It seemed a lot of the fun things going this month were events at dealerships or the local watering holes and not the normal poker runs or benefits for individuals in need of the riding community’s support. Of course, the weather has lived up to our Florida reputation—blistering hot until about midday with torrential rain in the afternoons. Even if the rain comes early and then lets up, the rest of the day is like riding in a steam bath. But that high humidity didn’t keep riders from showing up at the very popular High Octane Saloon in Homosassa the third weekend in June when the bar put together an event called “Mission in Citrus” (County) to benefit the homeless in the area. The event encompassed both Saturday and Sunday and boasted a full array of vendors and musical talent including the ever-popular Bobby Friss on Saturday and the Greg Billings Band on Sunday… The Iron Horse Saloon in Ormond Beach has also been very busy lately and held a huge ride-in bike show on July 6 honoring our country’s birthday, and at the same time our military troops. The event was sponsored by J&P Cycles, which hangs out right up the road at Destination Daytona these days. The Iron Horse is also hosting a monthly bike night through the summer on the first Saturday of every month… On July 13, the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 8207 hosted a benefit ride for three riders who were seriously injured when the driver of a cage turned in front of them on SR 434 in Longwood back in April. Amazingly enough, they were very close to the hospital and were able to get medical attention almost immediately, which was a good thing since all three of them sustained severe injuries. The run was a relatively short one, starting at 3:00 and ending back at the Post by 7:30. As riders rolled back in, the usual after-ride festivities were on tap with food being provided by volunteers. All proceeds from this event will be donated to the victims and their families since the medical bills are already enormous and still mounting… Over on the west coast that same day, Harley-Davidson of Crystal River, the sister store to Ocala Harley, partnered up with the Citrus County Foster Association to sponsor a Backpack Ride-in to collect school supplies for foster kids in the area… And Crystal River H-D wasn’t alone in recognizing the need to help out kids with school supplies that day, as there was another backpack run that left out of the Saints & Sinners Pub at Destination Daytona. This wasn’t a poker run as such; just a nice ride that ended up down in Port Orange at the First Turn Lounge where all the goodies were collected and then donated to the Children’s Home Society of Volusia, Flagler and Putnam Counties… Down the road from the dealership, the High Octane Saloon had even more things than usual planned with the whole month jam-packed. They kicked off July on the 6th with a bikini contest (you know how bikers love any chance to see female skin) and followed that up on July 20 with a battle of the bands that rocked the house with local bands competing for a hefty $1,000 prize. The weekends in between featured many of the bands just gearing up for the competition and building their fan base… Also on July 20, the American Vets of Lake County hosted a benefit run to raise money for themselves with registration starting at the Corner Pub in Eustis and then making stops at The Shady Oak, Pirate’s Pub and Gator Bay before rolling back into the Corner Pub for the after-ride frivolity… That same morning, down south, riders rolled into to Tampa Harley-Davidson with their bikes loaded with goodies for a Christmas in July Toy Run to benefit the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Donations consisted of everything from toys to electronics to gift cards for the kids. It’s times like this that makes me even more proud of being part of the biker community. I don’t think any segment of society comes together to open their hearts and wallets to help others like bikers do… And as I close, I’d like to offer my congratulations to the Mallick family, owners of three Harley dealerships here in the Central Florida area—Gator Harley-Davidson in Leesburg, Stormy Hill Harley-Davidson in Clermont and, the newest of their stores, Harley-Davidson at the Villages. For three weeks in July the dealerships were having Customer Appreciation Days as their way of celebrating 20 years in business and passing it on to their customers. Wishing you many more years of success! And with that, I will wish the rest of you safe travels and blessings.