News Item: (USA) Bike Night revs up for muscular dystrophy fundraiser
(Category: Biker News)
Posted by MJF
Thursday 19 August 2010 - 11:45:49

My guess is more RC's than MC's but a nice story

If it's Tuesday, then it must be Bike Night at North Park Lounge on Babcock Boulevard. Weather permitting, 70 to 80 motorcycles -- 100 to 200 people --roll into a reserved area of the parking lot around 6:30 p.m. for a three-hour show of two-wheeled treasures every Tuesday.

Lounge manager Dave Peck and his crew set up white tents covering the food tables. The purchase of a wrist band entitles the wearer to a reduced price on beer, hot dogs and sausage. "We've never had any trouble. People come here to have fun," Mr. Peck said.

And sometimes, the fun has a serious purpose.

Tuesday, Three Rivers Harley-Davidson and Yuengling Beer will sponsor Bike Night for Muscular Dystrophy, a fundraiser at North Park Lounge from 5 to 9 p.m. They are expecting around 500 people.

Jim Morton, owner and CEO of Donut Connection, heads up bike night and organizes the fundraisers. He is historian for Pittsburgh H.O.G, Harley Owner's Group, sponsored by Three Rivers Harley-Davidson dealership.

In preparation for Tuesday's fundraiser, Mr. Morton's began soliciting support from North Hills businesses Aug. 1.

The club has been conducting this fundrasier for about 10 years. It raises money for other charities, too, and will be host to a Fallen Marine Ride Aug. 28.

Festivities at Bike Night for Muscular Dystrophy will include door prizes, a 50/50 drawing, T-shirts, gift certificates, a large silent auction and a visit from the Yuengling Girls.

"It's all for the kids," Mr. Morton said.

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The motorcycle dealership, whose website serves as a posting board for biker gatherings, and Pittsburgh H.O.G, promotes safety and responsible motorcycling activities.

A typical bike night is, surprisingly, typical.

"We don't allow any gang colors. Most of our riders are familiar with one another from attending other sponsored events, Mr. Morton said.

Mr. Morton and cigar smokin' Bob "Jammer" Jamriska have been working together three or four years on the meets. They supervise all the giveaways, raffles and the evening's ever-popular 50/50 drawing. Mr. Morton is usually the disc jockey.

Mr. Jamriska believes he is the oldest rider at "somewhere around 70."

Harley bikes seem to be the preferred, but on Bike Night, Honda Suzuki, Kawasaki, and an the occasional BMW make the scene. Mr. Morton's prize possessions are a 2004 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic and a 1973 Corvette Sting Ray.

Most of the riders are men -- wives and sweethearts attend as passengers -- but nearly a dozen of the 800-pound bikes are piloted by women riders.

"I get a sense of freedom when I ride," said Cassidy Haus, a McCandless Realtor. "My husband, Greg, a Harley owner and retired state trooper, started me out small on a Wrigley no-shift bike, then a Vespa scooter. I can't remember the number of hours we spent in North Park traveling at 25 mph till I became confident," she said.

Leslie Olzewski and her husband, Dan, also of McCandless, made a recent trip to Roanoke, Va. She traded her bike in on a 2010 Harley Soft Tail Screaming Eagle, price tag a little over $30,000.

Kathy Flynn Somerville and her husband, Joe, said they will be back from Sturgis, S. D., in time for the upcoming Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraiser. The Hampton couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary by riding their Honda Goldwing Valkyrie to one of the biggest bike rallies in the country, one that draws more than 200,000 riders yearly.

It is the club's 10th year sponsoring a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy. Last year, it brought in $7,000 for the cause.

The MDA fundraiser has become more than just a chance to hand a hefty check to a charity. Some of members have become personally involved in the cause.

One recipient of the bikers' efforts has been Marco Giovengo of McCandless. The 20-year-old was born with a puzzling, rare type of Muscular Dystrophy.

"The Harley Bikers embraced Marco," said his mother, Donna. "When he was younger, [the bike clubs] sent him to summer camps," remarked his father, Jude Giovengo, a Harley Soft Tail owner.

Marco, who will be a junior at Robert Morris University, lives on campus and gets around in a customized, powered wheelchair that has a number of Harley decals on it.

"His positive attitude has taken him this far in life," his father said. "He also plays drums in the marching band for the school."

Marco proudly displayed a framed T-shirt signed by Willie G., grandson of one of the company's founders and "father" of the legendary Super Glide factory-custom bike.

Even with the shaky economy, these dedicated "Easy Riders" will be out to match last year's mark because, as Mr. Morton says, "it's for the kids."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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