Harley-Davidsons “Celebrate Women Riders” Event

Relive the memories, or see what you missed

Story and photos by Genevieve Schmitt, click on thumbnails for slideshow
On May 22 and 23, more than 1000 women rode to Milwaukee for Harley-Davidsons first two-day rally celebrating women riders. There were demo rides, seminars, and a lot of riding opportunities as local dealers and merchants hosted riding events. Click on the photos to view them in a slideshow.

Heavy fog looms behind me as I cross the bridge from the Iron Horse Hotel to the Harley-Davidson Museum for the start of the Celebrate Women Riders event. Museum is there somewhere! I have the fog to thank for my frizzy hair!

Im told fog like this is very unusual. Its coming in from nearby Lake Michigan. As a result temps were chilly that morning. Heres part of the set up for the event before riders arrived.
Local dealers held group rides all heading to the Museum for the event. The first group arrives out of the fog.
Many of the riders are all smiles as they ride into the parking lot greeted by a crowd of onlookers including me with my camera.
The air was filled with sense of celebration of just being a woman on a motorcycle
Volunteers direct the riders where to park as the arrive.
Its fun to see the unique and individual style of each woman rider as she cruises in on her motorcycle.
Beth Manges from Brookfield, Wisconsin, rode in on her Sportster 1200 Low.
Leslie Prevish, manager of Harley-Davidsons womens outreach, holds a proclamation that the city of Milwaukee issued making that day Women Riders Day.
The infamous “flag” bike escorted the Diamond Posse in from a nearby location as they finished up their 2,000 mile ride. Five women rode from Texas to Milwaukee to raise money for the Fallen Heroes Fund. Visit our story to learn more.
WRNs Diva Amy on her sparkly Diva Glide is part of the Diamond Posse. She leads the group into the Museum lot.
Cat Hammes, another Diamond Posse member rides in. Cat is known as the “One Legged Blonde” because she rides with a prosthetic leg.
Cher Bell, owner of Rebel Girl, maker of fun motorcycle themed clothing and accessories, poses with her man, Joe.
Chris Bailey of Vestal, New York, rode out with a few others on her 2003 Dyna Super Glide. “This is my very first long voyage on my own bike, and this is an amazing event. Im a goose bump from head to toe.”
They call themselves “Old Bags On Bikes.” Adeline Cannone on the left; Cat Grabowski on the right. Theyre part of a group of women riders who tour the country.
The opening ceremonies take place on the lawn in front of the Museum.

Karen Davidson talks to the crowd about why Harley chose to have such an event, part of it being that women are the fastest growing group of new riders.
This was not a women only event by any means. There were plenty of men in the crowd, like this guy who accompanied his female significant other who rode her bike.
Myrna Zamatta rode in with her husband from Oelwein, Iowa. Shes been riding for 34 years. This 2000 Fat Boy is bike number four. It has 80,000 miles on it.
Paul James, communications manager with Harley-Davidson, brought his daughter Faith to the event. They were celebrating her 11th birthday that day.
Sixty-three-year-old Red Burman, from Amherst, Ohio, a recently retired nurse, rode in on her Honda Gold Wing with Roadsmith trike conversion. She said she traded in all her diamonds and jewelry and started buying chrome for her bike. Thats all she wants these days.
Demo rides were available to everyone whether you registered or not.
Me with my bud Diva Amy. So glad she and the Diamond Posse arrived safely after their week-long journey.
(L-r): Leslie Stache, Lori Ehiel, Allison Stache, and Cheri Oertel all from Wisconsin wearing their pink boas. “We thought it was a great time to differentiate ourselves from other women but also celebrate women riders,” they said.
Mary Tysen from Milwaukee on her Spyder RS. She put 5000 miles on a Sportster and a Buell Lightning but had issues with balance. So she bought a Spyder because she rides mostly with sportbikes and wanted the agility the three-wheeler provides.
With WRN fan Sherri Simmers. She sells motorcycles at Heart of Dixie Harley-Davidson in Pelham, Alabama.
Char Zack recently formed Raw Advocates, a non-profit group to raise money to purchase battered women shelters in cities across America. Visit RawAdvocates.org.
Loves this shot of woman giving her bike some TLC in the parking lot of the Iron Horse Hotel.
Five hundred woman rode in the parade that snaked through downtown Milwaukee with bystanders cheering them on. Men were allowed to follow on their bikes after the women.
The parade slows down as riders make their way into a large parking lot downtown to enjoy a street party that included a band and a few vendors.
At the street party on stage with Karen Davidson are Diamond Posse members led by Vicki Roberts SanFelipo (with mic). Vicki shared why they did the ride.
Even non-riders wanted to be part of the action. I saw several motorcycles with women riding two-up like this.
From the back he looked just too cute.
Then he turned around and I fell in love with this cutie pie!

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6 thoughts on Harley-Davidsons “Celebrate Women Riders” Event

  1. Really would have loved to attend that this year, but planning for it in 2011. If anyone has any updates or information please forward them to me.

    1. Rest assured, we will be one of the first or the first news outlets to report on the details of Harley’s women rider event in 2011. I have heard they are having one, for the record, because last year was so successful.

  2. Attended… loved being there with “The Girls.” Must say the best part was befriending a new rider – experiencing Milwaukee and her first long road trip for the first time. It was refreshing to see how excited and enthusiastic she was for those few days – and she soaked up every riding tip like a sponge. Brings back memories….

  3. Since I retired at the end of this school year, I hope to make this ride next year. My 2008 Softail Heritage Classic needs a multi-state trip.

  4. Hope to do that ride sometime in the near future on my new 2009 Dyna Super Glide.

  5. I was there. What a great time to spend with other women riders. I especially liked the self defense seminar offered on Sunday.

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