One ride is the American Legion Riders Legacy Ride, normally held every August to a different destination each year and lately has been averaging 300-500 riders depending on whose spin you read. It’s held as an arm of the American Legion to supposedly benefit funding for scholarships for children of fallen servicemen. I rode this ride (or part of it) as an Assistant Ride Captain this year, which gave me an different insight than most people who are not privy to the inner meetings and workings of this group. This ride often lasts about five days and typically journeys from the American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis IN to wherever their National Convention is being held. The cost per rider is $50.00 ($60.00 late registration) and $25.00 per passenger. Their administration team is highly compensated, and motel rooms are provide for their support staff (RC’s ARC’s, TG’s etc.). This ride is broken-up into “flights” of 25-30 riders complete with a Ride Captain, an Assistant Ride Captain, and Tail-Gunner, all of whom have been trained for the positions by taking an an “Advanced” Riding Course taught by MSF/ABATE-Indiana. I italicized advanced because personally I didn’t learn a damn thing and spent most of the time riding in circles on my big tourer dragging the floorboard feelers and freaking everyone out from the sounds and shower of sparks. I did get a nice certificate out of it, suitable for framing (I’m so thrilled!). LOL! I was told I was too good of a rider for the course and laughingly accused of being a “ringer”.
The second ride is The Trail of Tears Remembrance Ride and is unarguably the worlds largest motorcycle ride (or rolling parking lot as Poppa Joe is fond of saying) with at times as many as 150,000 (yep FOUR ZEROES!) motorcycles in a procession as long as 15 miles or more. This ride is held the third Saturday of every September and three days afterward to Okmulgee / Tallaqua OK, to commemorate the Cherokee-Creek forced march from their homelands in GA, TN, AL, SC, and NC to the arid prairies of Oklahoma through snow and ice. Over a fifth of the population of these Indian nations died on this march. It is the American Death March of Bataan similar to the Japanese forced American soldiers march in WWII. Any proceeds from the money freely given (there is no charge to ride—it is free) to fund raising efforts goes to annual college scholarships and for the erecting of markers/monuments to commemorate the routes (3) of the Trail of Tears forced march. The Trail of Tears Ride is completely non-profit and led by an all-volunteer force. No one receives ANY compensation for riding in or organizing this huge annual event.