Sturgis Motorcycle Museum - Preserving our Motorcycle Hertiage




Hall of Fame Inductee – 2006


In 1939, at age 25, Marge Dwyer was the first female long distance rider to attend the Black Hills Motor Classic.

Her first bike was a used 1935 Harley-Davidson which she used to commute to and from work. In the spring of the 1938 she purchased a new 45 cubic inch Harley-Davidson and hit the road in 1939 with her 19 year-old sister Angie to tour the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. They lived out of the two saddlebags and one suitcase and dressed in canvas helmets, boots, breeches and leather coats.

In Washington they hooked up with the Tacoma Motorcycle Club, riding with two members to the 1939 World Exposition in San Francisco before heading back home to South Dakota, via the 1939 Black Hills Motor Classic. When they returned home to Hurley, South Dakota, the total mileage for the trip was 6070 miles.

Marge was the very first woman to compete in an official Rally event. She returned to Sturgis for the 1940 and 1941 Motor Classics, entering an endurance race in 1941, the only female, competing with seven male riders. The race covered about 30 miles and included trails, a creek crossing, and other hazards in the forest around Sturgis. Marge came in next to last in seventh place but is still proud of her effort.

On another summer trip in 1940, the Dwyer sisters went to Colorado where they rode with the Denver Motorcycle Club. During their stay in Denver, the girls went on excursions with the club, riding to places like Pikes Peak before taking their annual trek to the Sturgis Rally.

In 1942, Marge began teaching Morse Code to pilots in Sioux Falls. After the war in 1945, she took their last tour.

She would attend the Rally several times in the 50’s and 60’s with her children, but always in a car.  She is recognized for her spirit of adventure and as a female motorcycle touring pioneer.

Marge died in 2009 at the age of 95.


Donated and Operated by IMBBA

Many of Sturgis Hall of Fame Members Earned IMBBA's Lifetime Achievment Awards  VISIT IMBBA HALL OF FAME