By Diana Olmstead
On Tuesday, July 19th, the Quick Throttle crew left Olympia, WA and rode 6 hours to Pendleton Oregon to attend the 2nd Annual Pendleton Bike Week.
The event started the next day at noon at the Pendleton Convention Center. We rolled into the parking lot at 2:00pm and it was already filled with a great assortment of street legal motorcycles that had come from all over Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, and Montana and beyond.
We walked inside to the registration area which was manned by a half dozen high energy volunteers who were handing out registration packets to those who had pre-registered online and to those who chose to register onsite.
At 2:30 The Til Taylor Ride began. The ride was escorted by the Pendleton Police Dept and was in honor of Til Taylor, a Umatilla County sheriff who was killed in a jail break back in 1920. What a site it was to see several hundred bikes roll collectively from the convention center, through the streets of Pendleton, to the Memorial for Fallen Law Enforcement Officers in Til Taylor Park. The first 500 riders received a ride pin designed to look like a miniature sheriff’s badge to commemorate this historical event.
Back at the convention center, the main hub of the Pendleton Bike Week event, more riders were arriving. At 3:30pm a “meet & greet” was taking place at the Hardtail Saloon located inside the convention. A half hour later, at the Easy Rider Bar which was located outside in the vendor area, the Pendleton Bike Week (PBW) girls were taking part in a Calendar Shoot. As you can imagine, this was a big hit with the guys.
Our crew went back to our hotel, unpacked our bikes and decided to get some dinner. A couple of locals gave us a heads up on a great place just around the corner from our hotel. It was called the Prodigal Son and the food was delicious!
After dinner we headed back to the event and the Hardtail Saloon where the power rock trio known as ParadoX was jamming out while riders were mingling and enjoying a few cocktails.
At 9am on Thursday morning kickstands were up for those participating in the .45 Caliber Poker Run. This was a self-guided 5 stop run. All riders were given a poker run card that required a stamp from all of the stops: #1 the Midway Bar & Grill in Hermiston, OR, #2 Rattlesnake Mountain H-D in Kennewick, WA; #3 Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center in Walla Walla, WA, #4 Long Branch Cafe & Saloon in Weston, OR, #5 Prodigal Son Brewery & Pub in Pendleton, OR. After the run riders turned in their stamped cards for a chance to win a new .45 caliber Ruger Long Colt pistol with “Pendleton Bike Week 2016”. Congratulations to Craig Crocker of Spokane WA who was the winner of the .45 Caliber Poker Run and Frank Insera who won the .45 raffle.
As the afternoon wore on the temperature rose to the mid 90’s which is where it stayed throughout the weekend. During the day riders could stay cool by going inside to the air conditioned Hardtail Saloon or by having a cold one and hanging out under the misters at the Easy Rider Bar. The PBW Girls were staying cool by having a playful water fight. A special “thank you” goes out to the Pendleton High School Cheerleaders who worked their tails off washing my bike and hundreds of others!
At 7pm we rode into town to check out the VIP Party held upstairs at Hamley Steakhouse & Saloon. Hamley’s boasts an authentic turn-of-the-century look complete with authentic tin ceilings encased in custom designed coffered woodwork, original eighteenth-century bars in both saloons and a native stone stairway that leads down to the remarkable Hamley Wine Cellar with shelving built from original oak barrel staves and filled with Hamley Specialty Wine. PBW VIP members mingled with fellow riders while enjoying complimentary appetizers.
Later on in the evening Rob Barrett and the Coyote Kings band were playing to a large crowd back at the Hardtail Saloon. We hung out for a while and had a great time but the heat had caught up with us so we headed back to our hotel and called it a night.
We woke up, got ready and then grabbed some breakfast and headed off to watch the Nitro in the Blues Hill Climb. Normally I ride my bike everywhere but I had been warned that the road to the Hill Climb was a long, dusty, dirt road so we caught the free shuttle bus from the convention center parking lot and enjoyed a nice air conditioned ride to our destination. When we arrived we watched dozens of kids, women and men all take a shot at who could go the farthest up the steep hill. Man, was that fun to watch! Some of the participants were absolutely fearless and they pushed themselves and their dirt bikes to the limit. Everyone was pumped up about this event, especially the locals because this was the first motorcycle hill climb held in the state in over 30 years.
For those that didn’t go check out the Hill Climb there was a lot of action happening elsewhere. Riders were checking out all of the vendors and doing tons of shopping especially at Rattlesnake Harley-Davidson who had set up an onsite store inside the convention center and a huge vendor booth outside filled with a dozen brand new Harley’s. At 1:30pm the Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Stunt and Drill Team performed on their vintage Harley’s from the 1930’s and 40’s. It’s hard to believe that this team was formed back in 1938 and it is still going strong today mesmerizing audiences of all ages.
