Pat Brase and B.J. Whitley Win 12th Annual WTT Vintage Motorcycle Raffle!!!

Dale welcomes over 200 Toy Runners to Wheels Through Time on Saturday a few hours before the big drawing.

Dale welcomes over 200 Toy Runners to Wheels Through Time on Saturday a few hours before the big drawing.

This past Saturday, November 15, over one thousand visitors gathered at Wheels Through Time to witness the museum’s 12th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Raffle Giveaway. Sunny skies and brisk temperatures kept the crowd on their feet as the museum made two lucky ticket holders the winners of the 1935 and 1936 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers.

The days festivities began as the 23rd Annual Haywood County Toy Run left downtown Canton headed for Wheels Through Time. Despite morning temperatures well below freezing, over 250 motorcycles braved the weather to help the children of Haywood County. After a catered barbeque lunch put on by the Blue Ridge Thunder Motorcycle Club, all attention turned to the stage in anticiaption of the drawing that would determine the new owners of two genuine American classics.

This year, two Grand Prize machines were up for grabs – a pair of 1935 and 1936 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers. Over the past year, these two beautiful machines helped the 2014 Museum Raffle become the largest Wheels Through Time fundraiser to date, raising much needed revenue for WTT to build new exhibits, expand its interpretation, and improve the overall museum experience for its visitors.

Dale poses with Ava, the brave young lady who dove in head first to pic the next two winners of the Wheels Through Time Annual Raffle.

Dale poses with Ava, the brave young lady who dove in head first to pic the next two winners of the Wheels Through Time Annual Raffle.

When it came time to draw the winning tickets, all in attendance fell silent, then on Dale’s mark, began a 20 second countdown as an energetic youngster dove in to the throusands of tickets head first. As the countdown reached zero, the little girl held out two tickets – one in each of her outstretched arms.

As indicated in the drawings rules, the first ticket pulled would be the proud new owner of Bike #1 – the 1935 Harley-Davidson VLD Bobber. The winner was Pat Brase from Ft. Wayne, IN. Pat first visited the museum three years ago, and after having such a great time during his first stop, he came back this past 4th of July weekend with friends. During his visit he donated a 1951 AMA Riders Book, which he proudly mentioned include a mention of his uncle, who was one of the first racers in Indiana to have an AMA national number. Before his visit was over, he decided to buy 7 tickets for the museum’s annual raffle.

Pat’s family has been riding motorcycles for over a century. One of his prized possessions is a photograph from a motorcycle race in 1910, with his grandfather and greatgrandfather in the front row. Pat himself has been riding for over 50 years, and is the senior Chaplain for the Indian Patriot Guard Riders. He even has owned a few “old bikes” along the way. “When I started riding, you had to be a mechanic, so I learned,” Pat said. “My dad rode Harley’s, and taught me a lot.” His first motorycle was a Harley-Davidson 125cc “Hummer” and later, he and his brother together bought a 1936 Harley-Davidson VLH. Although the bike was a basketcase and incomplete, the two had big plans to get it running. But when an interested party made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, they decided to let it go.

The first lucky ticket is pulled for the 1935 Harley-Davidson VLD Bobber. The winner was Pat Brase from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

The first lucky ticket is pulled for the 1935 Harley-Davidson VLD Bobber. The winner was Pat Brase from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Now, decades later, Pat is again the proud owner of a genuine Harley-Davidson VL Flathead. With the help of his wife and son, he has decided that he’ll be taking the bike instead of the alternate cash prize.

Winner of Bike #2 — the 1936 Harley-Davidson VL “Dale Special” Bobber —  is B.J. Whitley from Garner, North Carolina.   While B.J. lives only a few hours away, he had never visited the Smoky Mountains until this year.  He and his wife’s first visit to the area, and to Wheels Through Time was the during the exact same week that Pat Brase, winner of Bike #1, visited the museum. B.J. is the second Carolina winner in the past two years (last year’s grand prize was taken home by a South Carolina resident).

