Local riders helped kick-start all-female motorcycle club

By Amy Geiszler-Jones | January 5, 2022

Grave Davis, left, Della Mae Davis were cousins and longtime members of the Motor Maids.

AUGUSTA — A recent article in The Active Age about the all-female Krome Kitty Motorcycle Club sparked memories for a Butler County family whose motorcycle-riding grandma was part of a similar national club called the Motor Maids in the 1950s.

Shawn Davis, owner of Free State Cycle Works in Augusta, has seen photos of the uniform his grandmother, Grace Davis, wore as part of the Motor Maids of America club.

“It was a blue top, white gloves and white patent leather boots.”

Tucked in a family album filled with photos of the Davis family and their motorcycles are several of Grace in her Motor Maids uniform. There are also photos of at least two of her fellow Motor Maids members from that time: Virginia Starr and Della Mae Davis. All three women lived in the Towanda area at the time.

According to a handwritten inscription under one photo, Della Mae won a trophy at a Motor Maids convention the women attended in Jefferson City, Mo. The inscription doesn’t indicate what the trophy was for.

An almost life-sized photo of Grace Davis with her bike also adorns a wall of the Twisted Oz Motorcycle Museum here.

Motor Maids of America, which continues today as one of the longest-running all-female motorcycle clubs in the U.S., was relatively new when Grace and her friends were part of the organization. According to the club’s website, Motor Maids was founded in 1940. Its second president, elected in 1965, was Wichitan Dourine Hamilton.

Robert Davis, Grace’s son and Shawn’s father, remembers Grace and her fellow members having a part in the opening ceremonies of the racing contests he competed in back in the 1950s. 

“At the time, I was doing flat tracking (racing on an oval track) and Mom had her bike with the American flag on it, and she and the rest of the Motor Maids would go around the track,” Robert said. He often raced on tracks in Winfield and Hutchinson.

Riding motorcycles was a family affair, according to Eddie Davis, another of Grace’s grandsons. Often the entire family would hit the road on motorcycles for vacations. 

In 1985, Grace earned “Silver Life” recognition from the Motor Maids, signifying 25 years of membership. She rode well into her 60s and remained a Motor Maid until her death in 2000. She also didn’t shy away from playing physical sports like basketball and football with her grandsons, Shawn recalled. 

“She was not your little old lady sitting around knitting.”

Contact Amy Geiszler-Jones at algj64@sbcglobal.net.