Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Snake Saturday Parade a.k.a. Float Building 101

Written by  March 31, 2004

Participating in this year’s Snake Saturday Parade was a blast, even though Mother Nature kept spitting on us from time to time and sending some cool wind our way. Even with the threatening weather, we had a total of 18 riders, and another 14 people riding on the float and walking along side to pass out candy and beads.

For the past several years, we’ve ridden our bikes to the Snake Saturday Parade in North Kansas City, Missouri to hang out with friends and watch the parade. However, in October of 2003, shortly after publishing the first issue of our magazine, we had the idea of building a float for this year’s parade and gathering our Cycle Connections members to ride in the parade with us.

The theme for this year’s parade was “An Irish Birthday Celebration” in observance of the parade’s 20th birthday. I have a green Chevy Tahoe, so I figured if we could find a trailer to decorate, we could simply pull it with my Tahoe. Carl Busse, one of our Marketing Specialists, offered his 18’ flatbed trailer, so we now had the basic components for our float.

On Sunday, February, 8, we gathered the Cycle Connections team together at our office for a brainstorming session (a scary thought). We decided that to stay with the birthday celebration theme, we would build a big birthday cake with a candle on top and attach it to the luggage rack of the Tahoe. Because it is the “Snake” Parade, we decided to elevate a green Harley-Davidson Super Glide in the air, put leprechaun, Steve Eckerd on the bike, and build a big snake to wrap around Steve and the bike with the snake’s head in the air, as if it was ready to blow out the candle. Sounds simple enough, don’t you think? Yeah right!

We added a sound system, lots of green metallic fringe, a few shamrocks, and put green outdoor turf on the floor of the trailer along with a few hay bales for seating. We then placed our Cycle Connections banners on each side of the float and we were good to go! We then sent out invitations in our February and March newsletters, inviting all Cycle Connections members to ride with us in the parade.

The weekend prior to the parade, we drove to the nice grassy area where we had the trailer stored, and realized it had been transformed into a swamp by the three inches of rain we’d received earlier that week. It took about an hour for the Tahoe to pull the trailer out of the mud, and another hour and $10 in quarters at the local car wash to remove all the mud.

After that ordeal, we gathered our float building volunteers and constructed the majority of the float. We built the platform to elevate the bike in the air, secured it to the trailer, added a wheel chock, so all we had to do was get a 650 pound Harley up onto it. For the 50’ snake skeleton, we connected two 25’ pieces of 14” flexible ductwork. I gave Joy, our official snakeskin seamstress the huge roll of green felt material I had purchased, and the snake was almost ready to come alive. We kicked around ideas for the snake head, and Joy assured us this would be no problem. Things were actually coming together.

The day before the parade, I pulled the float down to F.O.G. Cycles in Kansas City, Missouri, where owner, Frank Hicks let us to store our float overnight so we would be close to the parade staging area the next morning. We gathered our float building crew together once again to finish the float construction and locked the float inside Frank’s building.

On Saturday morning, March 13, we awoke to overcast skies and a nice cool breeze. I hopped on my bike and Dave Miller, our Tech Tips writer and official float driver, followed me down to F.O.G. Cycles in my Tahoe. On the way to pick up the float, it started raining and I started cursing. We hooked up the float and pulled it to the parade staging area where we met our fellow parade participants. We spent a few hours hanging out and chatting with several of our readers and fellow Cycle Connections members, until it was our turn to pull out into the street and make our way though the parade route. It was a lot of fun revving up our engines to the crowds encouragement.

Unfortunately, there were no prizes awarded for commercial/business parade entries this year, however, we are sure that our float ranked pretty high in the eyes of the judges. After the parade, we rode to Knucklehead’s Saloon at F.O.G. Cycles to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the old fashioned way!

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who braved the elements to ride with us in the parade and would like to give special recognition to the following individuals who made this possible:

Frank Hicks – Float storage at F.O.G. Cycles & after
Merle & Son – Trailer storage & mudpuppies
Carl Busse – Trailer, beer drinker & float builder
Patty Hart – Candy buyer & float participant recruiter
Dave Miller – Float driver & float material contributor/builder
Miles Adcock – Snake material buyer/float builder & bike contributor
Jordon Adcock – Snake builder & float builder
Taylor Adcock – Snake builder
Joy Creager – Snakeskin seamstress, snake head & body builder
John Diaz – Float builder & comedian
Carol Diaz – Float builder, snake head builder, & food caterer
Margaret Liggett – Float builder & float planner
Dave “Stripe” Baxter – Float builder, cell phone talker & photographer
Terry Arnold – Float builder & beer drinker
Goldie Arnold – Float builder & F.O.G. Cycles storage coordinator
Greg Bartley – Float material buyer & float builder
Steve Weller – Sound system, DJ & generator saviour
Scott Eckerd – Leprechaun
Gina Peek – Banner delivery

Story by Mike Schweder
Photos by Stripe

NOTE: Place your cursor over each photo for details!