Article By Babydoll Pics: Babydoll, Becka, Pizano and Forrest & Lexi Coss
I think most of us know the story, but for those of you who don’t, I will give you the short version of Rip Rose. The first Rips BAD Ride took place in sunny Southern California. Rip Rose had a great dream that he would bring a generous Biker Nation together in hopes of raising money for diabetes. I don’t think he ever imagined that he would have 8500 bikers in one place for a day of giving and partying as they do today and one of the most successful fundraising events in the Country.
Jessica Bitz, the Event Manager for the American Diabetes Association at the Nor Cal BAD Ride could be found fielding questions about Vendor booths, or schedules and as I watched her try to answer each person’s questions, I thought, there needs to be hundreds of Jessica’s in the world today. In the background, I could hear this mixture of blues, jazz and the sound of southern rock all in one. The Charlie Brechtal Band was playing, who is one of my personal favorites. They play a rhythm that I can actually dance an old swing dance to, which reminds me of my mom and dad tearing up the floor, yet the youngest of crowds love them. At one point, the Fryed Brothers (another favorite) and Charlie played together and that was the highlight of my day, two greats together.
As I walked with David Adams, a new member of our team, to see each Vendor I could smell the sweet aroma of Napa. I have visited this quaint town before and found it to be one of the most beautiful and romantic little areas ever. It has to be one of the best roads to place your wheels on, and let the air and the scent of sweet grapes fill you with the desire to stop and share a glass of fine wine you’ve never experienced before with a group of friends or someone special.
The vendors were all of a mind to be friendly and happy, so I thought to myself maybe they had visited some of those wineries and brought back a bottle or two. Everyone took the time to talk to us cheerfully. People remembered us from other events and it was like old home week. Forrest, or Gump as we like to call him, was out there dancing with his daughter and the rest of the Quick Throttle crew was enjoying the sunshine, conversation and music.
We took turns shopping the vendors and oohing and ahhing the bikes that were being judged for the bike show. I watched the judges intently, as they bent down to look at the seats, fenders, frames, pipes, engines, mirrors, murals and anything that was a part of the bike. Each bike was as shiny and new as a bike on a showroom floor…even more so. After perusing the bikes carefully, the judges disappeared and tallied up their scores. Each rider rode the winner of each class out in front of the stage and proudly stood by his or her baby. The crowd cheered them on. Each round of applause eliminated someone, sadly, but there could be just one winner. After several rounds, one winner was left, John Kearney of Lodi, CA.
The entire event was covered to keep everyone shaded from the sun, so it was nice and cool while people ate their delicious barbecued meal at the picnic tables and watched as people danced to the music. The layout was the perfect setting. And the Mid Cal Stunner’s literally dazzled the crowd with a stunt show that made their bikes look like rubber and could do tricks by pushing a button. They could stand on their bikes while they were moving and I have a hard time just getting my feet off the ground!
Top fundraisers are invited to Pre-Bad Ride parties and after event parties. People donating $75.00 get a BAD t-shirt, and there are many other BAD rewards. The VIP Tent is another reward with a delicious meal, nice tables and chairs with water and drinks. It just makes the people who worked so hard feel special and rewarded. Everyone receives a ride pin, entertainment including a stunt show, and their meal for the minimum donation.
But the most important aspect of this fundraiser is about the disease, diabetes. Most of you who don’t have it, believe it is easily controlled, but I know from experience there are some people who are resistant to insulin and have had a difficult time finding the right insulin to help them overcome insulin shock and even death. There are many stories to tell that would scare you or could be morbid and we don’t want to go there. It suffices to say that this is a very dangerous disease that needs constant monitoring and is especially painful for children and their families.
That is why it is so important to have these fundraisers. Let me also say that the generosity of our biker community is to be commended. Please help us to get the word out by inviting your club members and friends and neighbors out to next year’s ride. You don’t have to ride to the event, so bring your families, too! And hey, Nor Cal – are you gonna let So. Cal beat us out by 7500 people? Where’s our biker competitiveness? We need to pick up the count here!!! I want to see at least 3500 of you out there next year, even if I have to come and knock at your door personally. The date for next year’s event is September 28th, 2008. Put it on your calendars now.
Northern California’s Rip’s BAD Ride is off to a new beginning in its new location at Napa Valley Expo. It was a big success with many more riders and vendors showing up this year with a total of 1000 people in support of the American Diabetes Association. Success is measured by the donation given to the A.D.A. and this year Rip’s BAD Ride, and the bikers supporting the fundraiser were able to donate $50,000.00. Congratulations to Jessica and her committee members, as well as all of you who participated.
Let me add that anyone who wants to get involved, get more information or register for next year, contact: Jessica Bitz Event Manager at the American Diabetes Association,(916)-924-3232 X 7406 or www.diabetes.org.