It seems that everyone wants to put on a bike rally nowadays to bring money into their town or venue. I found the ad for one in a local magazine about a month ago called Vet Fest 2012 from a large venue in another part of Florida. They were planning not just a one-day event but one that took up an entire weekend—an impressive goal for a first-time event. But then when I tried to call every number on the list for more information, not one of them returned my call. Guess they didn’t want anyone helping them promote the next one. And a few months back, the Chrome Angels of Central Florida were asked to help with orchestrating a new one called the Apopka Music & Bike Fest, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. After a couple meetings and some deliberation, we declined the opportunity, but the one-day rally was actually held on March 31 at the N.O.I.C.A., a large open area where the annual Corn Festival is held, just north of Apopka. For the most part, the event was pretty good considering it was the first year and there were a lot of people involved who’d never promoted an event like this before. The day’s itinerary consisted of a number of bands performing from 11:00 a.m. until almost 10:00 that night. Two of my favorite groups were slated to play, but unfortunately JeNDeR was the opening band at 11:00 a.m. and the other, Big Engine, closed the event at 8:00. The problem was that there wasn’t much going on between the start and finish to make me want to hang around for nine hours. There was a poker run with a hundred or so riders starting out for $10 a person, but about 25 of them never made it back to turn in their sheets. There was also a bike show with several classes and about a dozen food and merchandise vendors. The weather was beautiful except for some brief rain in the early afternoon, but that little rain sent a few of the vendors running for home. I went there twice to check out what was going on. The first time there were about 30 bikes visible, but I was told most everyone was on the run. So I took a little ride just to get in the wind and went back about 6:00 that evening. This time there were a few more bikes, but it just didn’t look like a bike fest is supposed to look. The area is quite large and could easily accommodate a couple thousand people, but there was certainly nowhere near that number at any point. Even when Big Engine took the stage, they were playing to the trees more so than the large crowds they’re used to entertaining. I’m not sure if the event wasn’t marketed well enough, if it was due to poor planning, or if the $5 gate fee and $4 draft beer price discouraged everyone, but I truly felt bad for the way it turned out. I know from experience what it takes to put on a big event and it’s certainly not easy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if we’ll have a second annual for this one… On April 1, my friends and I headed out for a little ride and then a stop at the Easter Egg Hunt hosted by Seminole ABATE at the United Methodist Children’s Home in Deltona. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived (still an hour before the posted end time), it was all over and everyone was gone. We were told by one of the attendants that the event was a success and all the candy and barbecue was gone. So no chocolate bunny for us… The annual Clam Bake hosted by the C.O.B.B. Chapter One was scheduled to take place in Kissimmee on April 7, but a couple days before the date it was canceled. No rhyme or reason given, just canceled. I was quite disappointed as I truly enjoy hanging with C.O.B.B. and even more, eating good seafood… The newly formed Unity of Clubs held their meeting at the Chrome Angels’ new clubhouse on the morning of April 14. This organization recently formed over in the Cocoa/Melbourne area to help local riding groups support each other and plan our events and benefits around a shared calendar. In doing so, we hope to bring better partnerships and notoriety to our individual goals and efforts. The meeting was well attended, with seven clubs being represented, and the next one is set for July 14, with the location still to be determined. If any other Central Florida group is interested in joining in, feel free to e-mail me or look up the Unity of Clubs on Facebook… Sometimes I feel like the little hamster running forever on that wheel and never getting anywhere. I know for sure Rev. Al Paquette of Paquette Ministries must have been feeling like that lately. Over the last month, he and his wife, Sharon, have been at every event in the area, as well as answering their own call from above in their prison ministry. On March 25, they held two services for the M3 Motorcycle Ministry at the Westside Community Church during the 3rd annual Biker Sunday. On Easter Sunday they were at Fort Mellon Park in Sanford for the annual biker service by Lake Monroe with a couple hundred of their closest friends. On April 22 their own home church, the Orlando Community Church, held a special service for them and then on April 29, Al conducted a service at the Leesburg Christian Center as part of the Leesburg Bike Fest. He is a very busy man for sure. Al and Sharon are very loved by the riding community in Central Florida and bring a very warm, special presence when they are around. Well, that’s my story for now and I’m sticking to it.