San Diego, Calif., Mar. 22 — It’s been several months since San Diego Harley first rolled open their doors at their new superstore at 4645 Morena Boulevard. The soft opening was back in November, but if you have had any dealings with owner New York Myke and his team, you would know that a huge event hosting thousands of people with live music, food and fun was inevitable. And that day had arrived.
My girlfriend and I broke out the Road King and cruised over to enjoy some long overdue free time partying with our friends at SD H-D. If you haven’t heard, San Diego Harley has taken the dealership concept to a whole new level. In addition to their two other locations in San Diego, this third location not only dwarfs most other dealerships in sheer size alone, but the number of amenities offered also makes it a unique destination and clearly sets them apart from others. Special amenities that raise the bar include a state-of-the-art 20,000-square-foot service department, a ride-up service counter, in-store wash bay, onsite motorcycle training range, multiple customer lounges, a tattoo shop, barber shop and a general convenience store, and even a unique dressing room creatively built inside a replica of the original 1903 factory in Milwaukee.
The all-day celebration kicked off at 9:00 a.m. with the usual Saturday free-pancake breakfast, which provided fuel for the ensuing series of events that day. While the entire event was free, all donations collected went directly to the Boot Campaign. The Boot Campaign helps raise awareness of the challenges American troops face when they return home and directly helps military personnel in this transition.
The gates to the huge, fenced-off concert and stunt show venue opened at 1:00 p.m. with Unknown Industries riders Nick Leonetti, Buddy Suttle and Kade Gates providing a riding demonstration. Then we got to meet some top executives from The Motor Company before New York Myke introduced the mayor-elect of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer, to the crowd. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony followed the introduction and, shortly thereafter at 2:45 p.m., Mower, the first band to be featured that afternoon, commenced to energize the crowd in anticipation of the appearance by headlining band P.O.D., which proceeded to thoroughly rock the throng of close to 5,000 riders and fans.
“This is insane and has completely surpassed our expectations,” said MotorClothes Manager Jen Miller. “The people, the huge turnout, the enthusiasm—it’s amazing. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished here. We want to show everyone who we are and that we’re about providing the best customer experience anyone can have.”
I had the opportunity to access a V.I.P. area in SD H-D’s dedicated 5,000-square-foot event room. The room, furnished with leather couches, a movie projector, pool table, pinball machine, foosball, shuffleboard and ping-pong tables, was the perfect space for a party. Food and drinks were served while attendees were treated to a meet and greet with P.O.D. band members. I approached lead singer and fellow San Diegan Sonny Sandoval and asked him about his experience. “This is amazing. We’ve only been riding for a few years and San Diego Harley has welcomed us into their home. It’s just like one big family; they’ve been awesome to us so this is great.” He continued, “We’ve been doing things with San Diego Harley for the U.S.O. and other causes that support our active military and veterans. We just developed a partnership and thought about how we can mix Harley-Davidsons and rock ’n’ roll for support since they’re in all kinds of other things. San Diego Harley offered to soup up our bikes and in exchange we would do shows for them; it’s a cool partnership. I love riding, but I didn’t think I’d ride until my kids were all 18. I’m very safe, but once I got on the bike I was hooked. It’s just something that’s in you, and it’s starting to become more of my lifestyle than I ever thought it would be. It’s crazy; I own more Harley shirts now than I thought I ever would.”
In addition to meeting the band, attendees got the chance to meet Jason Ellis, host of the Jason Ellis Show on the Sirius XM Radio channel Faction. Mr. Ellis obliged his followers with a book signing.
Attending an event at SD H-D just wouldn’t be the same, for me, without catching up with owner New York Myke. If you haven’t met the man, you haven’t had the chance to experience his political enthusiasm and his patriotism. Myke is an armed forces veteran whose daughters and sons-in-law all attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and served proudly. Myke has no qualms about making his politics and opinions heard loud and clear. When I was able to talk to Myke he told me, “This is awesome! It’s fabulous! It couldn’t have been better if I planned it! Wait a minute; I did plan it! Heh, heh. The success of this grand opening is a tribute to how hard everybody in this dealership worked to make it happen. I’ve got a staff, a crew and a team that never ceases to amaze me.” Then Myke went on to let me know that the grand opening was much more than just a party. Sure, he wanted to show off the new digs, but more than that he feels it’s important to show support and appreciation to the riding community that makes the dealership’s success possible. He reminded me that throughout the year SD H-D presents fundraisers in support of worthy causes, and he and the crew are continually involved in the culture and the politics that affect our freedom. It’s widely known that Myke is a staunch opponent of the helmet law and an avid supporter of ABATE’s efforts on behalf of the motorcycle community. He went on to tell me how honored he was to have some of the biggest people from Harley-Davidson fly in from Milwaukee. Then Myke mentioned that he was happy to be onboard any time there was a chance to raise money and awareness for our military. He was very clear about his contention that we can never be too vigilant concerning radical groups that have declared war on us.
Keep your eyes peeled for future events at San Diego Harley. More information and details on their future events can be found on their website at www.sandiegoharley.com, as well as in the THUNDER PRESS Calendar. See you there!
(This article Celebration For The People was published in the May 2014 issue of Thunder Press, West Edition.)