Contributed by Holly Bond
Another Riding Into History is in the books! This year was an epic event by most every account. The weekend kicked off on Friday, May 10th with the Grand Marshal Tour and Luncheon Ride presented by Hagerty. Approximately 60 vintage and antique bikes leisurely rode through some of NE Florida’s scenic backroads to their luncheon destination. Part of the ride included a water stop at K9’s for Warriors, with some great photo opportunities with our charity partner. A seaside meal at the The Reef restaurant on beautiful highway A1A just north of Vilano Beach and St. Augustine gave participants the opportunity to meet and get to know our first female Grand Marshal, Gloria Struck. As he has done for many years, creative art photographer Jim Dohms captured the riders and the day. Photos should be available for viewing soon at both ridingintohistory.org and dohmscreativephotography.com. You will also be able to purchase images at the latter. Please check both sites for the magnificent photos of this glorious kickoff event.
Next on the agenda was the Grand Marshal Dinner hosted by Sargent Cycle Products. It was held on Friday evening in the World Golf Hall of Fame Museum at the World Golf Village. The Grand Marshal Dinner is always a fun, festive event where attendees get to see old friends and make new ones. There is a silent auction that always contains a variety of interesting items and is run by the Jacksonville Beaches Chrome Divas. We got to hear from our Chairman of the event, this year Mr. Bill Peterson.
We were then treated to a presentation of the 20 year history of Riding Into History by Bill Robinson, who has been involved since the beginning, has served as Chairman multiple times in years past and continues to serve in whatever capacity he can. We also heard from Brett Simon, President of K9s For Warriors, our charity recipient sharing inspirational stories of K9s for Warriors participants. Then came the moment that everyone at the dinner had been waiting for, a presentation by our first female Grand Marshal, Gloria Struck. Gloria is 93 years young, began riding at the age of 16 when ladies typically did not ride motorcycles and has not ever stopped. She still rides from her home in New Jersey to Bike Week in Daytona and to the Sturgis Rally every year. She has written a book of her adventures and plans to ride cross country on two wheels to celebrate her 100th birthday. Gloria is a longstanding member of the Motor Maids, an inductee into both the Sturgis Hall of Fame and the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Gloria was a delightful speaker to listen to, engaging and humorous. We wrapped up the evening with a live auction of a motorcycle donated to Riding Into History and the wrap up of the silent auction.
On Saturday came the big event, the 20th Annual Riding Into History Concours d’Elegance. The volunteers were scurrying about well before dawn to make sure all things were in place as the participants began to roll in with their magnificent machines. There were approximately 300 antique and vintage bikes on display and in the judging. This year the focus was on American Iron, so as you would expect, plenty of Harleys and Indians were on display.
We would like to thank the Adamec and Hollingsworth families for providing special display bikes from their families’ private collections. The World Golf Village provides a beautiful backdrop in which to show off these magnificent machines. The day was clear and warm with a steady breeze for most of the day. Gloria Struck graciously signed autographs and copies of her book for a good part of the day and people gladly stood in line for a chance to meet her, get her autograph and maybe even get a photo with her. As always, Riding Into History draws an interesting crowd and this year was no disappointment. There are down and dirty, gritty bikers, there are high dollar collectors, there are enthusiasts that just come to look around, there are families that are out for a day of fun and everything in between. As in past years, we had two food trucks on site and of course the Caddy Shack was hopping all day. Awards began at 3 pm and by 4 pm most everyone was packed up and ready to go. It is always amazing to watch the transformation from pre-dawn to late afternoon as the bikes and vendors are all set up then how fast it all comes down.
If you are interested in seeing the judging results for the concours please visit the 2019 Results page at ridingintohistory.org. We look forward to seeing you at the 21st Annual Riding Into History in 2020 when we celebrate "Brilliant British Bikes!". Stay tuned for the save the date announcement to come soon.