White Rose Thunder® left its mark after 4 days of full throttle excitement, September 27-30. Thousands of motorcyclists and enthusiasts came to town for the inaugural year of what all will enjoy as an annual event for years to come. Attendees on Thursday arrived at the York Expo Center to nearly 170 vendors offering goods and services of interest to riders. Dealers for Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, Can Am and others had bikes of all styles on display. Yamaha offered test rides to all comers. Custom builders including Vicious Cycles, Extreme Custom Cycles, Independent Cycle East, and Freebyrd Custom Motorcycles displayed crafted metal masterpieces, many laced with leather. And for those who wanted to enhance their current ride, there were vendors including Custom Painting by Cliff & Skip, All Out War Cycles for parts, Lite Cycle, and Dan Kite pin striping.
The Starboyz began burning rubber in a series of shows that got wilder each time, as the long weekend began to unfold. Thursday’s entertainment was capped off with two concerts. First, KIX blew everyone’s fuse — yeah, yeah, yeah! Fortunately, Jack Daniels was on hand, with the big bottle, pouring drinks in commemorative cups to quench the crowd. Others cooled their thirst with a Bud or Yuengling brew.
Then, Vince Neil of Motley Crue brought his wild side to the stage. Hearts were kick started, and there were girls, girls, girls all around. Vince and his band put on a great show, singing many Crue hits as well as others. Vince treated the crowd to some Tattoos & Tequila. His band was outstanding, and there was an abundance of talent. And the drummer was crazy awesome on every song.
All three days offered poker runs to benefit various charities including the Hoffman Homes for Youth, Loving Eyes Seeing Eye 4-H Puppy Club, The Greater York Center for Dance Education, and P.I.N.K. Partners, who provides support to those fighting breast cancer. Participants enjoyed some nice rides in south central Pennsylvania, including a stop at Battlefield Harley-Davidson, where riders received commemorative pins. Throughout the weekend, 13 other charitable or educational organizations received support from White Rose Thunder® and those in attendance!
There was a substantial variety of food and drink for all. The Roadhouse Café was opened and provided a performance area for none other than Biker Billy. He cooked with fire, entertaining those in the audience who then enjoyed hot-n-tasty treats. The Café offered many of Billy’s recipes and those of its own, including crab cakes and turtle soup. Other food vendors offered pit beef, pit turkey, pulled pork and other delicious sandwiches. Additionally, there were many side dishes and desserts, including the special recipe ice cream flavor named “Dirty Oil” concocted by Sweet Willows Creamery just for the event. Each dish was crammed full of flavors.
On Friday, the attendees began their Biker Games. Bike Wash/Balloon Toss, Road Kill, Slow Race, and Weenie Bite games tested the skill of the riders and their passengers. The spectators cheered as the entrants competed for custom pewter trophy plates, offered by sponsor Planet RYO.
In addition to all of the other entertainment on Friday, there were two concerts. The Trailer Park Cowboys set the stage with hillbilly rock in a high noon performance. And a few hours later, the Revelators thrilled all within earshot.
Late Friday, the cycles started rolling in for Saturday’s Bike Show. They came from far and wide, including entrants from Canada, which made the competition international! Bikes that were foreign & domestic, old & new, mild & radical, and cruiser & sport, among others, were carefully displayed for all to see. Additionally, over 1500 bikes lined up in a Parade of Chrome to head to downtownYorkfor Bike Night. Even Santa Claus and his elf made an appearance too – after all it was less than 3 months til Christmas!
Saturday began with excitement as dozens of flat track motorcycle racers enter the York Expo Center to set up in the race pits, adjacent to the half mile track. It was to be the first year of the Budweiser Randy Texter Memorial Flat Track race, named in honor of a fallen but never forgotten member of our racing community. By 10 am, the engines were roaring as the racers were readying for competition. Racing was a staple inYork for decades, from 1959 until 1994. While the racing went away for a while, nobody forgot and former fans returned to renew their love of the sport. Fans, both new and old, cheered as 155 entrants competed in classes including 250 Amateur, 450 Amateur, Open Amateur, Vintage & Senior (+ 30), Pro Singles, Pro Twins, Expert Singles and Expert Twins. Prize money, and pewter trophy plates and glory went to the winners.
As the racing reached its climax, the six fastest of the “Big Twins” qualified and raced for a chance at the extra “Randy Texter Memorial Dash for Cash.” The winner of this four lap handlebar banging, limestone slinging race took home $2500, with second place earning $1500 and third receiving $1000. It was one of the largest and most exciting racings in the region in memory and a great showing for the first year of a new event.
After the dust settled and the engines cooled, the Mustang Sally Band treated all to a Saturday evening show. The commentary was hilarious and the music was terrific. Saturday proved to be high revving excitement for all, from start to finish.
Sunday allowed all attendees to make sure that they took in all of the sites, one last time. Plus, the Christian Motorcyclist Association offered a service. And the 1st Pennsylvania Chapter of the Defenders Motorcycle Club conducted a charity ride to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Dozens of riders lined up, and chrome and leather took to the roads to benefit those in need.
As the event came to a close, all agreed that White Rose Thunder® had made its mark and would be a welcome addition to bike week festivities in York every year. The event organizers thanked all involved and promised that next year would be even bigger and better. The planning is underway, and details will be released throughout the year at www.WhiteRoseThunder.com and by Facebook. And mark your calendars for White Rose Thunder® 2013, which roars back to the York Expo Center on September 26-29.