Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

9-11 Memorial Ride - Gail's Harley-Davidson

Written by  September 30, 2005

We have not forgotten. We will never forget! A public memorial ride such as the one that originated in Grandview, Missouri, at
Gail’s Harley-Davidson
on September 10, 2005, gives bikers the opportunity to ride as a group to demonstrate our unity. We are unified in remembering our fallen heroes, in caring about their loved ones, in opposing the evil forces behind the 9-11-2001 attacks, and in supporting those who protect and serve us every day—the police officers, emergency services personnel, and members of the military.

The ride was preceded by a rally at Gail’s. About a dozen vendors had displays set up in the parking lot. Live music was provided by the Ice Cold Band and Swift Kik. Food was available from Affordable Elegance. Children’s attractions included magic and a moon walk as well as sparkle tattoo and balloon artists. Some really cool rides were entered in the bike show, and a number of nice street rods were on display as well. Radio stations with remote broadcasts originating during the day at Gail’s were 910 Sports, 98.1 KUDL, and 99.7 KY.

Members of the Missouri Army National Guard were on hand to conduct special ceremonies retiring the dealership’s old American flag and replacing it with a new one. Two members of the unit later rode Harleys in the parade.

At 1:45, there was a terrific Harley stunt show in the lot behind the dealership. Jeff Schneider and Aaron Cline did wheelies, stoppies, burnouts, and other crazy stunts aboard Buell and Harley-Davidson motorcycles including a chopper! A large crowd applauded the riders as they demonstrated their skill as well as the power and agility of their bikes.

As they registered for the ride, bikers were encouraged to contribute to the American Red Cross fund to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Those who know Gail are well aware of her great compassion for those in need. She demonstrated that quality by generously donating 10% of all sales at the store that day, including motorcycle sales, mostly to the Red Cross with some funds going to Heart to Heart and Children’s Mercy Hospital who are providing local assistance to hurricane refugees. The donation was nearly $20,000.

Staging for the Fourth Annual 9-11 Memorial Ride began at 3:30. The ride had originally been scheduled to take place on Sunday, but a number of circumstances (including the schedule conflict with the Kansas City Chiefs home opener) factored into the decision to change the date. Prior to departure, Rusty James of the Lenexa Police Department conducted a meeting informing the riders that the speed on the route would be 10-15 m.p.h. and requesting that everyone maintain a staggered formation. Next, the group was led in a short prayer by Chris Launer, pastor of the Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Three National Guard helicopters flew over in formation, and it was time to ride.

First in line as the parade departed were many Kansas City metro area police officers. They were followed by a New York City fire truck. Next were the two Harley-mounted guardsmen just ahead of Gail Worth and Gale Holsman. A pack of about 1,200 motorcycles of all makes and sizes followed, with members of the American Heartland Chapter of Harley Owners Group bringing up the rear with the last bike rolling out about 40 minutes after the ride began.

The police officers did an excellent job of escorting the riders from Gail’s to Fuel American Made Bar and Grill in the Rosanna Square Shopping Center in Overland Park, Kansas. There, the riders were treated to a song sung by 10-year-old Olivia, one of the many children who were evacuated from Louisiana to Kansas City as a result of the hurricane.

I asked Gail who should receive special recognition in this article. Here response was, “Top on the list is Rusty James of the Lenexa Police Department for organizing the parade. The American Heartland H.O.G. Chapter volunteers should be recognized for their endless efforts at helping us with this and all events. Nothing we do would be possible without the Chapter. Special thanks go to Lori Smith, Dee Austin, April Meisberger and the rest of the amazing team at Gail’s Harley-Davidson. We appreciate Slacker and Moffit of 99.7 KY, Fritz of 98.9 the Rock, and Mark, Jenny, and Daumer of 101 the Fox for publicizing the ride on their radio shows.

When I asked for her overall impression of the event, she replied, “It was amazing. There were a lot of events happening in Kansas City that day, and all those people chose to join us in our tribute to the heroes of our country! That was very moving. To the riders of Kansas City, I really want to say “GO YOU! You are truly incredible. Thank you for all you do!”

Story and photos by Stripe