Well, the Cyclerides.com Hearts To Heroes is in our rear view mirror and now a fond memory for those that attended. Every year is different, but the 2008 version was probably my favorite of all. Even though it didn't have a live satellite feed to Baghdad or a rare ride around the track at PIR, it was still fun, entertaining and a great time to honor our current military and our Veterans. Or maybe it was that as the MC, I didn't have the added pressure of keeping to a strict time schedule for the live feed to the Pentagon Channel. Whatever it was, I thoroughly enjoyed the program this year and was honored to see everyone that showed up to support our United States Military both past and present.
The day started by planting 50 U.S. Flags on 8 foot poles into the ground to line the entry for riders to enter Christ's Church of the Valley. It really helps to set the mood for what is a very patriotic day. At about 7:30am the Fire Up Freedom fire truck rolled in to play some patriotic music and display the colors. Tony has done a fantastic job with this refurbished fire truck.
By 10am riders had made it to the inside of the Church to watch a couple of pre program videos and get to their seats. The event kicked off with Scott Pasmore welcoming the crowd and wondering out loud where I was. I popped up on the video screen as if in Westgate waiting for the Hearts To Heroes to arrive and then went on a 2 minute video ride around the State before entering the sanctuary doors of the Church on the bike, meandering through the crowd before riding up onto the stage to start the program. It was really an exciting way to the crowd going. However, if you were not there, you won't be able to see it. Unfortunately, someone in the video control room forgot to hit the record button and the first 15 minutes of the event was not recorded. I was obviously disappointed to hear this news, but, worse things can happen. If you happened to take some video or still pics of this part, please contact me at email@example.com . We are going to try and re-create this as well as we can. I will at least show the pre-recorded part to you next week.
Now that we were all in a festive mood, I introduced Jessica to sing her inspiring version of our National Anthem. It was then on to a peek back at last year with a short video and original song by Larry Jensen who was inspired to write these words after Hearts To Heroes 2007. The Apache Helicopter was a big part of the event this year and I was thrilled to play the "Apache Up" Video written by Kathleen Winn, Wife of the V.P. of Apache Operations at Boeing. This song and video is great and was well received.
I then had the honor to introduce all of the Veterans in the crowd. This is always a humbling experience for me to see all of those that have served our Country stand up and be recognized for the sacrifices they have made to defend our Country. It was also a special time personally for me to bring onto stage my 83 year old Father, Ken, who is a World War II Veteran. He had no idea I was going to do this, but it was really an honor for me to be able to publicly honor him for his service. Chaz, another WWII Veteran also came on stage and uttered some words that really brought reality to this and any other war. He said, "My father told me that I left home a boy, and came home a man". It was obvious that there are still some strong feelings about his experience over 60 years later. Thanks to both my Father and Chaz for their service.
Jessica once again took the stage to sing "Thank You Soldier". She does this so brilliantly and with so much emotion that there isn't a dry eye in the house when she is finished. Not only is she an exceptional singer, she has the added purpose to sing this song for her brother that was killed in Iraq over 2 years ago. I will have the video available for you to view next week. A fantastic performance. Jessica was followed by a video of Collin Raye's "A Soldiers Prayer". Another excellent song.
We then moved into a really fun part of the program that reached back to last year's Hearts To Heroes. Two of the young men, Sgt. Ryan Kenner and Sr. Airmen Thomas O'Neill, that were in the satellite feed to Baghdad, are safely home and were live on stage with us this year. We played a little video of them and brought them out on stage for everyone to give them a resounding Welcome Home! I had some fun with them for a few minutes and allowed them to share their thank you with us. It really was a special moment to bring things full circle and have them home and on stage.
The program then came to an end with Scott Meng singing one of my favorite songs of all time, God Bless the USA. He sang the first verse and then 8 of our Soldiers in uniform came out to stand behind him as he finished the song. The entire audience of over 1800 stood to their feet to honor them and to sing along. It was a fantastic end to an inspiring and patriotic hour. Don Wilson, Sr. Pastor of CCV, then closed the program with prayer for our soldiers, riders and our Country. We need it.
We were waiting at the bikes at 11:30am for the two Apache Helicopters to do a flyover that signaled the beginning of the ride. It was then off for an escorted ride to Westgate by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office followed closely by the Patriot Guard with their flags flying high. The ride is an awesome sight to say the least. Westgate featured great music by High N Tight, a presentation by Maj. Aguirre of the Arizona National Guard and a couple of videos to close the event.
