Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

12th Annual 9-11 Tribute Rally and Ride - Grandview, Missouri

Written by  November 1, 2013

On September 7, thousands of motorcyclists gathered at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview-Missouri to honor the memory of the 9-11 victims and to show appreciation for veterans, those currently in military service, and people who work in law enforcement and emergency services. The day began with free biscuits & gravy. There were activities for the children and various displays to see including first responder vehicles, antique military vehicles, police cars and motorcycles, General Tommy Franks Traveling Museum, and dozens of vendor booths.

Volunteers from Operation Wildlife (OWL) were in the H.O.G. Room with several rescued birds including owls, a vulture, and a bald eagle. The organization provides rehab services for injured and orphaned wild animals and wildlife education for the citizens of northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri, an area of 4,500 square miles. They receive thousands of wild animals each year, and the release rate averages 69% from year to year compared to the national average of 49%. OWL welcomes volunteers and monetary donations. Their 4,000 square foot facility is located at 23375 Guthrie Road, Linwood, Kansas 66052. More information is available on the OWL website and they can be contacted by at 785-542-3625 or OpWildLife@ AOL.COM.

There was a ride-in bike show. The award winners were the following: Harley Class - 1st - Joel Powell - 2007 Softail Trike, 2nd - Mike Boles - 2011 Streetglide. Non- Harley- 1st - James Taylor - 1940 BMW, 2nd - Mark Kozak - 1971 Honda with sidecar. For those whose bikes needed some cleaning, a bikini bike wash crew was on hand. Ride T-shirts were sold with the proceeds going to the V.F.W. There was a booth where people could pre-register for the Bikers for Babies RIDE. Teacher’z Pet and the Jeremy Nichols Band provided musical entertainment at Gail’s.

Just after 2:00 p.m. all eyes were on the sky above Gail’s as a military Boeing CH-47 Chinook made several passes overhead. Shortly afterward, three jumpers from Skydive Kansas City arrived in spectacular fashion, parachuting into the grassy field north of Gail’s. Suspended beneath John Hall was a beautiful 600 square-foot American flag.

Marine Staff Sergeant Daniel Gileat and Army Staff Sergeant James Wilson, both of whom were severely wounded while serving America in Iraq, were recognized. Gail introduced Paul Chapa who is involved in the production of an upcoming reality television series called Redeployed about a team of war heroes, including Danny and James, scouring the U.S. seeking out young veterans from the rural Bayous to the streets of New York to help them turn their lives around. During the annual flag retirement ceremony, the huge American flag proudly flown at Gail’s Harley-Davidson was respectfully lowered by a color guard from Whiteman Air Force Base and presented to the two heroes.

Following the ceremony, riders headed to the staging area behind the dealership and saddled up for the ride. This year, there was a new route and destination. Southbound Interstate 49/US 71 was temporarily closed for the police escorted 20-mile ride from Grandview to Harrisonville. Along with the motorcycles, a pair of antique military trucks and a retired Thiells, New York, fire truck headed south. Along the route, spectators cheered and waved flags from every overpass. Ample parking was available for the participants when they arrived at the Mill Walk Mall where they were hosted by Diamond Ray’s owned by Diamond and Tina Coffey. The city of Harrisonville enthusiastically welcomed the riders. Large tents had been set up to provide welcome shade during the closing ceremony and the concert by the Bryant Carter Band.

Thanks to Gail’s Harley-Davidson and Diamond Ray’s for hosting the rally, to the law enforcement agencies that provided escort service under the leadership of Rusty James, and to members of the American Heartland H.O.G. Chapter who assisted with bike staging, parking, registration, and more. Most of all, thanks to the military, police, and emergency services personnel who stand ready day in and day out to risk all in the service of their country and the American public, always working to preserve our freedom, safety, and well-being. On that terrible day 12 years ago, American citizens united in the pledge that we would never forgot those tragic events. It is imperative that we honor that promise, and we must always be vigilant and prepared to oppose every foe in order to preserve and protect our way of life for future generations of Americans.


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