Unseasonably soggy weather had plagued Southern California over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and once again inclement conditions threatened to wreak havoc with plans for outdoor events on Saturday, March 24. In spite of the dour forecasts, a considerable number of stalwart, two-wheel enthusiasts chose to fly in the face of common sense and turn out to participate in the Rip’s BAD Ride Scavenger Hunt at Biggs Harley-Davidson. Their efforts were rewarded with what turned out to be mostly sunny skies and temps in the high 60s.
I spoke to Chuck Marsh, co-chairman of the San Diego BAD Ride Committee, as he checked in scavenger hunt competitors, logged their items and totaled their scores. He explained that each contestant had been issued a list of scavenger items. Each of the items had been assigned a point value from one to 10 with Rip’s BAD Ride apparel items rated at 20 points. Some of the more noteworthy items on the list included: A military ID (active, reserve or retired in your name and current) for 10 points, an eight-track tape cartridge for five points, a tattoo displaying the name of a motorcycle marque for five points, a New Year’s noisemaker for five points, and anything with a likeness of Elvis Presley on it for one point. The list also included a number of household items and motorcycle-related paraphernalia. The points system also allowed participants to present a receipt, dated that day, and accumulate two points per dollar spent at certain establishments. They included Biggs Harley-Davidson and Sweetwater Harley-Davidson, as well as the Rainbow Oaks Restaurant in Fallbrook, Josh’s Boars Nest in Oceanside, and the Cali Comfort Restaurant in Spring Valley.
Allison Hickey, the executive director of the Orange County American Diabetes Association, told me that rather than have a traditional poker run, ADA and BAD Ride officials thought the scavenger hunt would be a novel change of pace. I asked Ms. Hickey how the idea was working out and she responded, “Everyone is having a great time. I can’t believe how easily some contestants were able to come up with what we thought were obscure items. Next year we’ll have to do a better job of challenging participants.”
Bill Kennedy, of Kennedy Cycles in Oceanside, donated his talents as master of ceremonies. When he announced the winner of the scavenger hunt, a ruddy-faced guy who had heretofore maintained a low profile jumped three feet into the air and let out a hoot and a holler that could be heard for a quarter mile in any direction. Gunnery Sergeant Harold Franco, U.S. Marines, who had amassed 629 points, turned out to be the highly animated grand-prize winner. Gunny Franco, the proud owner of a black ’06 Street Glide as well as a ’04 Big Dog Ridgeback, couldn’t wait to grab up his lady, Sherri Victor, to give her a big hug and a kiss. “Hey Gunny,” I queried, “how did you manage to collect all those points?” He answered, “Hell, Sherri must have had a half-dozen items in her purse and it didn’t hurt that I bought a bunch of stuff here at the dealership.”
I noticed a number of guys wearing colors for an MC called Strength and Honor. Clint Ludwig, president of the California chapter and owner-operator of a black ’08 Arlen Ness custom Street Glide, told me the club is comprised of personnel from the military, law enforcement, paramedics and firefighters.
Howie Wahl, the new marketing director at Biggs Harley-Davidson, seemed to be everywhere. He was obviously making it his business to meet as many event attendees and vendors as possible. He was also generous with his time when I asked him about his impressions of the event and about his new position with the dealership. He said, “I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be part of the effort here at Biggs. I’m getting full cooperation from our owner, Richard Lillibridge, and all the staff here at the dealership—especially Angela Hartin, human resources manager, and Stephanie Janitz, Biggs H-D’s receptionist.”
The Decades, a local four-piece band with a female lead singer, featured a truly eclectic repertoire that, as the band’s name suggests, covered several musical eras.
Don’t forget to circle May 19 on your calendar for the 10th annual May Ride, initiated by KGB FM101.5 radio personality Clint August, that will bring upwards of 2,000 riders to Biggs Harley-Davidson for a day of partying with proceeds going to Homefront San Diego, which benefits needy military families in the area.