The results are in, and the Harley-Davidson 26th annual Ride for Life event held on May 4-5 raised more than $1 million to fuel the fight against muscle disease in support of local families served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“Harley-Davison and its dealers, riders, fans and H.O.G. chapters are some of the most passionate when it comes to helping provide independence to kids and adults with muscle disease,” said Brian Bentley, dealer principal of Brian’s Harley-Davidson and head of the Ride for Life steering committee. “Ride for Life is a tradition that continues to exceed our expectations year after year. One of the best feelings is seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids who we are helping, and I think this has been one of the most memorable years we’ve had in the past two decades.”
More than 1,300 motorcycle enthusiasts rumbled into Bethlehem, Pa., on May 4-5 for the nation’s largest charity motorcycle ride hosted by the Eastern Harley-Davison Dealers Association (EHDDA).
The fun kicked off on Saturday, May 4 at the Arts Quest Center at SteelStacks with live entertainment, silent auctions, raffles, and food and beverage vendors. Day one festivities were highlighted by an exclusive Joan Jett and The Blackhearts concert that evening, where the crowd rocked out to classic hits such as “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll,” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”
MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Bryson Foster, 12, who is serving his second term as the face and voice of MDA, made his first appearance at the legendary event to thank Ride for Life participants for the incredible difference they’re making for families like his. Bryson also got the chance to show off his announcing skills by introducing Joan Jett and The Blackhearts and kick-starting the show for hundreds of excited fans.
“I’ve had the privilege of meeting a lot of celebrities during my time as MDA National Goodwill Ambassador, but meeting Joan Jett was so exciting for me because she is such a huge legend in the music industry,” said Bryson. “Joan is an incredible lady with a lot of compassion, and she ROCKED at the concert! She put on an amazing, memorable show for Ride for Life participants.”
Ride for Life events carried on into May 5, beginning with the parade of motorcycles. Willie G. Davidson, former senior vice president and chief styling officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company, and the grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson, made a special appearance with his wife Nancy at the event to greet the parade and sign autographs for participants and MDA families.
Davidson also addressed the crowd during Ride for Life closing ceremonies, which marked the end of the two-day event, complete with a 2013 Harley-Davidson Street Glide bike giveaway and a trip for two to the Milwaukee 110th Anniversary Celebration on Labor Day weekend.
Funds raised from Ride for Life stay in the five-state area (southern New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and northern Virginia) and directly benefit MDA families. Ride for Life XXVI was just one of the numerous events held across the country throughout 2013 to help Harley-Davidson celebrate 110 years of riding strong.
Ride for Life is the nation’s highest netting Harley-Davidson fundraising event. Since it began in 1988, it has raised nearly $18 million and has had more than 51,000 participants.