The beginnings of the Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets can be traced to 1973, when a young motorcycling enthusiast began promoting AMA Pro dirt track races at the Northville Downs half mile race track near Detroit, Michigan. Staton Lorenz, loved bikes and loved racing, and soon began promoting dirt track and AMA Ice Racing throughout Michigan, the US & Canada. For several years, throngs of motorcyclists and race fans would converge on the race venues, often times braving extreme outside elements, to cheer on their racing heroes.
As many of the races were held outdoors, weather would have a significant impact on the fans’ ability to come and enjoy the races. One rainy, fall race day at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum, Staton noticed that there were more bikers below the grandstands than there were fans in the seats. Almost as an afterthought, he had earlier decided to put together a swap meet under the grandstands at the race so that fans might have a chance to exchange parts for their own bikes. The bikers loved the swap meet so much that he decided to host another swap meet at his next race. The swap meet was such a huge hit with the bikers that Staton decided to wind down his race promotions and began concentrating on putting together bigger and better, and indoor, swap meets where weather would not be a factor and the bikers could get what they needed to pursue their passion.
Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets began in earnest in 1975 when the first Giant Swap Meet was held in the Dairy Building at the old State Fairgrounds at the corner of Eight Mile and Woodward. Over the next several years, the Giant Swap Meet grew throughout the connecting Mall and Mart building at the Fairgrounds, and two times per year, the old State Fairgrounds in Detroit became the Motorcycle Swap Meet Mecca of the Midwest.
Soon, other venues were added and Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets quickly became the largest series of indoor motorcycle swap meets, not only in the Midwest, but in the entire country. Commercial vendors and local dealers joined with individual bikers to bring their merchandise to the biking community. Through 2007, Giant hosted nine swap meets in five Michigan cities, bringing local riders the opportunity swap their own gear as well as to find the best of what local dealers had to offer, all at affordable prices. In the fall of 2007, Staton Lorenz passed the mantle of the Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets to Chad Dutmers, a huge biking enthusiast with a passion for the motorcycle community. Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets were subsequently added outside of the Michigan state lines, and Cleveland and Milwaukee now boast the largest swap meets in Ohio and Wisconsin. Today, Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets are held ten times per year in six major cities throughout the state of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin during the fall, winter and early spring.
The success and longevity of the Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets can be attributed to the hundreds of thousands of riders throughout the Midwest, who have continually looked to our events as cornerstones of the Midwest biking community.