Florence Prison Run


I attended and rode the 24th Florence Prison Run and what an awesome ride and turn out of supporters it was! Knowing about and participating in the Big 25 was a must. I contacted a few people I know wanting to learn more about the history of this event and this is what I received from Maxx:

“They talk about rehabilitation. They call it a “justice” system. But in reality this place is designed to destroy a man. The system has been designed to break, not to better a person. A man’s most valuable possession is his freedom. In this place they take that away. Your freedom of choice is gone. Freedom of movement is nonexistent. What one eats, wears, and where and when one moves is dictated. The only place where freedom holds fast is in the strong man’s mind. In that mind one can briefly escape the Big House and temporarily be transported back to a time when, surrounded by Brothers, one was on top of the world. In quiet moments, as brief as they can be, the mind conjures up the feeling of the sun on the back, the wind in the face, and the roar of that V-Twin as it exploded into action, ready for the next adventure, the next mile, the next good f’in time.

But reality is quick to rear its ugly head. They have taken all of that away.

For the last 24 years the Florence Prison Run has been a show of support by the Brothers still on the outside for all of the Brothers who are unfortunately under the care of the state on the inside. The run was started in 1983. At first it was a destination run, everyone met in Florence. For a time, the run was a 2-day camp out and party. The inspiration for the run was the incarceration of a brother. Running the prison was a way for the locked up Brother to feel and hear the presence outside and know, without a doubt, that he was remembered. In this spirit the run has continued to evolve and grow into what it is today. Now hosted by the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club of Arizona, the event starts at several different meeting points around the state where packs of riders meet up and ride down with the different Hell’s Angels charters. We still show our love for our brothers by remembering them. We show them that they are still a part of something much bigger than themselves. Although details have changed the spirit of remembrance and support remains the same.”

I arrived at one of the starting points for the Big 25, Famous Sam’s In Tucson. Of course, my daughter rode along to get a lot of great pictures of the event (this was her first prison run). It was different than last year. As I said in the 24thPrison Run write up, there were Cops everywhere. This year they must have been hiding, because they were not to be seen. We got our pin and enjoyed the outstanding breakfast that was provided. The riders were showing up in bunches and the parking lot was filling up fast on that wonderful clear sunny day. After breakfast, we got together for the group shot which I took while we were in full force and full roar. I was told later that the roar of the pipes could be heard for miles. Then, we were off!

We entered the freeway heading north. The freeway was blocked for us (a very good thing). The line of bikes seemed to go on forever. This was great for quite a few miles but as many bikes as we were and as the miles counted down to our destination, cars and trucks tried to join our pack. At some points during our ride, they caused a fairly large state of panic. Thankfully, we all maneuvered well and survived!  We arrived at Yolanda’s Chuck Wagon to a parking lot full of rides that joined us from all around. There was a mass of rides and gleaming chrome in the lot.

Joining the others for refreshments, we checked out the many vendors and enjoyed the band. Of course, next on the priority list was getting the much needed event shirt. Relaxing and seeing old friends is what it is all about, but I wanted to get good pictures for you Quick Throttle readers so I left a little early to position myself down the road and wait for the rumble to roll through. This was a chore as the sidelines were like a parade of people wanting to do the same. We found a good spot, parked for a fast getaway to join the rides, and listened.

My daughter heard them first and so far away. You could see the lights coming down the road, getting bigger and bigger as they closed in. It was “On”. The 25th Florence Prison run was making its presence known. Blowing by, you could barley hear the others around us cheering all riders. It was obvious that all riders were enjoying the moment. Ten minutes into the line of riders, our chance came to join them. We pulled into the bulk of bikes and headed off to do what we came here to do; give the prison population a few minutes of joy and hope!

Just like last year, the turnaround point was a cluster. Turning around on a gravel road with a mighty slant proved to be tricky, but we showed them it can be done. We all powered off to make our second pass seeing all rides that had just done their first ride-by with smiles on their faces. As we left the town heading back to Yolanda’s for the after party, we reflected back on how fast this day had come and how soon it would be over. The feeling amongst the group was a good one. We knew we would be heading down the road soon. Not in a huge group, but with the feeling and satisfaction knowing the mission was complete. My daughter and I, while riding back, talked about how much we’ll be waiting for the 26th Annual Florence Prison Run provided and presented by The Hell’s Angels.

Thanks for the wonderful Father & Daughter day. Wild Bill & Christina

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