I tried to condense an hour of intense emotion into a few paragraphs and there is no way to do it justice. Do to the little video snafu, I don't have video available yet, but will have next week. There are also about 800 pictures that I have to go through that will be available over the next few days as well.
You can keep checking www.cyclerides.com for photos and video links over the next few days.
As I said before, I can't possibly do this event justice in words alone, but I got an email from a man that really made me think. Not only do our military need to see that we care and support them, but we need to instill into our children at a young age what it means to be Patriotic and to love this great country that we live in today. I know there are many issues with our politicians, special interests and general wackos that we have to deal with on a daily basis and it is extremely frustrating for me to see it unfold. But at the end of the day, these United States of America is still the best place in the entire world to live and raise a family. However, it seems that some of our children, are missing the opportunity to experience patriotism the way we did when we were kids.
I want to share with you an email that I got from a rider that attended the Hearts to Heroes that reminded me why I do this event. It is completely inspiring and leads me to believe that we need to do more in our schools and families to get back to basics, teach more about love for our Country and less about alternative lifestyles.
Here is what he wrote:
First, Thank You for another wonderful and touching Hearts to Heroes ride this past weekend. It was truly memorable. My 8 year old son rode with me. It was one of the proudest moments of my life, sitting there in the church, sharing the service with him. I was shocked to realize how moved and touched he was during the whole presentation. He really got a big kick out of your entrance too! I believe it was something he will not soon forget, and that makes me extremely happy.Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share these experiences with my son. Next year I will have the rest of my family there, if you continue the event.
This was our group's second year doing this ride, and it is the most meaningful ride of the year for our whole crew. We really hope your group will reconsider this as the "last" Hearts to Heroes. How about a "Welcome Home" Hearts to Heroes theme in the future? Hopefully we will have many many more troops on re-deployment home this time next year. I'm sure you are getting a lot of feedback in this respect. You put together an incredible event, and we would be very sad to see it not become a tradition. Thank you again!
Thanks to CCV and their volunteers for opening their doors once again. If you need a home church, this is a good one. Thanks to Al Winn, Kathleen Winn and Carole Thompson of Boeing for their contributions to the event. To David Whitten for his endless help in coordination, Jessica Thomas and Scott Meng for their singing, High N Tight band for the music, Westgate City Center for providing and end location for the ride and to the Patriot Guard for proudly flying their flags. And to Rusty Childress, Gary Stanley and Nancy Paganelli for taking photos.
Also, a big thank you to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for escorting the ride when it looked like it wasn't going to be. Escorted rides are really a thing of the past, if we would even hope for another Hearts To Heroes, I would encourage you to send a little thank you note to the Sheriff's Office for doing this important event. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
And lastly, a big THANK YOU from me to the 1100 motorcycles and 1800 people that participated inside the Church for the program. There were a lot of people who joined us in cars as well. I appreciate every one of you that support Cyclerides.com events and most importantly support our troops. Thanks as well to all of those who emailed well wishes after the event. I appreciate that very much and will be replying soon. Watch the front page of www.cyclerides.com for a link to photos and video over the next few days. If you have photos or video of the ride in, please let me know at email@example.com .
T-Shirts and Ride Pins were sold out at the event. You can now order them online for the next week and I will send them to you. Click Here to View Shirts and order online.
Please allow me to get on my soapbox for just a minute.
I would like to say how disappointed I was in the local TV media in this City of almost 4 million people. There was not one TV camera on site to cover the Hearts to Heroes event that was a welcome home to soldiers and a tribute to our Military Men and Women. But when I got home and turned on the news, there was extensive coverage on every channel of the Gay Pride Festival. What??? I just don't get it! Why do I want to see 3 minutes of lesbians and homosexuals walking around a park holding hands? The irony here is that the Men and Women of the military that the local media decided to turn their back on, are the very same people that fight for the gay population to have the right have these events. You won't find this one on the news in China or Iran.
I am completely repulsed and disgusted at the lack of respect from the media in this instance, certainly in light of what they chose to cover as a priority. The excuse that they use is that they work with skeleton crews on the weekends and don't have the manpower. All that says is that they had choices and they made the WRONG ONE! Secondly, the gay thing was going on all day for 2 days, I find it hard to believe they couldn't break a camera away for a few minutes to get some film for a brief story.
