BY LINDA DAHL
Some of you may be asking why we are still covering Arizona Bike Week. Well, to answer your question, when you throw an 11-day party it’s hard to put it all in one issue. The thing about Arizona Bike Week is that there is something for everyone! If you are looking for a party, if you prefer to go on long rides with a lot of curves and beautiful Arizona weather, or if vendor village is your happiness, then this 11-day party is for you.
It all started on Thursday March 27th with the crowning of Sarah Clark as Miss Arizona Bike Week. She was a shoe in if you ask me. Beautiful, modest and sweet. To find out more about her check out last month’s issue of Quick Throttle Magazine. The next day Hacienda Harley-Davidson kicked it off with the 11th Annual Hacienda Kickstart Party. Jack Ripper performed, they offered a brand new VIP area, there were dozens of vendors and of all things, cage fighting.
I had never seen cage fighting before, but when the first guy had his dislocated shoulder sticking several inches in front of his chest, I cringed and wanted more. Morbid I know, but entertaining nonetheless.
The first ride of Arizona Bike Week was also hosted by Hacienda Harley Davidson. This event let us all know we were about to embark on many days of awesome rides and biker food! The ride was the Coulter Foundation Cannonball Run. Very different from the ordinary poker run. If you didn’t make it this year, made sure you check it out next year. It was fun and filled with surprises all the way to the end. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – anything hosted by Rick and Julie Hatch is a true can’t-miss event!
The first weekend also offered the AHDRA Races. While I was unable to attend, I heard there was some fun stuff going on. The past few years the event has been held at Firebird Raceway, but this year they returned to SpeedWorld. SpeedWorld has made some major improvements to their facilities over the past few years to include a sports bar and some new track conditions. I sent my friends Jamie and Chi Chi to check this one out and since they are into Nascar, I figured they would get a kick out of this. Which they did! Chi Chi even got to push the start button on the line. He said that was a little slice of heaven. The racers said the wind offered a challenge they don’t usually experience and from time to time even scared the best of them. (Welcome to the desert) Thankfully, there were no incidents and all the racers had a great time. So now that the first weekend has passed, the big stuff starts. (I know – like that wasn’t enough!)
The Sunshine Acres Poker Run was on Monday out of Chandler Harley Davidson. I have to tell you, this is a special cause. The proceeds for this event benefit The Sunshine Acres whose mission is to provide a loving, wholesome, Christian home for children who are separated from their parents, and to help them establish long-term relationships with stable parental figures. It doesn’t just sound good in the press release, it really is a great cause!
Tuesday should have been a day to recoup. After all, I had been on the run and gun for 5 days straight now. But that was not in the cards for me. You see, my cleaning lady called me the day before and said her son broke his leg and she would not be able to come and clean my house before my out of town guests arrived for ABW! WOW. So, now I have to scrub the house, go to Westworld to set up our banners and magazine racks, run errands and entertain dinner guests that night. (oh wait – this is personal and not ABW stuff ) Just needed to vent here.
If you have not been on the Buddy Stubbs Wednesday ride for the Children, you have really missed one of the best rides of the week. This is the ride that takes you through the Yarnell Mountains and the Mingus Mountains. If you are from the area, you know the route. If not, you need to make it a point to know the route! Last year we got snowed on. This year we were blessed with just about the best riding conditions known to bikers.
Thursday had to have been the best day of all. Not because the ride was especially scenic but other things were. This was the day the guys (and many girls) got to see the best of the best in the feminine form. It was the day for the TBar Trail Ride. I sure hope you all know what a T-Bar is. Brett Michaels led this ride (well, followed). Yes – the same Brett Michaels from the band Poison and from the MTV show “Rock of Love.” OK – Let’s get the white elephant off the table – yes, Brett Michaels signed my boob! OK, now we can move on to the important stuff. This event was to promote Breast cancer awareness. So going to bars and looking at boobies was appropriate. I know CD was not gawking at the boobies, he was inspecting for breast cancer! He was sincerely concerned about the ladies! Just ask him. Then Brett performed that night at Westworld in a way to keep the crowd on their toes. He was awesome. Don’t let his persona from the show fool you – this is a really great guy. He did a meet and greet with some fans that included my 18 year old daughter and she said he was nothing less than a perfect gentlemen. OK ladies, if you didn’t want him before – I know you want him now!!!!
Friday was pretty damn cool as well. We went to Superstition Harley Davidson for their Fire Fighters Poker run. The route was amazing. It changed just a little from last year and I think for the better. We met up with lots of friends at that event and most of the Southwest Quick Throttle staff made it there. It was a great time had by all and the best part is that it benefited the charities of the United Mesa Fire Fighters. Special thanks to Mike Castillo for making us at Quick Throttle feel so welcome.
We all met up at Westworld that evening. Quick Throttle and PoweroftheV.com teamed up to throw a customer and friend appreciation party (The Mixer as it was called). The BBQ sandwiches were awesome and the company was better!!! We invited all of you to stop by a lot of you showed. Thanks for that. Then we all headed to the tent where Kansas rocked the house. AGAIN – WOW. I remember Kansas sounding exactly the same when I was in High School. Oh dear God. Am I that old??? They were awesome. I have to admit, they were my favorite band of the event. I don’t know if it was because they sounded phenomenal or if it was because I was having juvenile flash backs. It doesn’t matter. Ralphie – Bring ‘em back next year.
So now that you are totally exhausted living vicariously through me, we have 2 more days of Arizona Bike Week.
Saturday was the Chester’s Harley Davidson Torch Ride. This 50 mile escorted ride through God’s country was really incredible. We were fortunate enough to be in the front of the pack. I am working on getting the helicopters footage of the ride to put on our web site. When that happens, I will let you know so you can see it. I really love escorted rides. I love blowing through those red lights. I have to tell you when I looked up and saw that red light, my heart skipped a beat and I felt like a felon! It was cool! The ride took us just over an hour. We went the back way through Fountain Hills, and North Scottsdale. We were back at Westworld shortly after noon. Which offered Lori and I a chance to see all the vendors. There were tons of them! They all said this venue was the best of the best. The set up of the campgrounds, the way the foot traffic flowed, the business they did, it was all good!!
Lori and I headed back to my house for a good shower and gussying up before the Saturday night concert which was Grand Funk Railroad. We came back in a cage which was fine with me at this point. I must admit, GFR are a few years before my time. Yet, it was so packed in the tent that I chose to go back to the toy hauler and sit outside and take in the stars and the sounds of the crowd.
Once again, it doesn’t matter what you like to do, you can have a good time at Arizona Bike Week. Even sitting in the campground, listening to the band and the crowd scream in the background was such a nice time.
I just spoke to Ralph of Arizona Bike Week and he informed me that while there are conflicting reports on numbers (because it depends on who did the counting) the total sanctioned event participation was up at least 20% while money raised for Arizona Bike Week Charities was up over 30% from last year. Meanwhile, the bar was up only 10%. Maybe that has to do with the fact that Arizona now has one of the toughest DUI laws in the nation. Who knows??
The weather during the whole event was perfect. Actually that last sentence was an understatement: the weather was unbelievable, the routes were stupendous, the beer was cold, the company was outstanding, the crowd was so well behaved and the week (and a half ) was astonishing.
If you have never participated in Arizona Bike Week, you have missed a very important time in your biker life. I highly recommend this event over any other event that I have ever attended.