RALEIGH, N.C. - The rich history of African-American riders will be showcased during the inaugural Iron Elite Celebration Aug. 17 at Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh.
Iron Elite riders are known for their custom bikes, which reflect each rider’s personality.
“We’re expecting more than 1,000 people to attend the first-ever Iron Elite event held in North Carolina,” said Kris Weiss, director of marketing and promotions. “Iron Elite riders bring their own journeys and unique motorcycles to the community. This special camaraderie is a big part of our riding culture, and it’s a lifestyle for of those who like to get in the wind.”
Historic black bikers include William B. Johnson, the first African-American Harley-Davidson dealer; Bessie Stringfield, the first black woman to ride solo across the country; and Benny Hardy, an influential motorcycle club leader who created Captain America for the movie “Easy Rider.”
History shows that all-black and integrated motorcycle clubs began forming in the 1950s, creating a positive place for like-minded people to find camaraderie and enjoy the freedom of the ride. The Iron Elite journey is celebrated in a series of short documentary videos at the Iron Elite website set up as a collaboration between Harley-Davidson and Rides magazine.
“Now, it’s not a matter of color, it’s just a matter of all being as one,” said one Iron Elite rider featured in the videos. “You never meet someone of color; you just meet someone who’s riding a Harley.”
Motorcyclists from across the state are invited to ride in and enter the Iron Elite Bike Show. Registration begins at 10 a.m., with judging at noon and trophies presented at 3 p.m. All makes and models are welcome in categories that include: Touring, Dyna, Sportster, V-Rod, Softail, Metric Sport, Metric Cruiser, Metric Touring and Euro. Winners and runners-up in each category will be awarded trophies and cash prizes, including a “People’s Choice” award. There is a $10 entry fee.
The free-admission event is the first of its kind in North Carolina. Activities are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and include live music, a bike show, a fashion show, vendors and food trucks. A special Iron Elite exhibit will display historic memorabilia.
Posted by Holly Wagner