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The Hot Shoe, Hall of Fame, Grand Opening

Gene Woods with 2021 Maely Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient Kenny Roberts – Photo Grant Caron

by Howie Zechner

Racers and their disciples converged to Las Vegas, Nevada on May 1 to participate in the Hot Shoe, Hall of Fame, Grand Opening. Promised a good time that celebrates those that participate in motorcycling it did not disappoint. National and World Champion royalty mingled with fellow competitors, crew members, manufactures, sponsors, advertisers, fans, and press for a celebration like no other. 

The Grand Opening would feature a motorcycle display of old race machines, and the premier showing of the remastered “On Any Sunday” movie mixed with free admission and food, throw in Larry Huffman interviews, HSHOF plaques, a full no-host bar and photo area with show girls and this festive event radiated an energy that defies description.

The timing and circumstances for this event were all spot-on. Vegas had just opening back up after the Covid 19 catastrophe so the sights and sounds of Sin City were there to exploit. That coupled with reasonable hotel rates and the desire to get out and mingle with your own kind created a perfect storm of the two-wheel kind.

So, what exactly is this Hot Shoe, Hall of Fame you ask. Well, here’s the short version of a year’s vision, work and energy. 

Gene Woods is the Hot Shoe, Hall of Fame brainchild. Very familiar with the steel shoe racers wear to slide around the track the name of the new organization was a natural. Himself a three-time U.S. Open Speedway Champion, Woods wanted a place where those that deserve recognition would be honored. Having a thriving Go Cart facility in Downtown Vegas, Gene had room for a small motorcycle museum and enough wall space to display hundreds of plaques to honor those that would be inducted.

A board of directors was formed. Rules, a website and Facebook page followed. From the start everyone liked the Hot Shoe concept and nominations poured in. A few dozen quickly turned into hundreds. A gathering to recognize the 2020/2021 inductees was discussed and a structure agreed on. 

The plan; an annual gathering at the same time the Mecum Motorcycle Auction did its yearly four-day event. Saturday would be Mecum’s last day so the Hot Shoe meeting would start after they finished at 6pm.  A good plan shot to hell because Covid 19 stopped and postponed everything. Then finally a break. The powers that be said yes to going out and meeting in large numbers. Hallelujah, our time had come.

The event would be held in the heart of downtown Vegas right next to the Fremont Street Experience in the same complex where Gene Woods has his  Indoor Electric Race Car Track. A superb location the massive five story building has its own below grade parking, movie theater, stages, bars, and a multitude of large banquet rooms and open areas for people to sit or mingle. Planning and luck made most of them available for this event. A good thing because attendance was reported to be close to nine hundred.