A few years ago, a fine woman died. That’s how this annual shindig all began.
Pierrete, affectionately known as Peewee, was a central part of her group. Every year since her death, her friends and family have celebrated her life with a Memorial Ride fundraiser in her name. Every year, I shoot the event for free. It’s my way of contributing. I knew her too.
Her other half, Grandpa, is a respected elder of The NBS Riders, a registered biker group complete with leathers and patches and club rules. All the trimmings. Lori, her daughter, Chaired the event this year. Grandsons, cousins, nieces. Friends. Family. All come together to help make this annual event work.
Each year, the NBS riders, along with members from supporting local bike organizations, meet at a preset time and place. After registration, they set off in convoy. Sometimes hundreds of them, line abreast. They have Road Captains to handle their allocated groups, and Blockers to get the convoy safely through intersections. The route is planned, from A to B to Z. Head counts. Way points. Backup drivers in case of problems. It’s very well organized. A lot of planning goes into these things.
They stop along the route (look up Poker Run) several times, working their way homeward. To me.
I don’t ride. I’m a four wheel kind of guy. I arrange to meet them at the end of their run, where the after party is waiting. Sadly, with the best planning in the world, they may still encounter delays, leaving their photographer to lay on a concrete pavement for 40 minutes waiting to catch their arrival…
It’s worth it. People everywhere along the route stop and watch as the procession makes it’s way through towns and villages and highways. To see the convoy coming down the highway… Hot metal and leather and the purr of 100+ engines under full control… it looks like a well choreographed ballet. Really, it’s lightning, chained. It’s enough to make your spine tingle.
The after party is a place to relax, and have a cold drink and some food. There’s often a pig roast. Often, a bonfire. Always, a band. The party may go on into the early hours. But, they party sensibly, leaving the bikes for a sleepover if they are going home. The serious party animals bring trailers or a fifth wheel to sleep in. I know a few that always keep an emergency $20 in their boots for cab fare.
There has, at least to my knowledge, never been an incident involving either police or DUI. Don’t get me wrong, these guys can drink for Canada, and party pretty hard. But they aren’t fools. They party safe. They don’t tend to ride drunk. Easy enough to die riding sober, never mind after a beer. Interesting fact: Many bikers die every year from collisions with drunk car drivers. Everyone here is acutely aware of this statistic.
The Party of the First Part
At these events I spend a few hours taking photos of people having fun. I’m working, so no partying for me. I get to watch. As the evening unfolds, people relax and show their smiles more readily. I capture that.
It’s quite an honour just being allowed to have a camera at any biker event – pointing a camera at the wrong guy can end very, very badly if your face is not known. They trust me. They know that I never have and never will post anything embarrassing. After all this time, I know most of them, respect most of them, and just plain like most of them too much. I also like having teeth.
Anyway, another year, another ride. The band takes a break. There are speeches. The chosen charities for the year are announced. The amounts raised are given, to hoots and hollers and applause. Poker Run winners get their statuettes. The 50/50 winners get cheered. And then the band starts up again, and off we go. I usually stay until late. I ducked out early this year. It had been a long day and I was missing my wife, who couldn’t make it this year due to a conflicting engagement. Shame, she loves to party, too.
The Peewee Memorial Ride after party 2018 photos are at the link below. Check ’em out. It’s growing to be quite a collection, with galleries full of memories from all the previous Peewee rides.
I would ask that you do not make comments on the site about the photos – these images are up there for the extended family. Which, I guess, now includes me.
I would however be interested to see your comments here, if you want to leave them. Let me know how you like the photos. Or not. These are my photos, shot and edited to my tastes. I like the look I came up with for these. I went for the ‘celebration’ look, to capture the mood of a great evening spent with friends.
This is after all meant to be a happy event.
I hope you like the photos. Let me know… Enjoy!