Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

14th Annual 9-11 Tribute Ride and Rally-Grandview, Missouri

Written by  September 27, 2015

On Saturday, September 12, thousands of motorcyclists gathered at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri, to pay tribute to those who perished on September 11, 2001, as a result of terrorist attacks and to honor military veterans and active military, police, and emergency services personnel.

The rally began at 9:00 a.m. and featured vendors, children’s activities, pre-registration for the Bikers for Babies RIDE, and displays of Grandview emergency services vehicles as well as vintage and current military vehicles such as the M1078 LMTV (light medium tactical vehicle) and the 16 ton Oshkosh HEMTT LHS (load handling system). After Gail welcomed the audience, there was a short performance by two members of the Pipes & Drums of Ararat Shrine. Visitors to Gail’s enjoyed the music of Cheap Thrill$ and Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders. Commemorative T-shirts and pins were sold to benefit Folds of Honor. The first 200 visitors to the dealership had the opportunity to roll 6 large foam dice for a chance to win a new Harley, but nobody was lucky enough. Winners of the ride-in bike show were. John Bullard (Non-Harley 1st), Joel Doyscher (Non-Harley 2nd), Mark Kozak (Harley 1st) and Tom Hawley (Harley 2nd). At 4:00 Jumpers from Skydive KC made their appearance in the sky above Gail’s Harley-Davidson providing the audience with a spectacular view of a 600 square-foot American flag suspended beneath skydiver John Hall. Joining Gail to emcee the event were television meteorologists Gary Amble and Chris Suchan.  Roger Fleener offered the opening prayer and blessing of the bikes.

More than 1,400 riders participated in the ride departing from Gail’s and ending at the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial. In the lead were police escort bikes; a retired fire truck from Thiells, New York; military vehicles; and representatives of Gail’s Harley-Davidson including Gail, Gale, and Gail’s parents, Ray and Beverly. Military riders were given a much-deserved position of honor at the front of the motorcycle pack. According to escort coordinator Sergeant Jay Richards of the Lenexa Police Department there were 43 motor officers from 16 different agencies escorting the ride. A MODOT motorist assist vehicle brought up the rear.

A color guard from Whiteman Air Force Base conducted a flag retirement ceremony at the World War I Museum. The museum was not open for tours, but the building was opened to provide much-appreciated restroom access. There was also access to the observation level near the top of the Liberty Memorial tower providing a spectacular view of the throng of motorcycles parked over 200 feet below.

The event was scheduled to close with a free concert by country/rock/southern rock artist Travis Martin. Unfortunately, a locally-obtained sound board blew causing a long delay during which many of the ride participants departed, the only disappointment during an otherwise marvelous event. Eventually, Travis gamely performed a few songs with limited equipment to entertain those remaining.

It was a fantastic day and a great ride. It’s crucial that we always remember the tragedy of 9-11 and pay tribute to the victims. Currently, there are constant reminders that America’s enemies are still active. The good news is that those evil forces are destined to fail, and the U.S.A. will prevail thanks to the courage and dedication of our heroes in uniform and the strength of the American spirit in all of us.

Thanks go out to Gail and her staff, the American Heartland Chapter of H.O.G., the police and MODOT escort team, sponsors, vendors, entertainers, and all who participated in the ride. My thanks also to Cherie, Tim, Jason, Patrick and other museum volunteers who helped make the event a great success. Special thanks to our military, police, and first responders who stand ready every day to serve and to protect all of us.



Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at stripe@cycleconnections.com