Pancreatic cancer survivor Ron Brefka, bikers of the Midwest, HD Museum and the people of Milwaukee come together to fight cancer
Words by Joy Burgess Photos by Ron Brefka and Chris McMorrow
More than 200 show bikes, hundreds more motorcycles, five bands and around 5,000 people showed up in the heart of Milwaukee on September 7, 2019 for the High Voltage Vintage and Chopper Motorcycle Show. They were all there for one reason — to kick cancer’s ass. One of the largest ride-in shows in the Midwest, the whole community gets involved with support from Milwaukee county parks, the city of Milwaukee, and nearby Harley-Davidson Museum.
Ron Brefka, the show’s founder and promoter, has personal experience with the ugly disease. “I’m a pancreatic cancer survivor, and not many people survive that type of cancer,” Ron told us, “so pancreatic research is near and dear to my heart. I’m really lucky, so as soon as I was healthy enough, I felt like we should do a benefit show.” Money raised goes to the local We Care Fund for cancer research, a fund started by The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Chief of Surgery (and Brefka’s surgeon) Dr. Evans.
The show offers free admission, so the show raffled off donated items to raise money, including original artwork by co-organizer Chris McMorrow, Senior Art Director at Harley-Davidson. This year’s main raffle item – a High Voltage chopper kit – included a custom frame made and donated by Paughco. “Paughco contacted me,” says Ron, “and they knew that High Voltage raises funds for cancer research. They recently had employees affected by cancer, so they asked, ‘How can we help?’”
Coming up next, the High Voltage Ice Races will offer plenty of winter racing fun in January 2020, and Thunder Press plans to be there. In 2021, shovelhead lovers won’t want to miss the High Voltage Shovelhead Reunion and Run held in partnership with the Harley-Davidson Museum to celebrate 55 years of the ‘shovel.’