How could the
History Channel get the legend of the Hatfields and McCoys so wrong? They would
like you to think that the feud started over a pig.. Well that's sort of true,
but it wasn't a pig with a curly tail.
It was a Hog, a Hog with two
wheels. Yep, it wasn't about a stolen pig at all and it didn't date back over a
hundred and fifty years ago it was much more recent; about 90 years ago.
It seems the McCoys were racing their Harley and doing well at most of
the local race tracks. Randall McCoy was riding his tail off and winning some
pretty good money. This got the attention of the local press and he got to be a
well known local celebrity.
One day Anderson Hatfield was reading his
morning newspaper when he saw how much money McCoy had won at just one race. It
didn't look all that difficult to him so he decided that he would give
motorcycle racing a try.
Hatfield made a special trip into town to
visit the local Harley Dealership. When he arrived the whole place was a
buzzing about the weekends race and how great McCoy was and how he could beat
anyone at any time no matter what they rode. The sales people were all in a
huddle around Randall McCoy in the show room and didn't pay any attention to
Hatfield at all.
Hatfield decided that these Harley folks weren't the
best people to talk to; seeing as they were all McCoy fans. It didn't seem to
Hatfield that they would be interested in sponsoring or helping anyone else to
race against McCoy. Anderson walked out of the Harley dealership, disappointed
like many others. As long as there wasn't any competition their motorcycle
would always win.
Hatfield left the Harley dealership unnoticed, once
out on the street he noticed a sign. The sign he saw had a golden Indian head
with the words Indian Motorcycles emblazoned beneath it. Once he entered the
Indian dealership he noticed how different the mood was. Sales were down and it
seems that even though the Indian was a better motorcycle, they just didn't
have anyone able to give old Randall McCoy a run for his money.
Very rare picture of Randall
McCoy on his race ready Harley Davidson
Anderson listened to the
dealer complain about business and McCoy and Harley's success. Anderson told
the dealer he would race McCoy and win or die trying. And if he didn't; he
could still make money using the motorcycle to deliver moonshine throughout the
The Indian man took Anderson out back and had him suit up and
take their bright Red Indian out on their practice track. To everyone's
amazement Anderson Hatfield was a natural, not since Mike the Bike Hailwood has
there been a racer of this ability and daring
The Indian man
immediately signed up Hatfield and entered him in Saturday's race. He was
already counting money from motorcycles he would sell; of course Harley's fall
from grace just sweetened the pot
Saturday the two riders lined
up on the track's starting line, the race was touch and go. No one could
clearly call the winner at the end. A fight broke out between the race marshals
over who crossed the finish line first. Yes the racing was that close. It also
didn't help that the group of racing officials were members of both the
Hatfield and McCoy clans and had been consuming large quantities of shine.
Mike "the bike" Hailwood
The two riders raced each
other over thirty times in that race season. The winnings were split between
them with 15 wins each; there was no clear cut champion. Once again fights
broke out over who was the better rider and which one was the actual champion.
The McCoys claimed that because Randall had more race wins over his career he
should be the Champion. The Hatfield clan pointed out those previous years
didn't count because there wasn't any competition; only one of them could be
There was only one way that the championship could be
decided. Both teams had to travel to a place that was neutral, that neither
clan had members involved in the officiating. But where could they go
Isle of Man. Neither the Hatfields or McCoys had any kin or family members on
the English Island.
Both teams were excited about the race and it was
decided that whichever rider would come in first would be the new champion. The
only problem they faced was raising money to cover the cost of the trip to the
tiny English island.
A barn dance and poker run was organized
by both the Harley dealer and the Indian dealer. Everyone in two counties
showed up for the dance and to help out. Between paying to get in and buying
fifty fifty tickets, bidding on the auction items and paying for the
consumption of large quantities of moonshine most folks had a good time and
enough money was raised to send both teams overseas.
the partying it seems Anderson Hatfield's oldest son had disappeared with
Randall McCoy's daughter. Jonas and Roseanna didn't return until the next
this didn't set well with either clan. When the dust settled from the
fist fighting, stabbing and shooting one of the younger brothers of Anderson
Hatfield was lying dead in the street; his head had been bashed in by a ball
At first it was blamed on the local chapter of the Hells
Angels; the angels loved using a ball peen hammer to TCOB (take care of
business). But being as how they hadn't been invented yet, it wasn't them. It
had to be one of the McCoys in the fight. The three sons of Randall McCoy were
all swinging ball peen hammers during the fighting, so it was rightly assumed
that one or all of them were responsible for the death.
