Saturday, Sept 24, was an eventful day. The 2nd Annual Back Roads Bash was advertised as “an event so huge we couldn’t hold it at just one place.” It was indeed huge, with about 2,000 participants including over 500 motorcyclists who rode the route from Blue Springs Harley-Davidson in Blue Springs, Missouri, to Whiskey Tango in Grain Valley. Donations from the event amounting to about $17,500 went to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
The major sponsors for the event included Blue Springs Harley, Whiskey Tango, 106.5 WDAF Radio, Zarda Barbecue, and Black Hat Productions. The fun began at 10:00 AM at the dealership where people could, with a lucky spin of the prize wheel, win prizes including 7 Zarda dinner plates, 4 Blue Springs H-D $50 gift certificates, 5 keys for a chance in the 2006 Fat Boy giveaway, 4 back-stage passes to meet country star Andy Griggs, and numerous pairs of tickets for the Andy Griggs concert at Whiskey Tango.
The Back Roads ride began at 10:30. Ride fees were $30 for riders and $25 for passengers. Each participant received a commemorative T-shirt, a Zarda gift certificate and spice pack, admittance to the V.I.B. tent at Whiskey Tango, an entry into a drawing for one of the Fat Boy keys, and a route map. The person bringing in the largest donation to MDA was presented with his and hers leather jackets and a Fat Boy key. Cash prizes and keys were awarded for second and third place.
Prior to the ride, Pat Honn, Director of the Greater Kansas City Harley Owners Group, spoke briefly to the riders, thanking them for their participation and encouraging all to ride safely. Riders were released from the parking lot in small groups, with the first being led by Pat followed by WDAF radio personality Rick Miller. The route, appropriately enough, followed back roads through the communities of Richmond, Henrietta, Lexington, Wellington, and Odessa covering a distance of about 106.5 miles.
At the end of the ride, a delicious meal was provided by Zarda. Whiskey Tango’s huge parking lot was filled with attractions to please adults and children. The kids had a blast with the moonwalk and obstacle courses. Airbrush tattoos and caricature drawings were available. Stilt walker Paul Craig of Theatre Tech Productions demonstrated his fire-eating prowess. When he wasn’t on his stilts, Paul was cruising the parking lot in his miniature stunt car. Artists from Robinson Carving demonstrated their chainsaw skills, producing artworks that were auctioned to benefit M.D.A.
There was a martial arts demonstration by students from
Gautreaux’s Martial Arts Center and an arm wrestling competition. A Texas Hold’Em tournament was held with a Harley-Davidson leather jacket awarded to the winner and Blue Springs Harley gift certificates for second and third places.
Throughout the afternoon attendees were treated to live music and the opportunity to meet the Blue Springs Harley girls, Regina and Alicia. The girls posed for numerous photos and autographed lots of posters.
The event was a treat for racing fans. Joe Gibbs Racing displayed NASCAR racecars driven by Nextel Cup points leader Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Walt Sipp was on hand with his Buell racing bike sponsored by Blue Springs Harley-Davidson. Racing Limos of Kansas City had one of their long, cool limousines on display.
As the time approached 5:00 PM, a large crowd gathered around the beautiful 2006 Fat Boy that would soon be given away to a lucky winner. A total of 106 keys had been awarded including 70 to WDAF 106.5 listeners, 3 to the highest donors, 5 to the spin-and-win wheel winners, 1 to a back roads rider, and 27 drawn from those who registered at Blue Springs. The key to the Fat Boy hung inside a locked box. As the contest began, the first key holder tried unsuccessfully to open the box. One by one, contestants tried their keys without success until it was Steve Brown’s turn. The Independence, Missouri, man inserted his key into the latch and, with a twist of the wrist, became the bike’s new owner. After a moment of celebration with friends who were present, Steve amazed the crowd by announcing his intention to give the bike away! He explained that his younger brother Dean, a long-time Harley fan, had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma located in his stomach. Steve had decided in advance that if he won the bike he would give it to Dean.
While sitting on the Fat Boy, Steve used his cell phone to call his brother. Via the public address system, the crowd listened in as Dean got the good news. His first reaction was disbelief. Steve had to get WDAF’s Lisa Mettlen on the phone before Dean was convinced that his brother wasn’t playing a prank on him Steve started the bike and held the phone close to the exhaust pipes so Dean could hear the rumble of his new bike for the first time. After a while, Dean and other family members arrived to check out the new ride and meet Andy Griggs through the courtesy of WDAF. Although the other 105 key holders were disappointed, it’s safe to say that everyone had a good feeling about the outcome of the contest.
About 1,000 people stayed for a terrific concert opened at by Lincoln Park and Featuring Andy Griggs whose hits include I’ll Go Crazy, You Made Me That Way, She’s More, You Won’t Ever Be Lonely, and Waitin’ on Sundown as well as Shine on Me as a duet with the great Waylon Jennings.
I asked Lori Worth Smith of Blue Springs Harley-Davidson for her comments about the Back Roads Bash. She expressed her appreciation for all of those who attended and supported the M.D.A. cause. She said, “ I want to give a special THANK YOU to the Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter for volunteering their time. They worked very hard and gave so much of themselves to the event. We could not do events like this without their help.” She added, “And Zarda Barbecue is incredible! They donated the food for the entire event and fed over 2,000 people. The are a great company with huge hearts, and they serve up the best barbecue in Kansas City.”
The Bash was really a great event to raise funds for a very special charity. A big THANK YOU goes out to all of the sponsors and to the H.O.G. volunteers!
Story and photos by Stripe