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Blue Springs Harley-Davidson's Back Roads Bash

Written by  October 31, 2004

As many as 3,000 motorcycle enthusiasts visited Blue Springs Harley-Davidson
on Saturday, September 25 for the Back Roads Bash. Most went with dreams of winning the 2005 V-Rod to be given away by the dealership and country music station KDAF 106.5 FM, and for one person the dream came true.

The event was the annual fund-raiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and brought in over $10,200 for the charity. Those who participated in the ride paid an entry fee of $20 that day or $15 if they registered early. The top fund-raiser received his and hers leather jackets and one of the 106 keys for a chance to win the V-Rod. Radio personality Rick Miller led the way as 612 riders on 342 motorcycles covered a route of, appropriately enough, 106.5 miles. The scenic route included stops in Buckner, Oak Grove, and Odessa where riders drew numbered poker chips with prizes awarded for the high and low scores. To enhance the safety of the ride, motorcycles were released from the parking lot in small groups separated by gaps of several minutes. Jennifer Ames contributed greatly to the success of the ride, organizing the efforts of 42 Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter volunteers, who staffed the event. Many of the volunteers were among the first to arrive and the last to leave at the end of the day.

There were lots of attractions in addition to the ride and V-Rod giveaway. Steel House and Moots Moody provided musical entertainment. Affordable Elegance provided great eats featuring fried chicken. Road racer Walt Sipp, sponsored by Blue Springs Harley-Davidson, was on hand to greet racing fans and sign autographs as were Screamin’ Eagle/ Vance & Hines NHRA Pro Stock racers Andrew Hines and G.T. Tonglet. Taekwondo skills were demonstrated by students from Gautreaux’s Martial Arts School. Caricature drawings and airbrush tattoos were available. Pig Glow Products had a booth where riders could get information and products to keep those scoots looking their best. Boy scouts manned a concession stand and assisted with parking. Kids could bounce in a moonwalk. Eric Fellows was a big hit with children and adults alike as he juggled and performed magic tricks while balanced on tall stilts.

The highlight of the day was the drawing for the new V-Rod. A huge crowd assembled to find out who would be the winner. That lucky lady was Gail Kriete, and I was lucky enough to hear all about her experience. I recently met Gail and her cute granddaughter, Taylor for an interview.

CC: How did your big day start?
Gail: Kyle from Blue Springs Harley called to let me know that he was ready to deliver my 1200 Sportster that morning. It had been in for service. As we were talking, he mentioned to me that the MDA ride was going on that day. We’ve gone out to that event the last three years, so I made plans to stop by.

CC: Did you have other stops on the way?
Gail: My 7-year-old granddaughter, Taylor and I stopped at a few yard sales and then went to a bookstore in Independence which we do all the time. We got five books and read a couple of them in the bookstore. We were headed back home and went the back way, coming down the road that runs by the dealership. It was so crowded there I almost decided not to stop. Then we saw the moonwalk for the kids and the big slide as we drove past. We turned around, came back and parked. As we walked into the store, the entry box was set up right by the door. I had dropped in an entry earlier in the week, but it was handy so I decided to throw in one more. We did a little shopping and came back out as they were getting ready to do the drawing. While we were waiting, Taylor kept asking when we could go home.

CC: DJ Rick Miller and Lori Worth Smith were doing the drawing.

Gail: Yes, they started drawing names and were joking about “girl power” and “guy power.” After a while my name was picked, and I yelled really loud. I was really happy! Taylor asked again if we could go home and I said, “No, now we’re really not going home yet.” We waited for everyone’s names to be pulled and then went over to the trailer where they were drawing line numbers.

CC: How many finalists were selected?

Gail: There were people who had won a chance over the radio and 25 who were drawn that day for a total of 106. The 25 drew numbers out of a fish bowl, and Taylor reached in and pulled out our line number, number 38. Then we had to wait another 45 minutes, so we walked around and got a hot dog and water, and we looked at the bikes and shopped some more. They had a caricature artist there, and we had one done with both of us on a motorcycle, Taylor as the driver and me as the passenger. We reported to WDAF’s RV at 3:45. We were all lined up by number and went up one at a time to draw our keys out of another fish bowl. Taylor again picked our key which was number 41. It was funny because while in line you kind of look at people going up and you think they are probably going to win. You never think you are going to win things like this. I remember one lady that was in line who looked like a grandmother like me but a little older. I had picked her out as the one who would probably win, but her key didn’t open the lock. After 37 keys didn’t work, it was our turn. Taylor didn’t want to go up, so she sat beside the stage. I shook Rick Miller’s hand and kissed the key, stuck it in the lock, turned it, and it opened! I just couldn’t believe it. My words were, “Oh my God!!!” I remember stomping my foot, grabbing Taylor and squeezing her as tight as I could. I had never won anything big, maybe $100 in my whole life. The excitement and the emotion were just unbelievable. People were totally cheering and happy as we went up to sit on the bike. They gave Taylor a little V-Rod model. Then she said, “Now can we go home?”

