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9th Fort Lauderdale H-D Bikers Bash

By Shadow

Hobnobbing in Hollywood

$150,000 raised for Boys & Girls Clubs

Hollywood, Fla., Dec. 7—The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood was this year’s location for the star-studded Fort Lauderdale Harley-Davidson Bikers Bash. And what a bash it was! This lively, high-energy evening was one of the high points of an entire weekend of fundraising events for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County.

The Bikers Bash weekend kicked off on Thursday, December 6 at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Sunrise Harley-Davidson with an informal meet-and-greet cocktail reception. For those who chose to take part in the entire series of events, the cost was $400 per rider or $700 for rider and passenger. This donation garnered participants a swag bag on Thursday night, an escorted Friday morning ride from the Seminole Hard Rock to the Quarterdeck Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale with a stop at the Admirals Club Marine Academy, the Bikers Bash on Friday night, and another ride on Saturday to The Cove Restaurant and Marina in Deerfield Beach. The weekend’s finale was a police-escorted ride to the Pompano Race Track on Sunday to join more than 30,000 riders for the Toys in the Sun Run.

To attend the Bikers Bash only, $250 got you into the big tent set up outside the Hard Rock. We arrived just as Southern Crossing began playing some kick-ass tunes. The drinks were flowing and the wait staff served tempting appetizers while we checked out the goodies on display that were earmarked for a silent auction. An excellent buffet dinner was laid out on tables lining the inside of the tent, and once the dinner was over, remarks were offered up by event chairman Jeff Cheek and honorary co-chairman Max Osceola.

The energy level of the crowd increased as the live auction began. Some rather interesting offerings were put on the bidding block, like a dinner party, a ride on the Goodyear blimp, trips to Costa Rica, the Bahamas, and the Colorado Rockies, artwork done by kids from the Boys & Girls Club, a VIP package to the Boggy Creek Ride for the Children, a Keith Urban concert suite (be still, my beating heart), a Steven Tyler autographed guitar, and a custom motorcycle built and donated by Sucker Punch Sallys. A group of talented women, the Chopper Chick Crew, also donated a custom bike they had built in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza live on NBC’s “Today Show” on July 21. In fact, the Chopper Chicks came in from all over the country just to be present for the Bikers Bash and to see their motorcycle auctioned off for charity. Thanks to the Vagabond Chickie, Athena Ransom from Vagabond Choppers (also a Bikers Bash sponsor and one of the Chopper Chicks) who hosted the Crew for the entire weekend!

Another bike, a 2006 FXD signed by the band members of Aerosmith, was also raffled off. Later in the evening, the event chairman invited attendees to become members of the Leaders of the Pack, the most exclusive motorcycle club in the world because it costs $10,000 to join. And talk about exclusive—bike-building legends like Dave Perewitz, Aaron Greene, Roger Bourget, and Eddie Trotta were in attendance, as well as motorcycle-riding celebrities like Ami James from Miami Ink, supermodel Niki Taylor, Nascar driver Burney Lamar, and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Kirby. And this event was also the final stop for the 2007 Seminole Hard Rock Roadhouse Tour. The evening was sponsored by the Seminole Hard Rock, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Bruce Rossmeyer Harley-Davidson. With the new Leaders of the Pack members, the live and silent auctions and the bike raffle, over $100,000 was raised that night.

The auction came to a close, but the event was far from over. Special entertainment was hosted by singer/ songwriter Richie Supa, an unplugged Nashville-style in-the-round performance by fellow singer/songwriters Brett James, Shelly Fairchild, and Grammy winner Stephanie Smith. To the delight of the crowd, the talented musical group was joined on stage by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Vince Neil of Motley Crue.

The Seminole Hard Rock Roadhouse Tour began in 2004 when the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood was just being built. The Seminole Tribe of Florida owns the Hard Rock, so Carrie Repp, owner of R&R Promotions, approached Max Osceola, member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Council, to propose a venue that would bring the Seminole Hard Rock name to the biker community. Max, an avid motorcycle rider for nearly half a century as well as a big supporter of charitable causes, immediately recognized the potential for the Roadhouse Tour. The Seminole Tribe had already been the top sponsor of the Bikers Bash at another Seminole-owned property—the Coconut Creek Casino. So the Bikers Bash was combined with the Hard Rock Roadhouse Tour and the entire event moved to the Seminole Hard Rock when it opened later in 2004. In 2008, the Roadhouse Tour will feature “The Next Great American Bike Builder,” a new television series involving a competition judged by Paul Cox and Billy Lane, beginning with the tour’s first stop in Daytona in March. Once again, the tour’s wrap-up will take place at the Bikers Bash at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is the only Native American Tribe in the United States that was never conquered by the U.S. government. In 1953, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to terminate federal tribal programs. The Seminole tribal leaders moved forward and in 1957 drafted a Tribal constitution. The Seminoles pulled themselves out of poverty through gaming, cattle, citrus, and other business enterprises, and at the end of 2006 were able to purchase the entire Hard Rock International business in what’s believed to be the first purchase of a major international corporation by an American Indian tribe.

What does this mean to the Bikers Bash? The Seminole Tribe of Florida believes in giving back, and that philosophy greatly benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs as well as many other charitable causes. The Saturday ride to The Cove Restaurant included a stop at the Jim & Jan Moran Boys & Girls Club in Deerfield Beach, where we got a chance to take a tour of the facility, meet the kids, and enjoy a song-and-dance performance they produced especially for us. Many riders were truly touched by the children’s creative efforts—there were surely some future artists in the making—and several purchases of their artwork were made. Once you visit a Boys & Girls Clubs it’s hard to say “no” to these kids!

Add the $100,000 contributed at Friday night’s VIP affair to the rest of the funds raised over the weekend from other Bikers Bash events and event sponsors, and a total of more than $150,000 was donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. The weekend was a spectacular success, and we got to enjoy four days of fun in the sun, as well.

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