Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Bill’s Bash – Fall 2005

Written by  October 31, 2005

Is it a bike show? Hmmm, well, maybe. Is it a picnic? Yep, and there’s plenty of food. Is it fun? Without a doubt! And, it’s free and happens twice a year.

Once in the fall and then again in the spring, local motorcycle and motor scooter enthusiasts enjoy coming together, eating some food, and talking and riding motorcycles at the annual Bill Brown’s Bash. This fall, it was October 8. Brown is the motorcycle maintenance instructor at Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas, and hosts the event at his home in Lenexa, Kansas. It is a family affair. His wife Joyce, his brothers, and his grandchildren all ride motorcycles, and they enjoy watching people ride and bring their motorcycles and scooters to the event. And Bill enjoys bringing out some of his many motorcycles and scooters to show on “Scooter Lane,” which is the sign on the front of his motorcycle garage. It’s where he houses most of his more than 30 motorcycles and scooters. They range from small mini bikes to large Hondas and BMWs. He even owns a Harley-Davidson — Harley-Davidson Topper scooter, that is.

Bill considers himself lucky to be riding motorcycles today. Nearly 20 years ago, he was driving north on Highway 69 at night. It was two lanes at the time. Coming to the top of a hill near Louisburg, he saw oncoming car lights drifting into his lane. He kept turning to the right trying to avoid a collision. But the oncoming lights kept coming directly at him and they hit head on. He was conscious as he waited for emergency personnel to arrive and then cut him free from his car. His back was severely injured. 'Doctors told me they didn't know how I survived,' Bill recalls. 'Then they told me I would never walk again, and that I probably would be a quadriplegic.' Pausing and reflecting on those words, he tenses his mouth tight to one side, raises one eyebrow and then gives a nod with his head.
'I knew that wasn't going to happen,' he said. 'My hands were my life, because I used them to work as a mechanic, and to build things. And I knew that I was going to have to walk again. The thought of not being able to ride a motorcycle again, well . . .' Bill overcame long, extensive, and painful rehabilitation. Although he now walks with a noticeable limp, he’s able to continue what he loves—working and riding on motorcycles.

Bill’s Bash began several years ago when, after class, several students happened to follow Bill home to look at his motorcycle collection. The next year, a few more people showed up, and it’s been growing ever since. “It’s nice to have people come over who enjoy talking about motorcycles, and who enjoy riding motorcycles,” Bill said. “I don’t know why I have so many motorcycles and scooters. You can only ride one at a time.
“But each one is different and fun in a different way.” There’s a wide-open space of land behind Bill’s house where riders of all ages ride various sizes of motorcycles and scooters through the yard. And ride, they do. “It’s just fun to be able to come and ride things you might otherwise never get a chance to ride,” said JCCC student Daniel Winters. “They’re all fun to ride.” And as long as people have fun, Bill’s Bash will continue to grow.

Story and photos by Chuck Kurtz