CC: I remember that you were crying a bit.

Gail: Rick asked me how I felt at that moment, and I said, “Do you know what 'happy cry’ means?” He said he didn’t, and I said, “That’s when you’re so happy you cry.” That’s how I felt right then, and I know I just started bawling. Then I got to meet the Worth Family. Mrs. Worth was especially nice. She was so excited and happy for me. Everyone was.

CC: I remember you shared some personal information with the crowd.

Gail: Yes, the last five years have just been really rocky for us. We’ve had deaths and have lost people who were very close to us, and I got a divorce in September. The Thursday before the event, I got legal custody of Taylor. Both of her parents agreed that it was best. Monday of that week I won the $50 football pot at work, which I’d never done before. The whole month seemed like a change from what had been really bad things happening to positive things. The motorcycle was just like the icing on the cake. It was like something that happens on TV to someone else. The bike is beautiful!

CC: What happened after you won?

Gail: The radio station did an interview with Taylor and I. Then we went into the dealership and took care of the paperwork. They delivered the bike that afternoon. That night Taylor and I sat out on the garage, me on the V-Rod and her on the Custom, and we just looked at each other and I told her, “Your pa-pa would be so proud of us.”

CC: I have a mental picture of you and Taylor riding along side by side a few years from now.

Gail: I can see that too. There has always been a bike in our family, and bikes will always be a part of our lives.

CC: Have you taken the V-Rod for a ride yet?

Gail: No. I’ve just pulled it into the garage. I got it out that Sunday after, and my parents and daughter came by so we got to show it off. We took lots of pictures. Then I put it back in the garage. I have a little trouble reaching the pegs--it’s a little long. There’s a seat that moves the rider forward, and I need to get one of those. The dealership will lower it for me if I need that done. I plan to store it for the winter. Next spring, I’m going to retake the riding class. I’ve actually only been riding myself for three years. I rode on the back for 18 years. I’ve only put about 300 miles on the Sportster by myself. It’s amazing how much different it is to go from riding on the back to riding your own bike. I remember the Sunday I got my license, at the end of the class I got on the Sportster and just took off. It was so unbelievable! My bike was in the midst of the divorce battle, and I was without it for almost 20 months. In the settlement, I agreed to pay it off and have done so. I have not ridden with a group of people, and I want to do that next spring. I know a few people at work who ride, and I have joined the H.O.G. Chapter.

CC: That’s a great way to meet riding pals.

Gail: I’ll need to take the class again first to rebuild my confidence. I can’t wait!

CC: Have you heard from the IRS yet?

Gail: No I haven’t. I will still need to take care of the taxes. No matter how much the bill is, I’ll figure out a way to get it paid. This is just a dream come true. I think I first saw a V-Rod at a car show when they first came out. I just couldn’t believe how pretty it was.

CC: Yours is a little more colorful than those from the first year.

Gail: It’s black cherry pearl.

CC: Have you ever been to an open house at the Harley factory?

Gail: No. Since I’ve won I’ve had people tell me I should do that and see the TV documentary about how the V-Rod was developed.

CC: Taylor, you’ve been really patient while your grandma and I talked. What did you think was the best part of that big day?

Taylor: Going to the bookstore.

Gail: That’s what she told me that day. I was pleased that she put family values ahead of possessions.

CC: What books do you like, Taylor?

Taylor: Books about babies. I like Kevin Hankes.

Gail: He’s an author and illustrator of children’s books. We bought five of his books that day. One was “Wemberly Worried.” Taylor and I are both worry warts. The book is about a little mouse that worries too much. We bought the book to read to each other. She’ll be reading them all herself by the end of the year. Taylor, are you going to be a motorcycle rider when you get bigger?

Taylor: Maybe.

Gail: I’m sure she will.

CC: Me too.

When I contacted Lori Worth Smith after the ride, she said, “The annual MDA ride is making a comeback as this was the largest ride we’ve had in over two years. It was an exciting and fun-filled day for everyone involved and we hope to make it even better next year and double our earnings for MDA.” Next year’s ride is scheduled for Saturday, September 24. Y’all come!

Story and photos by Stripe