When speaking of his July visit to Wheels Through Time, he said he was impressed by the diversity and the number of machines on display, citing the American Board Track Racing Exhibit and the Chopper Graveyard as two of his favorite areas of the museum.  He recalled watching in amazement as Dale and Matt cranked up bike after bike, and couldn’t believe it when Dale jumped aboard a 1915 Harley and rode out the front door.   During his visit to Wheels Through Time, B.J. bought 14 tickets for the annual raffle, mainly to help support the museum’s mission. Little did he know that just over four months later, he would get a phone call that would change his life.

Pat Brase of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and B.J. Whitley from Garner, North Carolina are the winners of the 1935 and '36 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers.

Pat Brase of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and B.J. Whitley from Garner, North Carolina are the winners of the 1935 and ’36 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers.

B.J. and his wife Shelby have been riding motorcycles most of their lives.  His first bike was a Honda 450, that he eventually converted into a 3-wheel machine with a Harley Servicar rear end.  Although he has never ridden a bike with a foot-clutch and tank-shift, he is excited to give the ’36 Flathead Bobber a go.

Also during Saturday’s festivities, Wheels Through Time unveiled the new Grand Prize for the 13th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Raffle in 2015. Next year’s lucky winner will take home a stunning 1939 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber custom built by Wendell Turner at Turner’s Cycle Shop in South Lyon, Michigan. Tickets are on sale at WheelsThroughTime.com/2015raffle.

The Wheels Through Time museum would like to thank each and every participant that contributed to the 2014 Vintage Motorcycle Raffle. Each year, thousands of generous individuals support the museum through its raffle fundraiser, and make it possible for WTT to continue to fulfill its mission to educate and inspire a diverse audience about the history of American tranportation.

Museum Will Run “World’s Rarest Motorcycle” This Thursday @ 2p.m.

The 1916 Traub at Wheels Through Time is considered by many to be the "World's Rarest Motorcycle".

The 1916 Traub at Wheels Through Time is considered by many to be the “World’s Rarest Motorcycle”.

After a full year resting idle amongst hundreds of rare and historic machines inside the world famous Wheels Through Time Museum, what is often referred to as the “World’s Rarest Motorcycle” will once again roar to life before being put away for along hibernation this winter. This Thursday, November 13, at 2p.m., museum curator and founder Dale Walksler will be holding a special exhibition of the 1916 Traub motorcycle at Wheels Through Time.

The one-of-a-kind 1916 Traub has long been a favorite of visitors to the museum. Its story has puzzled historians, collectors, and enthusiasts alike for decades, and while its origin remains a mystery, its advanced engineering is considered a marvel by many of the world’s most knowledgible experts. And for those who have had the pleasure of hearing it run comes a new appreciation all its own.

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The Traub features a unique, one-of-a-kind side-valve engine, displacing 80 cubic inches, with two camshafts.

What is known of the Traub’s story has interested millions. The machine was found in 1967 behind a wall in a Chicago apartment building during a renovation project by the property’s owners. Upon discovery, no clue to its origin remained, providing for difficulty in learning more about its history. Within a year, a local Yamaha dealer heard about the machine, and offered up a brand new Yamaha motorcycle in trade for the old relic. The bike remained in his care until the late 1970s, when famous motorcycle collector and hollywood stuntman, Bud Ekins heard about the machine while in Chicago during the filming of the Blues Brothers movie. Ekin’s tracked the bike down, bought it, and had it shipped back to California. Ekins later found himself in financial trouble, and sold the bike to a friend, who owned it for almost a decade before selling it to Dale Walksler for display at Wheels Through Time.

Despite the machines storied past since being discovered in 1967, very little known about its existence before that time. No one has been to determine exactly who or where the bike was built. Based on overall styling and the use of a few parts once found commonly throughout the motorcycle industry, experts have been able to estimate date the bike to approximately 1916. Except for the Troxel seat, Schebler carburetor, and Bosch magneto – all industry leading components at the time – almost every piece on the motorcycle, including the engine, is entirely of its own design. The 80 cubic inch, side-valve, twin-cam powerplant decades ahead of its time, and a unique 3-speed transmission with two neutrals transfers power to the rear wheel, giving the bike a wider range of capabilities that many of its contemporaries. Low center of gravity, coupled with low seat position and shorter handlebars provide for agility and manueverability unmatched by other makes.

The name Traub is proudly emblazoned onto the gas tanks, and cast into both the magneto chain cover and right engine case.