Around 3:30pm we headed into town to check out The BOSS Bagger Shootout & Sound Competition on Main Street by the Hamley Steakhouse & Saloon. What was really nice was that the street had been closed to cars so that all of the show bikes could line the center and PBW attendees could park their bikes along the edge of the street. By doing this, it created a really nice and safe atmosphere. Locals of all ages and PBW attendees could casually stroll along the street and spend time ogling the gorgeous, sexy, curvaceous custom baggers that were on display! A special “Thank You” to James and Mike Hempstead of BoomTown Bikewerks for putting this together! They brought in some of the most talented custom builders and bike shops in the northwest – Jayzi of Bag It Drag It Customs, Tom Myers of Jasper & Company, Kody McNew of Voodoo Bike Works, Jon McDowell of Bonneville Customs, James Patience of Ground Zero Customs, Jasper of Jasper & Company HD to name just a few!
Back at the convention center there was a huge influx of riders that had rolled in to the event. They were having fun in the sun, enjoying some cold beverages while watching the PBW Girls strut their stuff and watching the Seattle Cossacks 2nd performance of the day. Later that night the Glory Road band and the Rick Jones Brotherhood band rocked the Hardtail saloon crowd.
At 9am the .45 Caliber Poker Run began and an hour later vendor row was open for business. At 10:30 the Silent Ride sponsored by the Combat Vets began.
At 1:30 the PBW Bike Show began. There were 24 categories and lots of tricked out bikes! It was a great mix of metrics and v-twins. Congrats to the following winners: Best Modified Harley #13 Greg Mathews, Walla Walla WA, Best Sportser #8 Brett Tyler, Mountain Home ID, Best Scooter #17 Pam Sollars, Washougal WA; Best Rat Rod #35 Ed Watt, Kennewick WA; Best American Trike #12 Sheila Neal, Valley Springs CA; Best Metric Trike #22 Terry & Peggy Campbell, Goldendale WA; Best Metric Side Car #32 Allan Hill, Medford OR; Best American Side Car #5 Phillip Fotzer, Tacoma WA; Best Theme Bike #21 John Keaton, Beaverton OR; Best Vintage #5 Phillip Foster, Tacoma WA; Best V-Twin #38 Michael Brazie, Sherwood OR; Best Pro Custom Motorcycle #37 Jon McDowell, Merdian ID; Best Metric Bagger #39 Brian Mahoney, Walla Walla WA; Best Custom Bagger #26 Kerry Kramer, Forestgrove OR; Best Pro Bagger #24 Steve Gow, Hillsboro OR; Best Use Of Chrome #41 Jim King, Hines OR; Best Flake Paint #18 Dave Johnson, Walla Walla WA; Best Mural #23 Steve Hassel, Hillsboro OR; Best Paint Scheme #16 Mike McGhee, Kennewick WA; Bet Paint #23 Steve Hassel, Hillsboro OR; Best Performance #28 Jasper, North Plains OR; Best of Show Motorcycle #37 Jon McDowell, Merdian ID; Best of Show Bagger #24 Steve Gow, Hillsboro OR; Best of Show Over All #37 Jon McDowell, Meridian ID.
A bit later the Tattoo Contest was took place inside the Hardtail Saloon, and the Seattle Cossacks performed. Afterward we headed to the Hamley Steakhouse & Saloon for a nice dinner.
Before we knew it, it was time to hop on our bikes and head back to the Pendleton Convention Center to get seated at the Happy Canyon Stadium for the headlining musical act of the week – the Three Dog Night concert! This is what I call a good ol’ rock and roll. The guys in this band have been playing together for nearly 50 years; they have 12 gold albums and recorded 21 consecutive Billboard Top 40 hits. Now you might think that they are “too old’ to tear it up on stage but let me tell you they put on a show that I was thrilled and honored to have witnessed! There vocals were spot on too! The stadium was packed to capacity and the crowd of all ages was singing and dancing the entire time. It was just a fun happy moment in time and for me it was the highlight of the entire week for me! Three Dog Night proved without a shadow of a doubt that “Old guys rule!” The crowd went crazy when the band wrapped up begging for an encore. What an encore we got – they played one of their most popular hits “Joy to the World” and then they sang an acoustic song called “Prayer of the Children” and everyone listening sat in complete awe, it was so moving and beautiful.
Pendleton Oregon is a great place to have a large scale bike event. It has a Wild West vibe and it sits at the base of the wondrous Blue Mountains, yet it boasts all of the amenities and lodging needed to accommodate thousands of riders. I can’t say enough positive words about this community; at every restaurant and store the locals were so kind and welcoming. None of the hotels price gouged either; they treated Pendleton Bike Week attendees fair and square because they appreciated our business and look forward to our return!
A huge thank you goes out to the Combat Veterans Motorcycle association Oregon Chapter 29-1, BoomTown Bikewerks and to all of the volunteers and incredible sponsors who helped make this happen!
And last but certainly not least – a high five, and a “job well done” to the Pendleton Bike Week founder Eric Folkestad. The amount of work and dedication that goes into creating a new large scale event is unfathomable to those who ride. I have complete faith that this event will continue to grow year after year.
The 3rd Annual Pendleton Bike Week will take place July 19th-23rd, 2017. Be sure to check out their facebook page and pendletonbikeweek.com for event details.