Over 45 years, we at HOPRA have been scheduling races and championships to give race fans and H.O. enthusiasts the opportunity to become more involved with scale auto racing and add to their enjoyment of racing and H.O. cars.
Established in 1969, HOPRA has been dedicated to the promotion and advancement of H.O. slot car racing. We run many state championships and larger races throughout the country. Starting in 1975 and every year since, HOPRA has held its annual National Championship event that draws the best H.O. slot racers from around the world. This page is dedicated to the history of our origination.
The birth of HOPRA -
In 1969 Carl Dreher, Kim Shaw, and a few others in Indiana came together and began the H.O. Professional Racing Association. Michigan crowned their first HOPRA Champion in 1970. Illinois HOPRA was created in 1974 by Mark Rosenwinkel and Norm Gardner. The first year of what became Illinois HOPRA, it was named Chicago-Gary HOPRA. Name was changed to Illinois HOPRA for the 1975-76 second season and has remained running ever since continuously to this day.
The birth of the HOPRA National Championships -
Tom Coyne, of Otisville, MI and the owner of TCP, was the primary driver behind the first nationals in 1975. There were a few others that helped him, but he was the primary leader. From the second nationals, Mark Rosenwinkel ran the National event along with Norm Gardner for many years. There were individual Race Directors in the host city each year, but the responsibilities around selection of track and cities fell to Mark by default at the national level. A lot of trust, handshake agreements and yes, some stumbles along the way. Rules evolved and a lot was just by general consensus. There certainly were rocky roads along the way, but the race and the HOPRA organization survived and the race took place every year and grew. Mark brought the leaders from across the country together at the 1979 Nationals in Detroit, MI and laid out the organizational plan composing including a National Director and senate seats representing various states. This was approved overwhelmingly and Mark was elected as the first formal National Director. He served consecutive terms from that point in 1979 through 1982. Throughout the years HOPRA has expanded on this foundation maintaining the original structure set in place by the founders of our organization.
Click on the photo's below to expand them
From the early years...
The first ten years of the HOPRA Nationals from 1975 through 1984 only featured one car class each year. There occasionally were a couple drivers class designations, but the cars were the same each year. However, the rules changed, sometimes significantly, from year to year. This ranged from full near-unlimited (1975, 1978 & 1979), to various restrictions on magnets and electrical systems. The in-line G-Plus format was heavily featured in years 1979-1984.
c/o - Al Miltich
The H.O. Professional Racing Association (HOPRA) has it roots in the first organized race of the H.O. Car Club of Indiana (HOCCI) hosted by Kim Shaw of Elwood Indiana on August 16, 1968 and advertised in Car Model magazine. In that race, held in Kim's garage on a warm summer weekend, Alan Miltich of Flint, Michigan was the top qualifier and the race winner was Carl Dreher of Gary, Indiana with Miltich taking second.
Over that fall and winter the duo of Kim Shaw and Alan Miltich organized a series of races for the spring through fall of 1969 with the known clubs of the region. The HO Professional Racing Association was born at that time. The first Michigan HOPRA race was in August, 1969 at the Victor George Oldsmobile dealership on the south side of Flint. There were so many attendees that the dealership stayed open until 2am to complete the race!
This was all organized and promoted in the age of printed / mailed newsletters and long distance phone calls at 20 cents a minute!
After the 1969 season was concluded, Alan Miltich wrote the basic by laws of HOPRA and the individual states organized their own state's series. Eventually the primary state races were combined as the "Midwest Championship" point races. For HOPRA at that time, the Midwest Championship was as good as it got!