By JD Gore and Jody Davison
An event was called off, then a rally cry was heard, and Ocean Shores responded in magnificent style.
Many like myself were dumbfounded when the word got out that the biker event held at the Convention Center in Ocean Shores for the past several years was cancelled. We were excited to make the ride as it was going to be our first trip to the event and Ocean Shores. So many of us were looking forward to the ride, that the news was like walking to your garage and finding both tires flat on your bike. Nevertheless, it was unfortunate news. The last weekend in July would not be the same.
After several weeks, we heard a murmuring that a motorcycle event would indeed be held. A few calls and it was official, we were headed to Ocean Shores on the Washington coast. I can imagine the scramble for lodging now that an event would be held. The Ocean Shores Convention Center partnered with Quinault Beach Resort and Casino to stage the motorcycle event that so many were looking forward to, under the name Hog Wild after the Quinault’s event of the past several years on the same weekend.
With the Convention Center hosting our lodging at Canterbury Inn, Jody and I were set. Leaving on Thursday morning to give us plenty of time, we had one issue after another with her Street Bob dying. We limped into Latus Harley-Davidson in Gladstone. Merritt Lord came to the rescue and was able to get the bike on a machine. After an hour, the news was good, just a battery that was on its last leg. They replaced the battery, and both tires because they were having a sale. Jody and I were thinking we may have dodged a bullet as we were planning to leave right after Hog Wild to Glacier National Park. We were several hours behind our schedule; we chased the sun with the odds against us anyway.
Passing through Aberdeen the sun gave us one last look back as it faded out of sight. In our headlights, the highway wound over one last hill range before it dropped us into thick fog. We had to slow down some as it became difficult to keep the thick sticky marine moisture off our glasses. After a few turns and one last stop to check the exact location of the hotel, we rolled in at just after 10pm. The staff at the Canterbury Inn greeted us and treated us like old friends. We not only found our room extremely comforting after a long day, but we were thrilled with all the amenities and hospitality shown to us.
Friday morning, we headed to the strip out front of the convention center, Vendor Village. The roadway already had barricades up and signs pointed to the motorcycle only parking area. It was early and when we backed in, we could see our friend Derek at Law Tigers visiting with event attendees. We met with Derek and enjoyed a quick chat as we could hear a low and constant roar of bikes pulling in. The lot was full in no time. Jody and I could sense the event building up as it seemed to grow by the minute and with anticipation, we soaked it up like a sponge.
We found Diane Solem with the Ocean Shores Convention Center and thanked her for helping us with lodging, then we bought a couple T-shirts from the OSCC booth and grabbed a schedule of events. After walking around and visiting with vendors and fellow bikers, gawking at some seriously cool baggers from Bag It Drag It, we went to grab lunch.
Not knowing where to go, we enjoyed a ride out to the end of the peninsula, looking at newly built homes and empty lots for sale at every head turn. The view at the end was worth the short ride. We headed back in and finally settled on The Lighthouse on Brown Ave. Jody ordered a chicken burrito and I got fish tacos. We didn’t know what to expect but we did see a guy BBQing some brats as we walked up that looked very enticing. We found a table outside in front so we could watch the bikes go back and forth. You couldn’t have asked for better weather, sunny and warm. A big guy came up and sat our baskets down in front of us, our meals looked like they were made for him. The burrito and the tacos were overstuffed. About that time the BBQer guy walked up and gave us each a cut of a brat, it was as good as it looked. His name was John Ravenhill, owner of The Lighthouse. John was a delight to visit with and he shared some on his experiences of past events heres and his take on this one. John said, “Many local business owners wanted the rally to take place as it was good for business. And they enjoy the rally as well.”
