Behind the Cornfield Classic:
Marion's moto heritage story

On the back roads of Marion, Indiana, on September 7, 1920, the second annual Cornfield Classic: Marion’s International Motorcycle Race, was held just southwest of town. The event organizers utilized county roads to make a five mile race course, and the fine weather brought out a crowd of more than 15,000 people. The 200-mile international championship motorcycle race took approximately 3-hours to complete. The 1920 victor was Harley-Davidson rider Ray Weishaar, of Bridgeport, Conn. at a pace of 2:48:37, which was 17 minutes and 56 seconds under the time in which Red Parkhurst covered the distance the year prior in winning the race. Leonard Buckner, riding an Indian, was second, in 2:52:47, and Jim Davis, driving a Harley Davidson, was third, in 2:56:04. Weishaar, being the first across the finish line, was given a piglet, which he immediately made a victory lap with the little pig as a passenger. The Harley race team affectionately became known as the Hog Boys and the name HOG stuck marking Marion, Indiana on the map as the Home of the Hog.

The Indiana Motorcycle Preservation Society’s mission is to promote and preserve Indiana’s motorcycle history. Marion’s Cornfield Classic and tales of the Home of the Hog are shared across the globe including a special exhibit in Milwaukee at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Learn more below!

Motorcycle Racing Returns to Post-War America

In 1919, excited fans and racers flocked to Marion, Indiana to witness a 200-mile international road race that promised to be the greatest event of its kind. Motorcycle riders came from every part of the country and at least fifteen thousand spectators cheered them on.

Harley Davidson is a Favored Contender

The Harley-Davidson people sent sixteen men from their factory who actually took part in the race. This number included six to eight riders, several pitmen and a team manager.

The harley-davidson team

Indian Brings an International Champion

With the entry of Percy Coleman, on the Indian team, the race assumed an international aspect, as Coleman was the reigning motorcycle champion of New Zealand.

The Indian Team

Excelsior Rounds Out the Big Three

The Excelsior Company, along with their local dealer in Marion, jumped on board and sent four entries to the race.

The Excelsior Team

Bigger Crowds In Attendance for the 2nd Annual Cornfield Classic

For the second consecutive time the Harley-Davidson wins the Marion 200-mile “Cornfield Classic”. It only took 2 hours 48 minutes and 37 and 12-100ths seconds, to establish Harley Davidson as the world’s top motorcycle manufacturer.

Marion Economy Grows as a Result of the Race

The influx of people was so great that special committees were appointed to secure accomodations at hotels, lodging houses, and even private residences. Restaurants welcomed thousands of visitors and entertainment apart from the race was provided. Civil War veterans of the local National Soldiers’ Home were given rides in sidecars on the race course.

Home of the Hog

But the most historic moment of 1920 came after the race. Earlier that day, Harley-Davidson’s Ray Weishaar adopted a piglet from a local farm and kept it close by. The first thing he asked after winning the race was “where’s my pig?” and to this day Harley Davidson motorcycles are still referred to as “hogs.”
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