Unbelievable and inexcusable!! The Phoenix TV media should be embarrassed by the lack of coverage of this event. Just another example of why we need to teach our kids early on to put God and Country first, and about true Patriotism. Then if they end up as a weekend TV news producer they will make the right decisions. Thanks for allowing me to vent.
This Week's Highlights
It is that time of year for New Bike Nights and Sunday Brunch's.
NEW This Week! Give Them a Try!
New! Bike Night at Hooter's Peoria
Starts Thursday, April 17th
Raffles, Specials, Giveaways every 1/2 Hour.
Motorcycle Only Parking. South of 83rd Ave. and Bell Rd.
New! Salty Senorita Sunday Biker Brunch
Features an excellent "Build Your Own Omelet" for $7.99.
Get your Salty Cyclerides VIP Card good for 15% Off Food.
3000 Sq. Ft. Outdoor Patio - Opens 9:30am. Stop before your ride this Sunday.
Live Music Every Week on a Huge Outdoor Patio over looking the desert.
Great Food and Relaxing atmosphere after a good ride just out of the city.
You will enjoy this one.
This Week's Bike Night Events
Take a ride on a Tuesday Night to the Chandler HD Bike Night at the Tilted Kilt. Bike night is every Tuesday night with food and drink specials, but Chandler Harley will be doing a special with live music the first Tuesday of every month. Enter drawing to win door prizes and gift certificates. For November, look forward to another special night at the Kilt. There will be Raffles, Vendors, Bike Competition, Portable Dyno Competition. Watch next week for weekly event specials. Bike night hosted at the Tilted Kilt in Tempe located at 660 W. Warner Rd.
New Bike Night Starting Wednesday, April 23rd.
Kalahari Grill Wednesday Bike Night. What a cool place! For all of you on the West Side that would like a nice ride off the beaten path of the City, you need to check out the Kalahari Grill on Wednesday nights. Located in Vistancia just 5 miles West of Happy Valley Rd. and Lake Pleasant Rd. in Peoria. This is a very nice restaurant with a great indoor horseshoe bar and outdoor pass through bar that leads to a huge patio where you can relax while watching the sun set overlooking the desert . Kalahari Grill has an excellent menu and seriously good food and service. Enjoy Live Music on the patio every Wednesday for Bike Night from 7pm. Bike Night Specials include: $2.00 Off All Appetizers, Prime Rib Dinner $13.00, Domestic Drafts $2.50, Imported Drafts $3.50. Mrs. C. recommends the Ahi Tuna Tartar Appetizer. For more information call: 623-594-5947. Kalahari Grill is located at 28615 N. El Mirage Rd. in Peoria, AZ. Click Here for Photos Map and Menu.
Kalahari Grill would also make the perfect Poker Stop for your next run.
New Bike Night Starting Thursday, April 17th.
Hooter's Thursday Bike at Peoria location. Starts April 17th. The parking lot will be blocked off and it will be a night for MOTORCYCLES. Ride by Hooters in Peoria every Thursday night for Prizes, Giveaways every 1/2 Hour, Specials and of course great service by the Hooter's Girls. Enjoy $2.00 Bud and Bud Light Pints and $5.00 Bombers as well as those tasty Hooter's Wings. Sit on the huge outdoor patio and watch your favorite sporting event or inside with TV's every where you look. Enjoy this perfect riding weather with a ride to Hooter's this Thursday. Plan to check out the first night. 16550 N. 83rd Ave. just South of Bell Rd. 623-776-0123.
Fuzzy's Southwest Sports Grill Bike Night. Riders on the far west side in the Surprise area finally have a Bike Night. The brand new Fuzzy's Southwest will be hosting a bike night on Thursday Nights. Fuzzy's features an outdoor patio, 17 HD TV's, Pool Table, Large Horseshoe Bar and all glass front to see the bikes roll in. Enjoy Great Food, Pool, and Your Favorite Sporting Events all on new Flat Screens every Thursday Night at The Newest Bike Night In the Far West Valley. Bike Night Specials Include: 2.25 Corona's, Corona Light, Dos XX, Dos XX Amber, Pacifico, Tecate. $3.00 Jalapeno Poppers. $4.00 Super Spuds. $5.00 Chicken Tenders. $6.00 Baby Burgers. From 6-9pm. Fuzzy's is located 18795 N. Reems Rd. in Surprise at the corner of Reems and Grand Ave.
The Bike Night At The Billet Bar. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures.
Every Saturday and Sunday
Western Trails Ranch Bike Weekends with live rock music Saturday and Sunday afternoons. We've got 12 acres of fun in a laid back Old West town. Two large dance floors for those of you who want to cut loose, and for those of you who really like to dance, we have 2 go-go cages up on the Buzzard's Stage. The Buzzard's Saloon is fully stocked with liquor and beer, including draft beer, and we have a large covered patio and lots of open air seating areas with picnic tables. Four regulation horseshoe pits, pool tables, life size chess and checkers. We offer a large flat screen TV so you don't miss any games or races. Every Sunday is our Parking Lot Flea Market from 9am to 3pm. NOW OPEN at the Ranch - Stage Stop Steakhouse & BBQ. The restaurant opens at 10am and besides steaks, BBQ ribs and pulled pork, they have hamburgers, chicken, biscuits and gravy and a really good breakfast burrito. The barbequed food is made in our all wood-burning smokers and pecan wood is used for the best flavor. This food is Biker Made- Biker Served. The Ranch is now open Wednesday's through Sunday's! (623) 521-0366. We are located at 37823 NW Grand Ave mile marker 124 ½ Morristown AZ smack dab in the middle of Surprise & Wickenburg - our website is westerntrailsranch.com
New Sunday Brunch at Salty Senorita's in Peoria.
Salty Senorita Sunday Biker Brunch. The Brunch Kicks Off This Sunday from 9:30am - 3pm. Stop for a great brunch, some giveaways and the Salty's VIP Card good for 15% off of your food. This is a great location for brunch on the West side, you will not believe how cool this place is. Mrs. C. and I had it last Sunday and it was excellent while dining on their 3000 sq. foot outdoor patio with great music and an excellent sound system that backs up to the baseball field at Peoria Sports Complex. Salty's Sunday Brunch features a "Build-Your-Own Omelet for just $7.99, possibly the best omelet you will ever have, or you can order off of Salty's Super Brunch menu. Salty's also has a Create-Your-Own Bloody Mary. Plan to make the first one on Sunday, April 13th. Salty's in Peoria is located at 8011 W. Paradise Lane just one block South of Bell Rd. and one block East of 83rd Ave. See you this Sunday. See Photos of "Who Was There" last Sunday.
The Popular Sugar Daddy's Sunday Biker Brunch. Voted Best Brunch in Phoenix New Times 2006. Sugar Daddy's is under new ownership and is undergoing a half million dollar makeover. The outdoor patio is being completely upgraded with new granite table tops and will be available for the new $9.00 all you can eat brunch. Sundays from 10am - 4pm. Live Music from 10am - 2pm.
Enjoy the patio with $2 mimosa's, $4 Skye Bloody Mary's.
Buffet includes: French Toast, Fruit, Eggs Benedict, Potatoes, Rice Veggies, Salad, Pasta Salad, Chicken Marsala, Biscuits and Gravy and much more. Sugar Daddy's is located at 3102 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale. 480-970-6556.
Sunday, April 20th
Cruise For a Cause. This 5th Annual Poker Run will benefit Hospice Family Care Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1995 and has improved the quality of life for hundreds of terminally ill patients and their families. With your financial support, the Foundation is able to improve the quality of life of those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and their families. A patient could receive a much needed wheelchair ramp; a caregiver could remain at home without financial worries in the final weeks of the patient's life; a family member or friend could be flown from another state to visit the patient plus many other needs. Activities scheduled include a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, and raffle prizes. Check in from 8-10am. Starts at The Detour located at 6403 W. Chandler Blvd. in Chandler. Ends at the Tumbleweed Inn, 3815 W. Frontier St. in Eloy. Day of event, $40 per person, $55 with passenger. Pre Registration $10 less. Free BBQ. Click Here to pre register.
Sunday, April 20th
1st Jacquelyn Waddell Memorial Poker Run & Desert Cruise, to benefit the Arizona National Guard. Event time: Registration and breakfast 7-9, Run start 9:30, Event location: Start and End at Waddell’s Longhorn Corral at, Description: 1st Jacquelyn Waddell Memorial Poker Run & Desert Cruise, to benefit the Arizona National Guard. April 20, 2008. Start and End at Waddell’s Longhorn Corral at 1629 N 195th Ave, (Exit 121 off I-10 / Jackrabbit Trail & McDowell) Buckeye, AZ Pre-register for free country breakfast. $10 per rider, $5 per passenger, $5 for country breakfast. Registration and breakfast 7-9, Run start 9:30. Prizes, contests, raffle, 50/50, Battle of the Bands, Elvis Impersonator, Vendor Shopping. For more info: Tom @ 623-848-0031 or Eaglepromotion@gmail.com.
Friday, April 25th
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Customs and Classics Car and Bike Show.
Back by popular demand! Friday, April 25th from
4pm - 8pm. No pre-registration necessary. Space is limited so plan on showing up early! The show is free to
enter and prizes will be awarded for the Peoples Choice car and bike. People’s Choice winners will receive 5 gallons
of racing fuel. Plaques will be awarded for second place, too. Entrants in the car and bike show will receive a
free event T-shirt. T-shirts can also be purchased onsite to benefit the Banner Thunderbird Safety Fair. We
will have a DJ providing music and NOS handing out samples of their drinks! Arrowhead HD is located at 16130 N.
Arrowhead Fountain Center. Dr. in
Saturday, April 26th
Buddy Stubbs Hogs, Dogs and Roller Derby. Ride in for the monthly Hogs and Dogs event at Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson, Saturday, April 26th, from 11 AM - 3 PM. There will be Free Food, Live Rock 'N Roll, Great Bikes for sale, up to 50% off on Motorclothes and general merchandise at our Sidewalk Sale, Buddy-led museum tours, and for the first time ever: a Roller Derby bout featuring the tough ladies of Arizona Roller Derby at 1 PM! Dealership located at 13850 North Cave Creek Rd. (just north of Cactus). For more information: 602-971-7401.
Saturday, April 26th
Tonto Bridge Bike and BBQ. This sounds like a good time and a good ride. Benefits Inner City Kids at Risk. Ride starts at It's a Grind Coffee House at 8386 W. Thunderbird Rd. in Peoria. Registration starts at 8am, Kickstands up at 10am. $25 per rider, $35 per couple. BBQ includes Burger, Chips, Beans, Soda, and Dessert. Goody Bags for all Participants. Horseshoes, hiking trails, volleyball, cards and other BBQ activities. Join in for a great ride to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park 10 miles North of Payson.
Saturday, April 26th
1st Annual BACA Maricopa County Chapter 100 Mile Ride and Fund Raiser, Event time: Registration begins @ 7am, Event time: Registration begins@ 7am, Event location: Peoria, Arizona, Description: 1st Annual BACA Maricopa County Chapter 100 Mile Ride and Fund Raiser. Registration Begins @ 7 am Arrowhead Harley-Davidson 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr. Peoria Arizona 85382. Ride leaves @ 8:30 am. $20.00 Donation per bike Meal tickets for $8.00 100% of the proceeds are for the support and empowerment of the children. Your donations are Tax deductible.
Sunday, April 27th
East Valley Biker Blessing. Bike Blessing takes place at Grace Community Church, 3147 S. Mountain View Rd. in Gold Canyon, AZ. Biker Service 10:30am. Biker Blessing following service. All Bikers Welcome. Food and Beverages provided. Live music by "Passage Paid". Free Ride Pin for the first 150 Riders. More information at 480-983-0560.
Sunday, April 27th
WSM Police Law Ride. Poker Run to Honor Arizona's Fallen Police Heroes. Sign In at Chandler Harley-Davidson from 8am - 10am. Get a chance to win a great prize at every stop. Route includes 5 poker stops and ends with lunch, cash giveaway and Grand prize giveaways. $500 to the 50/50 winner. $20 per bike, Ride Shirts for $15 each before the ride. Click Here for more information.
In light of the above editorial rant. Here is a pretty funny video of an exuberant weatherman. You make the call. Click Here to View.
Watch that first step! Pretty unbelievable. She might have broken a mug. Click Here to View.
This is hilarious. Can't believe this guy restrained himself from slipping out an expletive. If this would have been the weatherman from above, he would be in the hospital. Click Here to View.
His is one for you old Heart Fans. This is Heart and Fergie doing Heart's song Barracuda. Really good. Click Here to View.
I look forward to seeing you at openings of all of the New Bike Nights and Days listed above over the next week.