Story & Photos by Diana Olmstead
On Sunday, June 24th, an estimated 400 riders from all across the Puget Sound region hopped on their bikes to participate in Children’s Ride 17. This annual event benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital and their Uncompensated Care Program. The program helps thousands of local families pay for medical bills directly associated with treating a sick or injured child at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Riders had the option of meeting up at Downtown H-D, Destination H-D or Eastside H-D for a group ride to the Enumclaw Expo Center; or riders could ride solo via their own personalized route to Enumclaw. Since I live on the Kitsap Peninsula, I had opted to take my own route. As I backed my bike out of the garage the sky above was looking cloudy and dark. With leathers on and zipped up tight I was prepared to hit some rain somewhere along my chosen route. As luck would have it, I didn’t hit a drop! As a matter of fact it was downright beautiful when I arrived in Enumclaw.
Around 10am the rest of the bikes began to roll into the fairgrounds parking lot. Some of the riders were not as lucky as I had been and they had hit a few rain squalls along the way. Many of the riders commented that they were quite happy to see the sun shining upon their arrival, and they couldn’t wait to kick back, warm up and have some fun!
The riders I spoke with said that the registration process at the gate went smoothly, and the volunteers who handled this task did a fantastic job passing out the Children’s Ride 17 pins, patches, lunch tickets, etc.
The first thing riders noticed when they entered through the gate was the row of vintage bikes on display along one side of the sidewalk, and on the other side all of the bikes that had entered the bike show. I think everyone took a moment to check out and appreciate all of the bikes, especially models from years gone by.
Off to the right in one of the fairground buildings, a great array of silent auction items were up for bid. These items included beautiful handcrafted children’s toys, bottles of wine, motorcycle apparel, unique gift baskets and many other interesting items. Just outside of the auction building a handful of show-stopping classic race cars were attracting a ton of attention from riders of all ages.
This year the layout in the grassy area had been redesigned, which gave the Children Ride 17 party a jovial, welcoming, biker-friendly vibe. The stage was placed closer to the seating area and beer garden. The vendor area made for a nice border and allowed the attendees to shop while not missing anything happening on the stage.
Local radio DJ, rock singer, Harley rider and Children’s Ride supporter, Spike O’Neill, was the emcee of the day- long party. To kick off the festivities, Spike introduced the Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Stunt & Drill Team. The Cossacks’ performance was very different from any other performance I have ever seen. The Cossacks had four teenage apprentices (the sons of some of the seasoned team members) perform with them. It was very cool to see those young men perform publicly and to see their pride in carrying on the Seattle Cossacks’ legacy.
Around 11:30 the aroma of barbecue led hungry riders to the lunch area. All Children’s Ride 17 riders received a complimentary lunch of mouthwatering pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued chicken, coleslaw, cookies and a beverage. With plates full of food, riders kicked back at the picnic tables that dotted the grassy area directly in front of the stage as well as in the beer garden.
The band Magic Bus was on stage taking all of us on a musical trip back to the 60’s and 70’s! Not only are the band members all phenomenal musicians but they totally get into the whole groovy 60’s era! Their show included two go-go dancers dancing in cages on either side of the stage, and the band was dressed in hippie clothing such as faded bell-bottom jeans, go-go boots, tie-dyed and peace-sign shirts.
After the band had gotten the crowd all worked up, it was time for the Harley-Davidson Motorclothes fashion show to begin! Both men and women strutted and danced down the catwalk wearing the newest and hottest H-D apparel. This was really a riot to watch as we saw the volunteer models channel their “inner supermodel”! A special thanks to Cathy Bacon of DHD who flawlessly organized the fashion show,and to all of the models who participated.
Soon after the fashion show ended, Magic Bus returned to the stage to play another set with a couple of guest musicians joining them. Rick Baldwin, the founding father of the Children’s Ride, jumped behind the drum set and rocked out with the band for a few songs, and Spike O’Neill also belted out a few tunes.
The band took a break and Spike thanked the sponsors, including Zacky’s Custom Rods crew, Downtown H-D and Destination H-D, for supporting this worthy charity event year after year. For this year’s Children’s Ride 17, Zacky’s donated a custom paint job for the winning bidder of the 2012 H-D Street Glide that had been donated by Downtown H-D and Destination H-D. The H-D Street Glide had been auctioned off the night before at the Children’s Ride Summer Evening Auction held at Downtown H-D in Renton. The Evening Auction had a hosted beer-and-wine bar, a dinner buffet, professional pool demonstration and a silent-and-live auction.
Children’s Ride 17 came to a close with Spike O’Neill announcing the bike show winners. Each winner was presented with a unique custom trophy made by Bob Hagel. The band then played their final set of the day.
After the event I asked Wendy Funicello and Riley Atkins of the Imagine Guild if there was anything they’d like to share with our readers. This was Wendy’s reply: “We love our sponsors and owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of them: Buyken Metal Products, John L. Scott Foundation, Destination H-D, Downtown H-D, Zacky’s Custom Rods, Sun and Surf Motorcycle Charity Run, Mayfair Games, United Parcel Service, Emerald City H-D and Eastside H-D.”
Riley Atkins, Imagine Guild President, had this to say: “We held Children’s Ride 17 under threatening skies, but in the end it was a wonderful day and our seventeenth ride was a resounding success. Our preliminary estimate is over $125,000 in gross proceeds from sponsors, auction sales, ride registrations, Golden Spoke, and donations. Thank you to everyone who participated, helped, volunteered, or just provided moral support. Without each and every one of you, we could not make the difference we are making for families and patients served by Children’s Hospital. At the end of the day, that is why we are all involved.”
For those who did not attend due to the early morning clouds, we hope to see you all next year! The weather in Enumclaw was great and you missed out on an awesome Children’s Ride 17 event.
We cannot stress enough how important the Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Uncompensated Care Program is. One day it could be your family member or a friend who may need assistance from this program, because their child is at Children’s Hospital receiving some of the best care in our nation.
Please save the date for next year’s Children’s Ride 18 – it is set for June 29th & 30th. Destination H-D will host the auction on Saturday night, and the ride and party will continue at the Enumclaw Expo Center. Check our website www.childrens-ride.com and Facebook www.facebook.com/childrensride for updates!