The name Traub is proudly emblazoned onto the gas tanks, and cast into both the magneto chain cover and right engine case.

With its advanced qualities and capabilities, one might ask why it was sealed in a brick tomb for over 50 years, never be ridden through the streets of Chicago, or to make its mark on the motorcycle world. Many believe had the machine gotten the right interest, it could changed the motorcycling industry forever. Instead, almost 100 years later, it remains a mystery.

This year alone, over 130,000 visitors had the opportunity to glance over its unique qualities, and decide for themselves what gives the machine such allure — Perhaps the sleek but sophiscated look and stance, or the cutting edge engineering unused by other manufacteres of the day. For most….its the mystery, the hope that one day, light will be shed on its origin and that the builder of one of the world’s most advanced motorcycles be recognized for his achievement.

This Thursday at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC, visitors will have the rare opportunity to hear the one-of-a-kind Traub motorcycle roar to life for the first time in over a year, before the machine is drained of its fluids and stored for its winter slumber. Museum curator and founder Dale Walksler will perform a tune-up and demonstrate the starting procedure for visitors. Museum staff will be on hand to answer questions about the machine, and provide details as to recent discoveries in its story.

For more information, visit the Wheels Through Time Facebook page or call 828 926 6266.

Past WTT Raffle Winner Talks About Experience, Shares Feeling of Riding and Owning Vintage Iron

Dale reads off the winner of the 2011 Wheels Through Time Raffle.  Chris Hemminger took home the beautiful 1936 Knucklehead Bobber!

Dale reads off the winner of the 2011 Wheels Through Time Raffle. Chris Hemminger took home the beautiful 1936 Knucklehead Bobber!

With the 2014 Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Raffle just days away, thousands of hopeful ticket holders look toward the future with anticipation, keeping fingers crossed that they’ll be bringing home a new addition to their garage. But for a select few others, the days leading up to the raffle have been a time of reflection, as they look back at the experience of becoming the next Grand Prize Winner and owner of a genuine piece of motorcycle history.

Chris Hemminger came to Wheels Through Time Museum for his first visit in 2009. Annually making the ride to the Great Smoky Mountains with his friends, Chris began to make the museum a meeting place during his travels, sharing it with friends and family. During his first tour through WTT, he learned of the annual motorcycle raffle, which serves as the museum’s largest fundraiser, and decided to buy at ticket. Chris began to buy a ticket or two on each visit, hoping one day his luck would pay off. Eventually, he hit the jackpot, when he was called as the lucky winner of a genuine 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber in 2011! Chris received the call on his youngest daughters 1st birthday, and although he was in disbelief at first, the good news quickly set in.

The 1936 Knucklehead Bobber sitting in front of Chris's home in Maryland.  Although he's a busy guy, he rides it often!

The 1936 Knucklehead Bobber sitting in front of Chris’s home in Maryland. Although he’s a busy guy, he rides it often!

Within a month, Chris was down to claim his prize. Although he had never ridden an antique motorcycle before and was a little intimidated, he jumped in with both feet and was riding laps around the museum in no-time! “I’ve had fatboys, sportsters, ridden just about every modern model Harley of my buddies, but never anything with a kickstart, foot-clutch, tank-shift, and manual spark advace,” Chris admits. “But I absolutely loved it, and can’t believe I was intimidated.”

While keeping busy with work and home life, Chris still gets it out for a short ride or two whenever he can. He tells us that when out cruising, he often receives comments on how great the bike looks, and is occasionally asked “how much do you have in it?”. He loves to watch the reactions when he tells them it only cost him 10 bucks! His goal is to someday ride the bike in the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic, as he is a big fan of American Iron Magazine and all of the great vintage articles they put out.

Chris also has some advice for future winners: “Enjoy!” he says. “Your life is about to change! There is no feeling like riding and owning vintage iron. Especially one built from the ground up by the master himself, Dale Walkser!”

Since his lucky day, Chris has made the trek back to WTT twice a year, and says anytime he is within a couple hundred mile radius, he always makes the detour. And you guessed it….he’s still buying tickets for the museum’s annual raffle, hoping to take home another hand-built, genuine American motorcycle classic.

For more information about the 2014 Wheels Through Time Raffle Drawing November 15th, or to get your tickets to WIN today, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com/2014raffle!