Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘AHDRA’


In 2011 it was Prineville’s first experience in hosting the Run To The Cascades motorcycle rally.  According to Aaron Myhra/Fonzie Productions Inc. (Event Promoter), who acquired the rights to the event, it was a success and positive for the community.  The rally was resurrected after being absent for 10 years.

However, there were a few reports about an overbearing amount of law enforcement, and complaints of live music being cancelled.  Go HERE for more information.

Now let’s jump ahead to last weekend.  The Run To The Cascades was in Redmond, OR at the Deschutes County Fairground and  as I previously posted HERE the event was shut down by the police following a confrontation between biker groups (Mongols and HAMC).

Mr. Myhra has since provided an explanation of the events leading up to the closure:

It is with a heavy heart that we are making this public statement today. Our greatest priority when putting on Run To The Cascades (RTTC) is always the safety & enjoyment of the public. This is why we moved RTTC to the Deschutes County fairgrounds, made gate admission more affordable, and brought in amazing vendors & entertainment. This event is a 9/11 memorial/freedom celebration. This event is an opportunity for us to all gather in our community, young and old, to honor the lives lost on 9/11. RTTC is an event created to honor the men & women that have, and those who currently, serve our country—including their families at home—in order that we may gather freely, without fear of condemnation or discrimination.

The irony is, we did gather for this purpose, and Saturday morning following the 9/11 memorial parade through downtown Redmond, we met back at the fairgrounds for a freedom celebration. After the parade, there was a Color Guard Presentation of our National and State flags by respected Native American veterans from Warm Springs. A greeting from Redmond mayor George Endicott, a Vietnam veteran, followed the Flag Ceremony. Mayor Endicott welcomed us all to the city, and even went on to say that he had asked his PD to give some tolerance and understanding.

Following Mayor Endicott’s welcoming speech, local pastor, Preacher Bob, gave an inspiring talk about the freedom that millions have sacrificed their lives to defend, while reminding us to be aware and diligent of the many freedoms we are loosing daily as we go about our busy lives. He read the following words from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

We, the staff & volunteers of The Run to the Cascades Motorcycle Rally, are appalled at the abrupt closing of our event because of a “potential” threat of violence. Contrary to reports, there were NO conversations by law enforcement officials, or even an attempt made by law enforcement to have conversations with either party, who were allegedly involved in a 30 minute “verbal tussle” that handled itself, with both parties involved exiting the fairgrounds without incident.

Law enforcement abruptly shut down the event HOURS AFTER both parties had peacefully exited the event, telling ALL participants, via the PA system, to exit the fairgrounds IMMEDIATELY. Law enforcement stood by and watched as thousands of people driving trucks, motor homes, cars, and motorcycles tried to exit out of the one gate law enforcement had left unlocked. This occurred as thousands of confused people were trying to make their way into the fairgrounds for the evening showing of the Knights of Mayhem and the Foghat concert. Had it not been for the brave and quick response of our staff & volunteers, who had very limited information as to why we were shutting down—literally stepping in front of moving vehicles and directing the chaos—people could have been seriously injured or worse.

Vendors, campers, and attendees with no plan of leaving until later in the evening, or at the event’s conclusion Sunday morning—following the bike blessing and church services—were forced out of the fairgrounds, some of whom had been legally drinking. This action, on the part of law enforcement, put event-goers & many other innocent people in our community into harm’s way. We have since received reports that several DUI’s were issued in Deschutes County following the mandatory exit.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department and the Redmond PD shut down our event in its final hours with several SWAT teams present; reminiscent of Waco, Texas, and many other instances of what occurs when there are abuses of state power over the public. The ensuing mayhem, anger, & confusion caused by the unnecessary event cancelation, put more lives in danger than any “verbal tussle.” Thousands of disappointed attendees, vendors, sponsors, media partners, & event organizers are now left with a very unsettling and unsatisfying experience. We had professional security services on the grounds; they, in conjunction with local law enforcement, could have come up with a dozen different ways to handle a “perceived threat,” and allowed the event to continue to its conclusion.

We ask you, the public, for some patience as we prepare to responsibly, and legally, respond to this act of tyranny, while assessing the damage it has caused everyone involved. There have been many questions of refunds; as more information becomes available, it will be posted on our website http://www.runtothecascades.com . Refunds should also be sought from those responsible for illegally shutting down the event; law enforcement, the fair board, and county commissioners.

We would also like to clear up a couple points of misconception: We worked closely with fairground director Dan Despotopulos in pre planning and during our event. Dan was charged with informing us that law enforcement was making arrangements to close our event and it is our impression that he did not agree with plans pay grades above his had made. Secondly as soon as RTTC was made aware that the police were even thinking about closing the event—approximately 2 HOURS before it actually happened—we ceased charging at all gates! We are members of this community and have no interest in charging our neighbors and out-of-town guests for something the police might, and did, shut down without cause.