Sherriff had already arrested all three men and had them in lockup when the
Hatfields showed up demanding that the McCoys immediately be taken out so they
could hang them; "Right and Proper like". Lucky for the McCoys there wasn't
enough time, the race teams had to leave to catch the boat heading for the Isle
All the way over on the boat there was tension between the
teams, not just over the upcoming race; but if the three sons of Randall McCoy
would be still be alive to help celebrate McCoy's expected win.
at sea didn't help the McCoys or the Hatfields which were now suffering from
sea sickness. At one point there was a hell of a fight on the main deck over
who had the right to through up upwind. The smell of puke, blood and moon shine
filled the ships companion ways making the crew of the ship greatly relieved to
reach the island and discharge their feuding passengers.
Anderson "Devil Anse"
Neither team was fully
prepared for the racing at the Isle of Man. It was different from the American
races on large oval tracks. This race ran throughout the island, it was 37
miles to complete one lap of the mountain course. It wound through sleepy
villages, the major cities, up the mountain and back down to the sea side. They
would race on a narrow road, one at a time against each other and the clock.
On race day McCoy's Harley rumbled off the starting line. Five seconds
later the Red Indian of Anderson Hatfield roared away from the starting line.
Down the road both of them went as fast as their motorcycles would go. The
speeds they were reaching were a lot higher here than they had experienced back
home; 45 and 50 mph on the straight sections.
As the race progressed
Hatfield slowly started to gain ground on McCoy. He was only a second behind
McCoy after completing the first 37 miles. McCoy knew he had to pull out all of
the stops to win and on the second lap he somehow managed to set a new personal
best by pushing his Harley to 50 mph. When McCoy looked back he couldn't
believe that the Indian was still behind him, somehow Hatfield managed to match
speed with him. The gap between them was slowly disappearing. Hatfield's Indian
was running fast and he was doing everything he could to go even faster.
On the third lap, Hatfield finally made up the last of the gap and
pulled up alongside McCoy. They raced alongside of each other, the hedge rows
and the stone walls along the road passed by in blur, neither one of them
realized they existed. They were all absorbed in their racing. Both riders were
tucked down on top of their machines; one hand twisting the throttle wide open
keeping it pinned against its stop. The other hand would pump the oil plunger
to keep the engine lubricated. With eyes fixed on the road and each other they
rumbled along side by side, mile after mile, corner after corner.
strain was getting to both riders, what McCoy realized that if they finished
like this he would lose. He started 5 seconds ahead of Hatfield; but, Hatfield
had made up those 5 seconds and he was actually in the lead.
headed up the mountain still side by side. When McCoy figured there weren't any
spectators except for some goats and sheep at this part of the race course; he
reached into his jacket pocket reaching for his pistol. As he pulled it out, he
caught the front sight of his old Navy Remington revolver on his shirt and it
went off. He put a large hole in his gas tank, straight through the top and out
the bottom. With gas leaking out and covering his legs and the bike's back
wheel, he lost traction and it started to fishtail.
The sound of the
gunshot got Anderson's attention and he found more speed. He managed to pull
away ever so slowly from McCoy, and then all of a sudden he shot ahead. He
didn't' realize that McCoy's bike stopped running from the lack of fuel caused
by his inept gun handling.
McCoy was now really pissed off; not only
did they have his sons waiting to hang; he was going to lose the race. In
McCoy's mind it was all the fault of Anderson Hatfield. As McCoy's bike came to
a stop he leveled his pistol and took careful aim. The shot sounded like a
cannon in the quite Manx country side, birds took off, the goats and sheep
stopped eating and looked up in shock
The ball from the pistol traveled
McCoy shook his head when he realized he missed; he didn't
yet smell the fire he started.
Anderson Hatfield tucked down on his
bright Red Indian and with throttle twisted wide open never heard the shot; he
didn't even feel the buzz it made as it passed over his head.
McCoy got off the bike and felt the pain of the burning flesh
. He jumped
around screamed and yelled but no one could hear him. It was going to take some
time for help to arrive
Anderson didn't have a clue that his
rival was on fire or that he wasn't in the race until he crossed the finish
Anderson Hatfield went home as the first AMA Pro champion and he
also established the Indian racing heritage. He raced for many years before
retiring to compete as a pro bass fisherman. He wasn't very successful as a pro
fisherman and was killed when his bass boat hit a duck blind and blew up. They
suspected he was carrying over 100 gallons of moonshine on onboard.
They hung the three McCoy boys for murder after they appeared in Judge
Jonas Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy never did get
married. They did shack up together and ran the best whiskey still in West
Virginia for several years. Jonas was killed by Roseanna when she caught him
trifling around in her Cousin Susan's panties; with her still in them.
Randall McCoy never raced again; he went on welfare because he couldn't hold
down a job due to the burns he suffered. Three years after the famous race he
succumbed to his injuries. His loss at the Isle of Man, the hanging of his
three sons ended the open hostility between the families.
feud slowly became history, but the Harley vs. Indian feud had just begun.