We start with a message from our Director, Larry Blakely – “Thank you. Those two words seem both small and yet huge at the same time. But I bring them to you with pride as they were relayed to me by Stephen Simon’s fiancé Julie Pirkl. After Stephen’s untimely passing she was working with the dealership on her request for a memorial ride to his funeral service. Rather than re-invent the wheel or try to tackle something they were not familiar with doing, the dealership reached out to our chapter for help in planning and coordinating the ride. After a few telephone conversations to get the initial idea I began contacting chapter members to help. On Thursday Head Road Captain, Mark “Crusher” Miller, and myself met with Rev to finalize the plan. Crusher took the lead for the route planning, road captain recruiting, and parking lot duties. Barbara Blakely took the lead for organizing the paperwork and securing the waivers. Both showed amazing patience with me as I focused on coordinating with our dealership. I know the conversations I had and bringing back actions for others but I do not know everyone that stepped up to help Crusher and Barbara. A lot of people filled in the gaps to make this happen. To the parking lot crew (I know Dede was on the front line) thank you for directing the staging. To Obie and Bill, thank you for sacrificing riding with the chapter so our non-chapter visitors had leadership. To everyone else as well “Thank you”. You delivered a remarkable ride for family and friends to honor Stephen’s life.
To give everyone an idea of the magnitude of this ride: Stephen passed away on Monday. Jerry Umland was visiting the dealership that morning and learned about it right away. Jerry was able to contact Bill Madison who had my contact number. Bill and I spoke midday on Monday. I visited the dealership that afternoon and offered the chapter resources to assist. On Wednesday, I received the request for us to help plan and lead a ride of unknown size from the dealership to the church. On Thursday afternoon Crusher and I met with Rev to gather the details and start the planning process. We kept the membership informed with the details as we had them by using direct emails and Facebook posts. On Saturday morning while Ralph DiBiasi and Gerry Rogers, represented our chapter at the New Owner’s meeting Crusher and I pre-road the route. Shortly after 3pm Saturday afternoon the ride began with 100 bikes and 125 participants. That’s approximately 72 hours from “can you help us?” to “kick stands up”. To accomplish this required a team effort and lots of “can do” attitude. I was able to meet every worried phone call or conversation with our dealership with “we got this” because I knew we, Cigar City HOG, had it covered.
So until there are better words – THANK YOU.
Ladies! We have a LOH social this coming Thursday at Glory Days Grill on North Dale Mabry. Come and join the fun as we plan our year. Men are welcome too.
There is still time for those who have not renewed their chapter memberships for 2017. Please complete the attached form and send in the attached membership form, along with payment of $24 for each member made out to Cigar City HOG Chapter. Or, bring it to our chapter meeting this coming Saturday! Come early and enjoy the pancake breakfast before our meeting.
Also at our chapter meeting on Saturday, we will have a guest presenter at the chapter meeting. Dave DuFresne, from Yelvington USA. He will be visiting to showcase their reverse gear system and shocks. They are a local company, in Seminole, and have some unique offerings that may benefit our membership.
After the Chapter meeting, join the pickup ride and note the 20th Anniversary Celebration for the Dealership later this month.