Thanks to A Century of Motorcycling for the invaluable help with both the text and pictures on this page!
From the meeting minutes recorded by Donald Creese, secretary, “The first meeting of the Western Massachusetts Motorcycle Club was held at the Indian Motorcycle Building, 839 State Street on February 8, 1933. There were thirty-five charter members and one honorary charter member present.”
In July of 1933, Glenn Crandall, the local Springfield Indian Dealer, died in a shop accident and there was a temporary loss of a retail outlet in Springfield. The Indian Motorcycle factory decided to open its own local retail dealership in the factory basement at 839 State Street, and hired Fritzie Baer to run it.
Fritzie left the Armstrong Roamers in Worcester, MA with a grand farewell at Baer’s Point on August 5th. Once in Springfield, he formed the Fritzie’s Roamers Motorcycle Club from the former Springfield Motorcycle Club and the Western Massachusetts Motorcycle Club at the new dealership. There were 10 members initially. The first club run was held on August 27th and may have been a ride to the Baer’s place on Coes Pond in Worcester.
On October 15, 1933 Fritzie’s Roamers put on their first Tough Terrain (TT) event at Bowles Airport in Agawam, MA as a means of earning money for their treasury. TT races (as well as hill climbs) remained a big part of their activities up until the United States entered World War II when gasoline and rubber became scarce for non-military use. By the end of the first year the club membership had grown to 125, with 80 motorcycles on the road.
Early in 1934 the club wanted to do something BIG. Then President, Don Creese suggested, “Let’s hold a fine, big banquet – with the object of talking and promoting SAFE and SANE riding by every member of our club.” The first Safety Banquet of Fritzie’s Roamers was held on March 8, 1934 at the Hotel Clinton in Springfield. Guest included the General Manager of Indian Motorcycles, the President of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), representatives of the Massachusetts State Police, the Springfield Police Chief, representatives of the Springfield Safety Council, representatives of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, representatives of several insurance companies and a representative of the Springfield Mayor’s Office. On May 5th the Fritzie’s Roamers Auxiliary (formed in February of that year) held a meeting to elect officers. Fritzie’s Roamers also had a section in the Fourth of July parade in Springfield, directly behind the Indian Motorcycle float.
In April, 1966, Fritzie's Roamers held a Reunion Banquet to celebrate 33 years since the club began.
In July of 2014, the Indian Motorcycle Riders Group® Springfield, MA, chapter #1941 was started and received permission from Fritzie Baer’s family to use the name of Fritzie’s Roamers. The sponsoring dealership is Indian Motorcycle of Springfield, located in Westfield, MA.
On January 13, 1935 Fritzie’s Roamers were presented with a National Championship Banner as the Best All Around Motorcycle Club In The Country for 1934 by the AMA, particularly for their efforts to promote and develop safety. On April 19, Fritzie’s Roamers held a club night run, by moonlight, from the club house at the factory on State Street, via back roads, to Bowles Airport in Agawam, MA, then on to Feeding Hills, Westfield, almost into Holyoke, Mount Nonotuck and back to Springfield at 1 AM. Sunday, September 22 saw Fritzie’s Roamers hold its first races at the new Springfield Airport course.
In January, 1942 Fritzie’s Roamers “voted to go dormant” due to the war conditions. The club started up again on July 28, 1946.