By Perry and Traci Nelson
It was almost time for spring biker event season in Arizona and what better way to get ready than by going to the annual Riding for the Long Haul at the Shrine Auditorium in Phoenix.
Every year this event gets bigger and better with so much to do. The purpose of this event is to help educate the public in motorcycle safety with all profits benefiting Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Foundation (AMSAF).
As riders arrived, a photographer was there to take pictures of each rider with their bike. Pin-ups from the B-12 Bombshells and The Combat Dolls were more than happy to take pictures with bikers also. These non-profit pin-up organizations support Veterans through their volunteer work and charity functions. Riding for the Long Haul has activities and vendors
both inside and outside of the auditorium.
Many of the vendors are unique to this motorcycle event in promoting health and safety like ADOT, Donate Life and TEAM Arizona as well as numerous health care
providers offering free screenings. Every participant is given a stamp card to bring to the vendor booths to stamp, and when the card is completed they are turned in for a raffle ticket to win $100. There was quite a variety of vendors specializing in anything biker: clothing, patches, jewelry, tattoos, motorcycles and accessories, etc. Some of the many vendors included Law Tigers, GO AZ Motorcycles, Discount Biker Supply, Ink Slinger Tattoo, Patch Works, Desert Wind H-D, Dean Speed Customs and Indian Motorcycles just to name a few.
There was so much going on throughout the day. Outside there was the Police Drill Team demos where they performed amazing control in various tight maneuvers. TEAM AZ presented “T-CLOCS” and “Pick up your Fallen Bike” classes. T-CLOCS is a system for completing a pre-ride check which stand for Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis, and Stands. It can be used before each ride as a quick safety check that is an approach to a more detailed motorcycle inspection. Learning this habitual safety check not only may help help prevent an accident, but more costly corrective maintenance down the road.
Inside were bands on the main stage; also there were presentations by ABATE: “The Road to Zero”, “Motorcycle Awareness Program” (MAP), “Accident Scene Management” along with the silent auction, 50/50, and Grand Prize raffle for a 3-night stay at Dal-Con Promotions’ Laughlin River Run. The Grand Prize included concert tickets for two and $1,000 cash. The highlight was the “Safety is Sexy” fashion show with beautiful gals showing off not only the latest in clothing, but helmets and safety gear. This was the first time I’ve seen an inflatable riding vest, which is similar in concept to the airbag for cars.
New to this year at Riding for the Long Haul was the Bike Show sponsored by Jeremy Calenda with Liberty Mutual Insurance. There were three People’s Choice awards with the winners announced at the end of the day:
Sport Bike Category- JJ with GSXR 750, Trike Category- Ken Wilson Jack Daniel’s 2002 Road King, and Custom Category- Max and Erica Droog with their Apocalyptic Yamaha FZ ’09 bike from Droog Moto Concepts. The day ended with sponsor appreciation awards and winners of the raffles and silent auction. Overall it was a fun, informative busy day with plenty to see and do for everyone. We enjoy going to this event every year.