Each year leaders in the motorcycle industry gather at the Trailblazers Banquet to recognize the achievements of the pioneers who devoted their lives to the sport that we love. April 7, 2018, marked the 74th Annual Trailblazers Banquet, and Tom White was given the highest honor that his peers can give. Since 2000, the Dick Hammer Award has been presented as the club’s highest honor to a person that demonstrates “Drive, Determination and Desire in everything they pursued.” The list of past recipients is a who’s who of motorcycling legends, and now Tom White has been added to that list of true motorcycling trailblazers that adorn the award.
It is important to note that before Tom succumbed to cancer late last year, the Trailblazers made a special announcement that Tom White would be receiving the Dick Hammer Award on the night of the banquet. Even though Tom knew that he would never make it to the banquet, he was deeply touched that they went above and beyond to let him know that he would be the recipient. Twas touched and told his closest friends how much the award meant to him and how much he appreciated the care and concern of his fellow Trailblazers in telling him in advance.
It was a gala night, with over 800 motorcycle luminaries in the crowd. Although Tom White was the focal point, Speedway racer Scott Autey, road race World Champion and Kenny Roberts mentor Kel Carruthers, race announcer Bruce Flanders, dirt tracker and industry exec Dennis Kanagae, trials magician Debbie Evans and desert star Chuck Miller were inducted into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame.
Largely a dirt track organization with roots back to 1940, motocrossers are not a big part of the Trailblazers program. The induction of Tom White, who started as a dirt track racer but switched to motocross in 1975, brought the numbers up to nine motocross racers in the Trailblazers Hall of Fame. They include Feets Minert, Mike Bell, Gary Conrad, Ron Nelson, Tim Hart, Gary Jones, Dewayne Jones and Jim O’Neal.
The entire extended Tom White family, including grand kids, was there to receive Tom’s award.