Looking for a charity event that is beyond the typical poker run? Looking for a ride that is truly about “the ride”? Well, have I got just the ticket for you! Every spring, the Columbia River Harley Owners Group based out of Legend Harley-Davidson inWenatchee, puts on the charity fundraiser “Run for the Border”. Each year a different charity is chosen as the recipient of the generosity of local riders. For a better idea of just how ambitious this HOG chapter is, since beginning this run nine years ago, over 2,500 bikes have joined in and over $160,000 has been raised for local charities! This May, Give Naked was the benefactor with just over $5,100 raised and an attendance over almost 250 motorcycles!
Give Naked is an organization whose members are those who donate. They operate under the umbrella of and are in partnership with Chelan Valley Hope, a non-profit organization. Give Naked works to fill the urgent needs of individuals or families through contributions made by those in the community. Local organizations like Chelan Valley Hope identify and qualify a need, then Give Naked takes that need to task and attempts to fulfill it by asking for “micro-donations”, where many people giving a little, can be turned into something great for others. You can learn more at GiveNaked.org.
Those attending this benefit ride were greeted by a highly efficient drive-through registration process, and then ushered to a parking location by the chapter’s road captains. Once off their bikes, ride goers could grab an espresso or perhaps a morning pastry, and check out the various raffle items and t-shirts by the Ladies of Harley and Give Naked. Music filled the air courtesy a live onsite feed from a local radio station. Joining the ride was Michael Dickerson, GM of Legend H-D ofWenatchee, on a gorgeous brand new Fatboy.
Prior to the ride beginning, Chapter Director Larry Pearson, high atop an elevated scissor lift, called the entire group together for a short, but informative safety briefing and a ride blessing prayer. Then it was off to the bikes and time to fire them up for staging!
The ride is a 150 mile-long, led ride following U.S. Route 97 fromWenatchee, northwards along the beautifulColumbia River, through lush valley farmlands and orchards, towards the Washington-Canada border town ofOroville.
A midway stop was planned at the resort town ofPateros, where the bikes overflowed along the riverfront streets. Riders were able to stretch their legs and take a short break, whether for fuel, food, or a needed restroom visit. Many continued the camaraderie from earlier in the morning walking up and down the long rows of motorcycles looking for friends.
The ride ended in Oroville with everyone grabbing a bite of lunch in some of the many cafes and restaurants while others opted to stroll the once quiet streets, now alive with the rumble of bikes. Many riders I encountered had overnight bags on their bikes, and were off to do some additional area riding either inWashingtonor crossing the border intoCanada. Others chose to ride the 150 miles back toWenatcheethat afternoon, often in small groups.
What’s most impressive about this ride is the extent of coordination by the Columbia River HOG chapter. It was great to see such support from local county sheriffs and Washington State Patrol officers who aided the ride by blocking intersections through the numerous towns and highway interchanges, allowing the ride to progress unhindered.
The bikers on this ride were some of the friendliest people I’ve met while on the road covering events. Smiles and laughter constantly filled the air, and there was never a hesitation between strangers to say hello and exchange pleasantries.Wenatchee’s warmth was abundant in the faces of those I met. I came away having made many new friends.
Next year is the tenth anniversary of this event and I encourage everyone to make an attempt to attend and to make it a record-breaker for these fine people and the charities they so tirelessly try to help. I’ll be there!