This story ran in August 2014 as the Badger Derby motorcycle ride passed through West Bend. One of the people in attendance was Jerry “Chappie” Chapman. He was one of the first motorcycle policemen in West Bend. The photo is courtesy Suzanne Tennies. Her father, George “Smokey” Weinert is on the right.
Local ties to Badger Derby
A couple of interesting local ties to the Badger Derby motorcycle ride that came through West Bend last week Friday when more than 80 antique motorcycles stopped at the Decorah Shopping Center as part of the event to promote Wisconsin’s Badger Heritage Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. The ride, which started in West Allis, made its first stop in West Bend and one the community’s motorcycle cops from the 1940s was there to greet them.
“I was a year old when that motorcycle was built,” Jerry ‘Chappy’ Chapman said pointing to the 1919 Excelsior Harley. Chapman, 95, was part of the police force in West Bend before and after World War II.
During the Derby stop Chapman made his way in between vintage motorcycles in a wheelchair and talked motorcycle history from the 1940s. “We had two motorcycles at the time,” said Chapman, “one was an Indian and one was a Harley. I drove the Harley and George ‘Smokey’ Weinert rode the Indian,” he said referencing West Bend’s early police chiefs.
Chapman spoke in a voice that was as gravely as some of the side roads early motorcycles traveled. “In the winter we put a sidecar on the motorcycle. The only time we drove the squad car was when the snow was too deep or it was raining too much.”
In the 1940s others in local law enforcement included Jim Lemke and Arthur “Boots” Juech. “When old Boots come in, he’d be hell on wheels,” said Chapman referencing Washington County’s first Harley-riding traffic cop.
Others in attendance at the motorcycle stop included a handful of former aldermen including Tom O’Meara III, Tony Spaeth, and Hope Cross Nelson. Former city assessor Shannon Krause was part of the Derby team. “Look at my hat,” said Krause flipping over her 1940s derby. ‘Men’s Apparel – West Bend’ was stamped in gold lettering on the inside liner. “Has to be Sager’s,” she said referencing Sager’s Mens Apparel, 101 S. Main St. Krause got the bowler hat from club member Tony Hueltner of Boltonville.