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Off-Road Hall Of Fame Inductees
William A. (Bill) Bryan Year Inducted: 2007

Bill Bryan is an inductee in the Recreation: Four Wheeling category.

Bill Byran is a pioneer in four wheeling and off-road racing dating back to the late1950’s.  It was then, while acting as the secretary/treasurer of the Indio Volunteer Fireman’s Club, he assisted in the planning and development of the Indio Sidewinder Cruise, a gathering of enthusiasts interested in off-road excursions.  During that time, the club responded to a request from Pat and Garland Peed to join an association of four wheel drive clubs which eventually became the California Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC). Originally there were only five member clubs, which later grew to include over 50. 

In 1960, using guidelines supplied by the CA4WDC, Bryan founded the Sareea Al Jamal Four-Wheel Drive Club of Indio, CA. He served as chairman of the family oriented 4WD events for nearly 20 years. In the early sixties the Sareea Al Jamal Club assumed sponsorship of the annual Indio Sidewinder Cruise. As chairman, he actively oversaw the committee for the design of the main camping area and the mapping of the trail through the desert. He also worked with the various county, state and federal agencies to secure the necessary permits, handled press releases and sent out dozens of letters to manufacturers and local merchants to supply door prizes for the event. The Indio Sidewinder Cruise became nationally known until the late eighties when BLM land closures forced the popular event to close.

 In the early sixties, Bill met mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner. The internationally known writer of the Perry Mason mysteries and numerous other novels was an avid off-road enthusiast and it wasn’t long before Gardner and Bryan became good friends. Bryan and Gardner traveled the back roads of Baja and the deserts of California. Bill was a contributing writer in Gardner’s book, The Desert is Yours, Prior to Gardner’s death in the mid-sixties, Bryan and Gardner co-wrote articles for various publications including ‘Popular Science’ and ‘Ford Times’. In 1962 Bill became backcountry editor of ‘Desert Magazine’, writing a monthly column about family off-road travel and camping. Later that year, he was an integral part in helping publisher Robert Ames produce four-wheel magazines that focused interest on four-wheeling and off-roading.  

In late 1962 Bryan joined with Jess Green, Robert Ames, Jack Cookand, and Pat Reed to form the National Four-Wheel Drive Association and served as a Director for five years. Although the NFWDA folded after a few years, in 1976 a couple of the original founding members went on to establish the United Four-Wheel Drive Associations, the largest group of 4WD Clubs in the world today. In 1963 the International Four-Wheel Drive Association of Individuals and Clubs was formed and Bill was a working partner. He obtained sponsorships and participated in developing the track for the Riverside Grand Prix. He was also the announcer for this annual event.  

When organized off-road racing was in its infancy, Bryan had already been a part of it for almost ten years. In 1967, at the inaugural NORRA Mexican 1000, Bill was a member of one of the teams that competed in the event. He subsequently prepared numerous entries for future Baja races including the Baja 1000, the Baja 500 and the San Felipe 250.  Bryan has also competed in long distance events such as the 14,000 mile World Cup Rally through North Africa and the 5000 mile ALCAN rally to Alaska.

Although his hands on involvement has decreased over the past few years, his knowledge and mere presence has been an integral part in what four-wheeling is today.

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