Inductees Ambrose "Bruce" Walters was the father of major league motorcycle racing in Peoria.
As a 15-year-old Iowan, he bought his first motorcycle in 1913, and until his death in 1980 at the age of 82, he was involved with the speedy machines every day of his life.
Walters was an early member of the American Motorcycle Associationís (AMA) competition committee, and it was through his dedicated work with the AMA that national championship racing was brought to Peoria in 1947. The race continues today, making the famed Peoria TT event the oldest continually run dirt track race in the country.
The AMA recognized Bruce Walters' long service by making him one of the earliest winners of the prestigious Dud Perkins Award.
Before all that, Walters was a determined competitor. He and his late wife, Gladys, traveled throughout the land to flat track races, hill climbs, TT tracks and such major events as the Daytona 200.
Strongly built and a fierce competitor, he raced until he was 48 years old, and then competed in cross-country races until he was 67. He entered Michigan's grueling Jack Pine Enduro event of 500 miles 26 times.
While he was in the early years of competition, Bruce and his brother Bob opened a Harley Davidson dealership in Galesburg, and in 1931, Bruce moved to Peoria to open a Harley dealership here.
Walters was instrumental in the founding of the Peoria Motorcycle Club and the construction of the famed half-mile TT track that over the years has attracted every big name in the major leagues of motorcycle racing.
Ambrose "Bruce" Walters was the father of major league motorcycle racing in Peoria.
Larry Leitner was among the state's elite officials for more than 40 years, officiating high school, college and professional sporting events from 1960 through 2003 and he remains involved in sports by serving on the board of directors for the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, as well as evaluating current officials and moderating IHSA rules clinics.
Among his officiating highlights, Leitner worked more IHSA basketball and football tournament games than any official in the state's history, earning 27 consecutive boys basketball regional assignments. He also worked the IHSA boys basketball state finals in 1973, 1974 and 1976, including the 1976 championship game, and three IHSA football finals, including the first-ever 2A state championship game in 1974. A charter member of the Gateway Conference officiating crew in 1988, Leitner was part of the crew that officiated the 1990 and 1993 NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals and he served as an associate official for the Big Ten Conference from 1984-88.
Leitner also was called upon to officiate two IESA state championship games, the 1990 National Catholic Basketball finals, three Shriner All-Star football games and the 1980 IBCA All-Star Classic, while also working for two seasons in the Midwest Professional Football League.
Leitner is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Peoria Officials and Bloomington/Normal Officials Halls of Fame.