Thank you for your patience, support, and cooperation as we move forward.

Aaron Myhra

UPDATE: September 17, 2012 — I was in Central Oregon this past weekend.  I grabbed a coffee and happen to read a report in the TSWeekly where the Redmond police are urging fairgrounds officials to never host another biker rally. “This event is something I will strongly advocate to never be held here again,” Redmond Police Capt. Brian McNaughton told reporters.

Photo courtesy of Run To The Cascades web site.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Here’s the thing… “If you look around the room, and you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.”  

It’s not my quote, but some interesting words of wisdom by Lorne Michaels of SNL fame which might apply to this past weekend in central Oregon.

At the 2nd annual Run To The Cascades in Redmond, where hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts gathered to celebrate a remembrance of September 11th and to salute the men and women of our military along with the fire and police departments were met with a clash between the Mongols and Hells Angels motorcycle clubs.  According to witness reports, around 5 p.m. Saturday, a large Mongols group approached the Hells Angels members already at the event – the HAMC had a vendor booth there – and “demanded the Hells Angels group leave immediately.”  It was reported that weapons were brandished.  Once word of the confrontation went out to law enforcement it prompted police and sheriff’s deputies to enter the fairgrounds and stand by while the Hells Angels group packed up and left.

Other witnesses reported that the Hells Angels group intended to return with more people to settle the dispute, and at that point, sheriff’s deputies and police contacted fairgrounds Director Dan Despotpulos “and strongly recommended the event be closed in order to protect public safety.”  The fair director agreed and they immediately began closing the event.

I wasn’t at the rally, but can imagine the disappointment!  Are these “life-threatening” events occurring more often at rallies?  I don’t know, but the result is the same on future events.   Similar to the Laughlin River Run melee a few years ago or most recently at last year’s Street Vibrations shooting in Reno/Sparks between the HAMC and Vagos.

The sudden closure of the Run To The Cascades rally meant the closing-night concert by the classic rock group Foghat was cancelled. It’s unclear if event organizers will be on the hook for any refunds.  There were also reports that some people who had camped out at the campground were reluctant to leave, but were then threatened by law enforcement that if anyone stayed they would receive trespassing citations.  Nice indictment of the innocent.

Did law enforcement over react?  Where was the Oregon law enforcement intelligence for the event?  Did the motorcycle club “offense of proximity” only serve to reinforce the symbolic weight the emblems carry for biker clubs?  Did the motorcycle clubs brazen intimidation threat accomplish exactly what was intended?  Did this action sear a pitiful brand on the character of thousands of innocent, respectable, law-abiding men and women in Oregon who are the enthusiast representatives of an admirable sport?  Has Oregon just exited a transformative club period and now set to experience a new “threat on wheels”?

Motorcycle club business is none of my business, but when the public is exposed to these individuals are we to just ignore the incident and continue on with adding mustard to our bratwursts and t-shirt buying as if it didn’t happen?

UPDATE: September 17, 2012 — I was in Central Oregon this past weekend.  I grabbed a coffee and happen to read a report in the TSWeekly where the Redmond police are urging fairgrounds officials to never host another biker rally. “This event is something I will strongly advocate to never be held here again,” Redmond Police Capt. Brian McNaughton told reporters.

Photo taken by author at AHDRA drags in Woodburn, OR.  Poster photo courtesy of Run To The Cascades web site.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Steve Dorn Burn-Out at N/W Nitro Nationals

I attended the AHDRA (All Harley Drag Racing Association) drag race about a week ago in Woodburn, Oregon.

Before we go any further, allow me to interject a disclaimer:  I’m not a big racing fan.  In fact, I attended NASCAR (Daytona 500) a few years ago – the so-called ‘superbowl’ of racing — on a work gig and for me watching guys make left-handed turns hour after hour ad nauseam was boring.  Fortunately watching the fans worship drivers with brightly colored advertising attire while discussing race strategy in that southern accent made the event.  Watching the tire changes in the pit were entertaining for awhile, but they can’t hold a person’s interest forever.

The Steve Dorn and Latus Nitro H-D

At any rate I walked through the AHDRA pits in Woodburn and got my fill of all the Nitro Methane action I could possibly handle. The rev/roar of engines created a race atmosphere and there was indeed some great racing competition on the track from the various fields.  As a “newbie” to the AHDRA, I had no clue who was on the 2011 qualifying and elimination sheets or did I understand the difference between Top Fuel, Pro Fuel and the Screaming Eagle backed classes other than the obvious noise level in the motor differences.  My observation was that after the too few Nitro Methane class motorcycles finished their runs everything else seemed in slow motion.  Yeah, the non-nitro motorcycles were fast, but there is a huge perceptual difference from 150MPH vs. 220MPH.

