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Children's Run 2002

Seattle's Children's Hospital Reaps Benefits from Annual Charity Ride: June 30, 2002

A record-breaking 1200-plus bikers turned out for the Children's Ride benefit for Children's Hospital in Seattle on June 30, 2002. For the seventh year, the biker community came together to raise money for a good cause, to ride through the foothills, and to see the All Harley Drag races. By the end of the day, over 800 motorcycles and 1,200 participants had ridden the 48-mile run, eaten smoked salmon and smoke chicken, voted on the show bikes, watched the races, and given over $194,000 to the Hospital.

Photo of people registering for Children's Ride 7

Riders began showing up at Seahawks Stadium at 7 AM to register for the run, get their place in line, and sample some free Tully's coffee. You only rented the coffee, and you met the nicest people in one line or another.

Bikers at Seahwks Stadium

Our group arrived a little after 8, and the parking lot was beginning to fill up. While waiting for the run to start, we had plenty of time to wander around and peer at the new home of the Seattle Seahawks. Season ticket-holders couldn't go in to see their new seats, but we all had the run of the north parking lot and a chance to see the new structure that replaced the concrete birthday cake Kingdome. The stadium adds a distinct look to the Seattle skyline. Thank you, Paul Allen, for keeping football in this town and giving us a new place to play.

After approving the new stadium, we wandered among the bikes to get a sneak peak at the eye candy people were riding in. The bikeshow technically is held at the race grounds, but I wanted to get pictures before the day got too busy. At one point, a group with 6 new Indians rode in and parked together. It's refreshing to see the new machines with the blend of old styling and modern chrome, but I was still partial to the red and white 1948 Indian with the Antique license plate.

Photo of 1948 Indian

Right on time, the announcer called the riders together for the pre-ride meeting. Spike O'Neil of KZOK radio introduce the co-hosts for this year's run: Brad Goode, news anchor for KIRO-TV, and Chad Eaton, defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks. Spike, Brad, and Chad would lead the ride out of the Stadium to Pacific Raceways. Troopers and dedicated riders, Spike and Chad had just ridden in earlier this morning from a concert in Eastern Washington. It was 47 degrees and raining when they rode over Snoqualmie Pass. If there were a trophy for Furthest Ridden, they might have to share it!

Photo of celebrities

Dick Gehring

Dick Gehring explained the ride order. Riders who donated $500 or more would follow the motorcycle escort and Spike, Brad, and Chad in the VIP section. The rest of the riders would follow. Leaving the Stadium, we would have Seattle Police Officers controlling traffic to give us a clear route to I-90. Washington State Patrol and the King County Sheriff's office would also monitor the run. American Motorcycle Escort would escort the parade as far as Highway 18. After a few words on safety, Dave Eady of AME then gave the command: mount up and move out!

As luck was with us, we were in the VIP section (thanks, Dick). It was an awesome feeling as we left the city streets and headed east towards Lake Washington on I-90. The Mount Baker tunnel thundered with the sound of the bikes. As Eddie Moore said later, "it sounded like a freight train." Eddie's dad just got his Harley this year, and it was Eddie's first big run.

We rode across Lake Washington, past the Eastside communities, and into the start of the foothills. People were standing on the overpasses to wave as the bikes went under. It must have been quite a sight: a line of bikes about 10 miles long. The group cleared the stadium parking lot in 26 minutes. That's down from the 55 minutes it took last year, with even more bikes this year. The secret was to leave four abreast, instead of two by two. Once on the streets, we tapered down to two abreast.

Skull graphic on saddle bag

As we entered the foothills, the rain which had been predicted for the weekend opened up just a bit. Luckily, it only lasted about 5 miles. I didn't really have time to complain, because the ride was so scenic, even with a little rain. The group left I-90 to head south on Highway 18. In no time, the rain was just a blurred memory. The road over Tiger Mountain summit is a definite favorite for twisties and for the views. Every time I checked my mirrors, I was followed by a long tail of bikes. The sun was peeking out again, and the road was wide, curvy, and hilly. By the time we reached the exit for the race track, I was thoroughly enjoying the run.

We landed at the racetrack to be greeted by the enticing aroma of smoking salmon and chicken. The food line quickly formed, and the caterers were prepared to handle an army of hungry riders. Loewll-Hunt catering, sponsors of the ride, provided an excellent lunch. As soon as we were finished eating, I wandered around to greet friends again and find out where the bike show was staged.

Hungry bikers

Bikes at Children's Run 7

To my delight, the show area was very close to the track. You could look at beatiful bikes and listen to fast ones at the same time. If you were really lucky, you might even see one of the drag bikes, but at that section of the track, you heard them more than you saw them! Greased lighting flashes so fast. The seven-second barrier fell several times throughout the day. The temperature and the newly resurfaced track made a great day of racing.

The silent auction offered a chance to bid on a custom paint job, toolkits, motorcycle toys, and goodies of all kinds. The sports items available included an autographed Jay Buhner poster and autographed baseballs. We were outbid on the items I wanted, so I'll just have to bring more money next year. It goes for a good cause: all the funds raised today help to pay hospital expenses for familes that can't afford it.

Silent auction bidders

Nitro-VRod by Northcoast Thunderbikes

The ever-quirky Seattle weather had frightened off a few vendors on Friday. Friday had rained hard, and the weather men were predicting rain all weekend. True to form, though, the sun had boldly appeared both Saturday and Sunday. The vendors who chose to take a chance were greatly rewarded. And I managed to find just the right goggles from my favorite vendor. I finished my shopping spree just in time to hear the bike show winners announced.

Roy Dunn won Best of Show with a beautiful cream and blue Indian. It took a while for the award to sink in, and Roy didn't let it go to his head. He said: "I don't deserve it." Well, the people who voted thought that he did, so he took home two trophies.

Mike Phillips from Tacoma won the 2002 Harley-Davidson Road King. Congratulations, Mike! I know a lot of people were disappointed that their name wasn't drawn, but there's always year.

Best of Show Bike

The folks at Imagine Guild did a great job pulling the event together. From arranging the motorcycle escort for the run, to finding co-hosts and an emcee, to picking the route, to manning the parking lots, to selling raffle tickets and silent auction items, to running the bikeshow, the whole group worked hard to create a world-class event. Wendy Funicello and Dick Gehring deserve a special thanks for another year's effort.

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