December 5, 2016 – Dan Rouit, who passed away on November 16,
2016 at the age of 57. He was the founder, owner and curator of the Dan
Rouit Flat Track Museum in Clovis, California. Dan, who was
confined to a wheelchair after being paralyzed in a freak climbing
accident, had been a flat track racer in his youth and believed the
sport deserved a dedicated museum filled with flat trackers,
memorabilia, posters, programs, trophies, plaques, leathers, helmets
and pictures. Together with his wife Kathy, they made their dream
The museum held a memorial for Dan on December 4th and the
turnout was a testament to how important Dan’s museum has become to so
many flat track fans. While Dan is gone, his dream
continues. Kathy announced at the memorial that the museum would
continue to operate in honor of Dan’s original vision and
passion. Dan will no longer greet visitors with his trademark
smile (and great sense of humor), but his spirit is inescapable when
you pass through the front doors.
The museum is free (donations accepted) and hours are
available by calling (559) 291-2242 between 11am and 7pm or by emailing
By Ron Orozco / The Fresno Bee / May 11, 2011
A Clovis neighborhood is home to a real blast from the past -- about
100 vintage flat-track racing motorcycles and hundreds of other
memorabilia from the sport.
Everything is displayed in the Dan Rouit Flat Track
Motorcycle Museum, which is next to the home where founder Dan Rouit
The museum opened at 309 W. Rialto Ave. in 1991 and twice expanded to reach its current 4,800 square feet.
Racing enthusiasts from all over the state are expected to
gather at the museum's 20th anniversary open house from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday, May 15.
The street will be blocked off. Neighbors will allow people
to park in their yards and will help barbecue tri-tip, which will be
sold for lunch.
As a special treat to racing fans, the Indian Motorcycle used
in the "The World's Fastest Indian" movie, starring Anthony Hopkins,
will be displayed -- and fired up at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The museum, which sits back off the street and has a sign so
small it's hardly visible, doesn't have set business hours. It remains
pretty quiet throughout the year. Visitors must call Rouit to make an
"We've been trying to get the word out about us for 20
years." says Rouit, 53. It hasn't been easy. Flat-track motorcycle
racing today is dead, he says. About 12 Valley tracks that used to
present pro events from Merced to Bakersfield are either closed or
emphasize amateur events.
But the museum comes alive for the annual open house, when
those connected with the sport come to swap stories and relive the past.
Rouit loves to talk racing.His interest began with go-karts
at age 5, racing them at the old Kerman track. He also rode mini-trail
bikes just for fun over vacant lots. Then, flat-track motorcycles
caught his eye. At 12, he first raced a Bultaco 250 Pursang, making the
semifinal in a novice class at Porterville.
As Rouit grew, he graduated to larger bikes and expert class.
At 16, he raced a Yamaha 250, a brakeless bike. He continued racing for
four more years until a nonracing-related accident.
While walking with his best friend in the foothills near
North Fork, Rouit slipped on a moss-covered boulder and fell 120 feet,
breaking his neck. At 20, he was a quadriplegic.
Loving family support brought him out of his depression,
Rouit says, and he became a rabid fan. "I never lost the love of the
sport," he says.
From his wheelchair, he read stacks of motorcycle magazines,
falling in love with the Indian bikes. At an antique show in Reedley,
he met actor Steve McQueen, who passed on the name of an Indian bike
owner. That resulted in Rouit buying a 1912 Indian, a tribute to the
Board Track Racers at the turn of the century.
The 1912 Indian had no suspension in the front or rear. No
transmission. No throttle. It needed to be towed up to speed. Rouit
crammed it in his bedroom along with his Honda mini-trail bike Z50 and
full-size Triumph 650.
"I'm impressed how they came up with these things," he says.
As he collected more magazines, posters, photos and other memorabilia, Rouit was running out of room.
After marrying, he and wife Kathy decided to start the
flat-track motorcycle museum in a 1,200-square-foot room. The goal was
to preserve and display America's racing motorcycle history. Others
involved in the sport kept contributing motorcycles and memorabilia "on
loan" to the museum, which led to a first and second expansion. Rouit
says he owns about half of the museum's collection.
Bob Miller, a member of the Central California Classic Cycle
Club, credits so many people willing to help Rouit realize a dream with
"There are a lot of old racers out there, and this gives them
a place to channel their energies," he says. "I don't know if any of
this would have happened if people didn't just want to help Dan."
Dan was inducted into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2012