hole. The guy goes off to work trading bikes with the one who would ride the completed bike to the watering hole, another goes to get the bigger tank and the rest start to remove the small tank. When the bigger tank comes back the gentleman who has to ride the completed uptown said he won't ride it because it was so UGLY! Again being the good friends they were, they taped off some flames and grabbed a can of spray paint and repainted the tank. One of them picks up a brush and letters in "PROPERTY OF WETZEL M C" when the tank is dry they all leave to go to their local watering hole to wait for their friend to get off work. Pretty soon their friend gets off of work and shows up and starts asking who owns the bike with the flames and what is a WETZEL M C? They then proceed to tell him that the bike was his own and that he had not recognized it. This was the start of WETZEL M. C.
Before they could form the club there were several things that concerned them. Most important was the bad image associated with Bikers and how to overcome that image with people who stereotyped Bikers. One of the guys came up with a a drawing and each of the friends picked out a color laying out the design we now use. In January of 1987 the first meeting of Wetzel Motorcycle Club was held. As the year progressed it was agreed that they would have a party in September of 1987 and use the proceeds to help out financially people who could not get help from other sources.
Well, the first party had less than 500 people, the members had all used their own money for the expenses and went into the hole. In the second year a local farmer, Gene Vorst, stepped forward and offered the use of his pond at the site of the Old Cactus Bar & Grill. The members started to get the word out on how good the party was and it has grown every year since. In 1991 Wetzel M. C. Incorporated and in the fall of 1992 purchased ground at the Van Wert - Paulding County Line Road and transformed it into what is now known as Wetzelland.
Over the past ten years Wetzel M. C., Inc. has donated back into the Van Wert and surrounding community over $100,000.00 dollars. These monies have been donated to the EMS Units of the Volunteer Fire Departments, the Visiting Nurses, Schools and Baseball teams as well as participating in the Livestock sales at the County Fairs in the area. We have set up a Scholarship Fund for Vantage students through the Van Wert County Foundation. We are members of the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce as well.
Wetzel M. C., Inc. is a family club chartered with the American Motorcyclist Association in 1993. We provide activities for our children throughout the year such as trips to Kings Island and train rides and an annual Halloween Party. We have adopted four miles of US Route 224 in the Ohio Department of Transportation's "Adopt a Highway" program. Our AMA activities include sponsoring a Commemorative Gypsy Tour and we were instrumental in bringing flat track motorcycle races back into Van Wert Fairgrounds in 1995. We work each year with American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) for their Toy Run at Christmas and in 1995 held a benefit of Van Wert's Caring and Sharing, providing funding to help buy toys for needy families at Christmas time. A number of our members are certified thru the Red Cross for First Aid thru the Heart Association for CPR. One of our members is a Certified Instructor for the Ohio Department of Transportation Motorcycle Safety Course. We promote safe riding habits and responsible drinking. We have always maintained good relations with local Law Enforcement by letting them know in advance about upcoming events.
Each year during the last weekend in July, Wetzel M. C., Inc., holds it's annual swap meet and party. People are drawn from across the United States and Canada as well as several foreign countries attending such activities as Bike Games, Bike Shows as well as the best entertainment in well known bands. We take pride in providing first rate entertainment from such bands as the Guess Who, Mashall Tucker, Commander Cody as well as local bands. The party is for adults only, NO ONE UNDER 21 IS ADMITTED. We hope to see you there!
The Officers & Members of
Wetzel M. C., Inc.