I love the smell of nitro in the morning...

When standing around the staging area/pits I did overhear some rumblings about how the entire AHDRA series is awaiting its demise.  Being a nu-bee at this motorcycle drag race gig I wouldn’t know about attendance figures.  I typically sit behind a desk and tap on a keyboard.  Clearly the economy has impacted most everyone so why wouldn’t race organizations be struggling (NHRA, NASCAR, ADRL, AHDRA) or see a drop in attendance and racers too?

I did leave feeling of bit hungry due to the fact there was no action in the new Draggin Bagger class.  A class that the H-D Motor Company backed and promoted heavily in December of last year for the 2011 racing season.  There was an amateur contestant who took his fully loaded cruiser, tour pak with dual antenna’s out there to run the strip.  I’ll give the dude a shout out for doing a burn out on that thousand pound behemoth.

On departure there seemed to be a number of people who had a secret fantasy of being an AHDRA driver.  The Steve Dorn wannabe’s came out as I was driving the bike 75MPH in a 65MPH zone, trying to shake the guys who were riding in my draft.  It seemed like the normal speed limit no longer existed and riders were looking for a side-bank to pass on the shoulder.  This went on for about 15 miles then the Wilsonville I-5 construction had brake lights flashing as an old lady (yes, older than me) shot a dirty look in the rearview mirror while she jockeyed for a pole position in a lane that was moving ever so faster.

Vroom, go granny, go.

The Northwest Nitro National race results are HERE.

Photos taken by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

I’ve had a lapse in concentration.

Not only about the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA), who will bring an exciting race to Oregon this weekend August 27-28th,  but you might have noticed the blog posts have become fewer of late.  Unfortunately a new job has me fully booked and while I have a number of partially completed posts in various stages I’ve just not had the spare time to polish them up and get ‘em to the line.

And speaking of the line, I wanted to bring to your attention how AHDRA and Team Latus Motors H-D are bringing the “Northwest Nitro Nationals” to the Woodburn Dragstrip and if you’re a speed junkie or maybe you just like to hang out in the pits —  then this is a must attend event.  Fans can expect to see plenty of fast action with tire smoking and fire-breathing bikes.

Interested in reading more?  Here is a link to SPEED, the official magazine of the all Harley drag racing association.

Photo courtesy of AHDRA.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Screamin' Eagle 120R Engine

In a move that contradicts previous year investment strategies, Harley-Davidson is feeling flush this holiday season and announced increases in race team support and contingency funds.

First off was the $45,000 fund announcement and support of the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series.  The series expands to nine rounds of the 2011 AMA Pro Road Racing season scheduled for a March 10 – 12, 2011 start in Daytona.  The Vance & Hines XR1200 Series features H-D XR1200 motorcycles specially modified with racing kit parts supplied exclusively through V&H.

On the same day H-D announced that all three factory sponsored riders (Hines, Krawiec, Coolbeth) were re-signed for 2011 and will be returning to their respective race teams.  Steve Piehl, H-D Director of Customer Experience stated that “Although we didn’t win any championships this year, Andrew, Eddie and Kenny all displayed the hearts of the champions they are, and we are confident they will continue to perform at the highest level in 2011.”

The more interesting news (at least to me) was the additional announcement by H-D to create a new Draggin’ Bagger Class (D.B. Class) for the 2011 race season.  This new drag racing class is centered on the introduction of its Screamin’ Eagle 120R engine, a 120 cubic-inch V-Twin capable of outputting 135 HP and 137 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheel.  The new class is for 1999 and up H-D touring motorcycles equipped with the 120R engine.  The motorcycles in this class must run with an original frame, fairings, saddlebags and other bodywork as race fans watch to see who can run a wheelie popping 10-second race.

This is the first time in decades that H-D has offered a crate racing engine and I’m sure we’ll see some exciting racing in the 2011 season.  Lastly, H-D announced it will continue its sponsorship of the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) and the Draggin’ Bagger class will debut in Orlando, FL on March 4-6, 2011.

Photo courtesy H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

For those of you not “riding home” the AHDRA Northwest National’s kick-off on August 23rd at the Woodburn Dragstrip.  This is exactly what riders of any championship series are anxiously waiting for…turning up the volume in the valley!

AHDRA is celebrating its 31st year of drag racing.  With 16 different classes ranging from 224-mph Top Fuel bikes to the highly competitive ET class.  AHDRA began as a club racing organization in the late seventies and continued over the years under many different names. All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) became the official licensed name for the sanction in 1991.

For the second consecutive year Salem Harley-Davidson is sponsoring the event.  The Woodburn dragstrip is located at I-5 to exit 271, then 1.6 miles west on SR219

Poster courtesy of AHDRA web site.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: