Editors Blog: Willie G. and the Pope Mark Harley-Davidson Milestone

Head of Catholic church signs gas tanks

Next June, tens of thousands of Harley-Davidson riders and fans from around the globe are expected to make their way to Rome, Italy, to celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary and the shared passion for freedom that unites riders everywhere.

On Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI—along with Willie G. Davidson, grandson of one of Harley-Davidson’s founders, and his son, Bill Davidson, vice president of the Harley-Davidson Museum—launched the countdown to Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary event in Italys capital city, which will take place on June 13-16, 2013. The men marked the event by presenting two commemorative motorcycle gas tanks to the Pope for a blessing. The tanks will be signed by Pope Benedict, Willie G., and Bill and mounted on two motorcycles—one will return to the company’s hometown of Milwaukee and be displayed at the Harley-Davidson Museum, while the other will be auctioned off to support the Good Samaritan Foundation.

Pope Benedict XVI and Willie G. Davidson shake hands and share a moment after signing motorcycle tanks that will be auctioned off next year.

“The 110th Anniversary Celebration will be a rockin’ party and so much more,” said Ken Ostermann, Harley-Davidson’s general manager of international marketing operations. “Along with next year’s 110th anniversary events around the world, the event in Rome is truly the most epic way we can show our thanks for the 110 years of riding and fun our passionate fans have given Harley-Davidson.”

Highlights of Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary Celebration in Rome next year include a party in the Port of Ostia, a parade through the heart of Rome, two headlining concerts at Stadio Olimpico and a papal bike blessing at St. Peter’s Square.

“We’re anticipating next year’s celebration in Rome to be one of the largest events we’ve ever held outside the U.S.,” said Ostermann. “That is a strong testament to our continued global transformation as we respond to our growing fan base all over the world.”

Connecting Fans Globally
The Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Celebration is a year-long global celebration of the enduring ideals that unite independents everywhere: freedom, rebellion and authenticity. The celebration will feature 12 anniversary experiences that the company will bring to existing motorcycle events in global markets through September 2013. The events will span 11 countries on six continents.

Capping the global experiences are two main anniversary events in Rome and Milwaukee. The event in Milwaukee will take place on August 31 through September 2, 2013, and will be an expanded celebration including fan-organized rides to the city, a party on the shores of Lake Michigan, a massive parade, activities at the Harley-Davidson Museum and three headlining concerts.

Join the Celebration Online
Harley-Davidson fans are invited to join the celebration online, where they can share their personal stories and riding experiences on Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #HD110, and at 110.Harley-Davidson.com. The website features details about the 110th anniversary events and content posted from fans around the world.

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