After stuffing ourselves, we said goodbye to John and his staff, threatening to return. We headed to the other part of the event at Quinault Beach Resort and Casino. We no sooner got there when we ran into Darren and Sue Wright, also with Quick Throttle Magazine. We walked the event with them, checking out more sick bikes and talking about what a cool community Ocean Shores is. Around the vendor area we ran into Max with MaxPower Law who had a booth raffling off a Harley and supporting live music at Quinault Resort. Everywhere you turned there was excitement within the crowd. It had been a whirlwind of activities and meeting some great people. And the busiest day was to come. We headed back to Vendor Village to catch Stefan Roland and Working Class Heroes. So you know, Vendor Village closes up early in the evening, so to keep the party going, you need to go back to the Casino, which is only about 3.5 miles.
Saturday morning, we were down at the main road to catch the Bike Parade. It started in Hoquiam and ended in Ocean Shores, anyone can participate. They estimated about 220 bikes involved in parade and about 2,000 bikes total at the rally. People were parking folding chairs along a grass strip and by the barricades, obviously this wasn’t their first Hog Wild rally. Leon Harder was on stage, bringing some live music to the crowd, which grew next to the blocked road, soon we knew why. The Seattle Cossacks were lined up on the north end. If you haven’t watched the Seattle Cossacks Drill Team perform, you owe it to yourself to take in their high precision stunt show. We had only a minute to visit with Rob Root before they pulled out and put on one heck of an act. Afterwards they took time to pose with fans. A great family of stunt biking professionals.
The crowds didn’t leave after the Cossacks, as it was time for, One Wheel Revolution to bring their smoking fast paced show to the packed crowd. 1 Wheel Revolution can do things most can only dream of, wheelie riding and smoking tires seemed to be a favorite of many in the crowd. I felt bad for Harder having to compete for the attention of the attendees. As the smoke cleared, the best of the best were riding up the other side of the vendors. It was time for the bike show. Now Jody and I have come to know people by just their bikes and we were seeing many friends coming to compete. As we were admiring the numerous custom bikes, Jayzi Horton from Bag It Drag It pulled up with his girlfriend and buddy on three of his custom baggers. They were jaw dropping. But as much as they caught everyone’s attention for a moment, most had their favorites picked out, it could be Jayzi or one of the many others.
Before the bike show ended, Dusty Mojo took stage. They played til just before the 6pm closing of the Saturday Vendor Village part. So we headed back to the Casino. We had heard that Zepparella was going to be onstage. They are an all-female American Led Zeppelin tribute band. They are outstanding musicians and we were not the only ones to know that, as the crowds were proof. And opening for them was Petty Fever, a tribute to the late Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The cool part besides the music was that the stage was out back of the Quinault Resort Casino with a great view of the beach. The setting sun added to the atmosphere and its hard to think of a better way to end the day.
Sunday came too soon. We had to pack our bikes and say farewell to the staff at the Canterbury Inn, and we planned one last stop. As we got to Vendor Village, there were Christian Bikers having a service. We stopped to wish Derek at Law Tigers a safe trip home and plan or seeing him again before too long. Jody and I then went to the Christian Motorcycle Association canopy to get a blessing on our bikes and us. We thought it would give us a good start to our 234 mile ride home and then our 1,720 mile vacation we were leaving for on Monday.
What we learned on our first Hog Wild is, the people and location are very much worth the ride. The rally was extremely enjoyable, with so much going on it was hard to catch everything. The business owners are supportive and deserve our time and business as do the vendors. We found some new favorites, like The Lighthouse, Back Porch Smoked Meats & Cheese House and Bennett’s Fish Shack. The music and vendors were all great and we need to keep in mind those who supported the Hog Wild Rally and give them our support. Thank you, Quinault Beach Resort and Casino, Northwest Harley-Davidson, Bennett’s Fish Shack, Oyhut Bay, McDonalds, North Beach Realty, Car-Toys, Law Tigers, Windermere Real Estate, Martin Bruni Liquor, MaxPower Law and so many more.
Diane Solem and her staff deserve kudos for pulling this together and bringing the biker community into their quaint coastal town. Diane you and your staff did a great service to many. Thank you, Ocean Shores for listening to the business owners and working with them to hold the rally. Ocean Shores is a look at what towns should strive to be like, we met great people that we will come back to see, Rally or not.