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Downtown Kansas City Throws A Biker Bash!

Written by  September 28, 2003

Thunder in the Heartland is what they called it, and that’s exactly what was heard in downtown Kansas City as thousands of bikers converged on Union Station and the Liberty Memorial. Kansas City was chosen as one of the rendezvous points for riders on the southwest leg of the “Ride Home” tour. Riders had left Oklahoma City on Sunday morning, August 24th, and arrived throughout the day to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Harley-Davidson, Kansas City style.

Main Street was blocked off from 20th to 27th and was turned into one giant lot for motorcycle parking. As we walked up and down the street, we saw several out of state tags, including California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. There were even bikes from Canada and Australia. I didn’t know you could ride here from Australia? As we walked back toward Union Station, we decided to walk through the glass-enclosed link over Main Street, which was an excellent vantage point to get a feel for just how many bikes were actually here.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau of Kansas City and Worth Harley-Davidson North planned the daylong event, which was free to the public. Temperatures soared to over 100 degrees, but that didn’t prevent motorcycle daredevil, Bubba Blackwell, from doing burnouts and other daring stunts for two action-packed shows. One of the most popular places to get out of the heat was inside Union Station. Although there was plenty of food available outside, there were long lines of hot, hungry bikers inside at the food court, and I was one of them. While inside, we met H.O.G. members from Houston and Dallas who were having a great time despite the Texas-like heat, which we’re sure they must have brought with them.

After lunch, we went through the traveling exhibit; The Open Road: A Celebration of Motorcycling, where local collectors displayed more than 50 vintage and modern motorcycles. We decided to go back outside to hear Charlie Daniels perform one of his hit songs, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which was appropriate, since it was hotter than hell!

On Monday, August 25th, more than 20,000 riders were expected, including Willie G. Davidson, to arrive at Worth Harley-Davidson North for the dealer party. Rick Worth and volunteers from the Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter were organizing rides to leave every 30 minutes for tours of our local Harley-Davidson plant.

As the event began to wind down, we knew the party was far from over, because on Wednesday, August 27th we’d be leaving for our own ride to Milwaukee.

Story By Margaret Liggett