Article & Pics by Babydoll
I have covered this memorial run almost every year from the onset with the greatest of pride. The people who plan, give of their time, work side by side and have a vision and a heart for our American soldiers have yearly, made this not only a successful run, but one that pulls at your heart strings. Each year as Bob Dawg and the Hill family have told a story of a dream they once had that started as a small run of 50 and has grown to numbers in the thousands, I find myself teary-eyed once again. The National Anthem is sung to the American flag waving proudly in the wind and veterans, bikers and families of fallen soldiers stand shoulder to shoulder as one. Then Bob calls the families of fallen soldiers to the front of the stage and I feel heartbroken for them and tears begin to flow and the families begin to hold each other as some form of kinship is understood. It was a very touching but painful moment for those family members and for most of the crowd who were there supporting them every step of the way.
The street was lined on both sides for as far as I could see with every brand, model, and color of motorcycle imaginable. Each of them had been spit-shined and donned with American flags and dressed in red, white and blue. It was as if the motorcycles themselves were going to be marching in the parade two by two, representative of our lost sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. Their shinny colored, metal frames were their uniforms and their flags were their Purple Hearts or Badges of Courage.
This year, sadly the great and wonderful Hill Family was missing and I felt the loss of the entire family. Linda Hill had been quite ill and was having a hard time recovering. According to Vanilla Dawg she had spoken with Linda who wanted desperately to be there but couldn’t because of her health. I have never met a more vivacious and beautiful woman than Linda Hill. Rich and Linda are a wonderful and giving couple who are young at heart and they were entirely responsible for the beginning of this run. I just want them to know that they are loved dearly and I missed seeing them, as did everyone else. We wish you a speedy recovery, Linda.
We got to the Cottonwood Park as the last of the biker’s were registering. Trying to handle an event in a different location is really hard, as you just don’t know the good picture spots, etc. Plus I was alone. My son was there to help me, but he was not familiar with covering events so I was running a lot…so was he!
The parade lined up very quickly and they were very organized. So organized that I barely got to take a picture. I tried to get on top of my car, but I quickly slipped off and thought…nah…maybe this is not such a good idea and I couldn’t see over the cops SUV anyway…to get the bikes in the shot, so Mike (being 6’2”) got up there and tried. Now, last year we had a lot more time because we waited for the parade to leave first but then we got caught in their traffic, in the end we had to rush to get to one picture spot and barely made it. I thought I would be smarter this year and get in front of the parade and leave before them but that was not a great idea either, because we barely had time to take any pictures before they left.
Once again, the location had changed and you all know that normally Pizano is my guide and he knew his way around Reno. Well, this year I was on my own and I don’t know Reno at all. And my good friend President Bob Dawg of Iron Nation or the powers that be changed the Parade Route and had the bright idea that I should hit two picture spots, instead of one. It was really a great idea but impossible to make happen especially when one of the streets we were supposed to turn down to avoid their traffic was a one-way street going the opposite way. Now if you know Bob like I do, you do not want to disappoint him. He is way too big and brawly looking to get him mad. (Just kidden, Bob, you’re like a big Teddy Bear to me, but I won’t let that get out to everyone else…).
The first picture spot is a Memorial to the fallen soldiers and Iron Nation, as a club was responsible for those monuments being built. So, as the parade of motorcycles came downtown by the park and the Courthouse, we could see the monuments behind them. It truly was a sight to see and well worth the effort to make it to two different picture spots. Well, we tried like crazy to get to this bridge that Bob wanted us to get to for the second picture spot but we never made. So next year, Bob, we are bringing two vehicles and two cameras, just for you. Problem solved! That’s how much I love ya!
When we got back to the park, I was stressing because everyone was already back. The food line was a mile long and everyone looked like they were having a good time…without me. Iron Nation had a new VIP area, which was really nicely covered and shaded, with sodas and water, and tables and chairs to rest your weary bones. Right outside they were serving beer for those who wanted a little buzz and everything seemed to be running quite smoothly.
Vanilla came running up to me, and made me sit down and to rest. She ran and got me some water and sat down to chat. She is always running to get things done and she never stops.
I visited the vendors, and cracked up when I saw the “Geico Gecko” and the “Caveman” from the Geico’s commercials we are all so familiar with. That was pretty cool for the kids…heck I enjoyed them. We got an invite from Renegade in Reno who is having a special party on the 22nd at Street Vibrations. We took some pictures of some awesome custom bikes built by John Schultz of Reno Chop Shop that I was ready to ride home on. And I was offered a chain-looking cane from Chaincane to help me walk around. They were painted in very cool looking colors…but I thought it would make me look old, (God forbid) so I politely said no. But, truthfully after holding the camera all day and kneeling up and down, I hate to admit it but I could have used it.
East Bay’s Slackenloader was playing their usual hard rockin music, and people were grooving to their favorites. This group is well know throughout our area and is loved by the biker crowd.
But, charismatic Bob who is the very image of a very big biker…with his very loud deep voice…gets up on the stage and the microphone seems to love him or visa versa. He is definitely not shy. He gave out raffle prizes, a prize for the furthest traveled which went to Vanilla Dawg’s daddy…and she actually cried. You gotta love that girl. And the Boozefighter’s once again, won “Most Participation” from a club.
The Iron Nation Clan always looks calm and collected and seems to have things under control. This year was very different than the last few years. It seemed geared toward the families of the fallen soldiers and there was a lot less hoop-la. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Pomp and Circumstance.
This event was a lot less formal. I don’t have any feelings on the event either way. Whatever works to get the donations needed for the Nevada Patriot Fund and keeps the 9/11 run going is all that matters. If the club can keep us remembering those people who died on 9/11 and those soldiers that are still giving their lives for us today to protect our Country, by having this run, no matter what our beliefs are about this war, then we should continue to give them all our support. What matters is, the turnout was awesome which means there was a whole lotta money raised to be donated. As of the printing of this article the actual donation was not released.
I am not going to get political because this run is about fallen soldiers, not about politics. We are at War and I am not going to make any statements about that. I just hope you can think about those families who have lost a loved one. Try to put yourself in their place for one moment and maybe you’ll be able to reach out in some way, whether it means giving a donation of some kind, or volunteering your time to someone in need.
You can reach the people at Iron Nation and donations can be made to the account number below. God Bless all of you who have lost a family member in this or any war. My heart goes out to you and you are in my prayers. I know all the members of Iron Nation and Quick Throttle Magazine are right there with me in supporting you.
Nevada Patriot Fund • Account No. 6655843909 Wells Fargo Bank • 5340 Kietzke Lane • Reno, NV 89508
Special thanks to Mike G for his help and Iron Nation who are the greatest, for a some pictures they contributed and all their hard work.