The House of Harley-Davidson supports dozens of charities throughout any given year.
But in 2012, our most exciting new community initiative was the inaugural Law Enforcement Ride, benefiting Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). We started by forming a planning committee, made up of officers from each of the jurisdictions for which the House performs service work, plus three House of Harley staff members. The committee met monthly for nearly a year to plan the event including the route, the landing spot, the post-party, and the beneficiary of it all. C.O.P.S. is a nationwide program which supports the families of fallen officers. There is no greater sacrifice than that in the line of duty, so it was a natural fit. The most significant task that the committee was charged with was spreading the word about this amazing, first-annual event!
The morning of the ride arrived and brought rain clouds with it. Dozens of uniformed police officers lined up their bikes and dozens of tried-and-true riders lined up behind them. After just a 20-minute delay of the start time, the storm passed and the ride took off without a hitch! The best part of a police-led ride? The escorts, of course! The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office closed the interstate for our group, and it was an amazing experience to sail onto the highway as dozens of cars were stopped by the Sheriff’s deputies. Talk about a VIP experience! From there, the ride headed onto some of the most scenic roads in southeast Wisconsin, and didn’t stop for a single traffic light the entire way.
Our final destination was Holy Hill, a famously beautiful national Basilica, for a once-in-a-lifetime bike blessing. Not only did the rain stop as soon as we hit the road, but the sun broke through the clouds as soon as we landed at Holy Hill. It was truly a sign that the riders were meant to be there that day. Riders were given three suggested routes back to the House for the amazing post-party: one to hammer home, one for a beginning-level rider, and one full of switchbacks and hills for advanced riders. Participants all made their way back to the dealership for live music, food, beer, and auction items all benefiting C.O.P.S. The first-annual Law Enforcement Ride benefiting C.O.P.S. was a huge success. Thousands of dollars were raised to go to both local and national chapters of C.O.P.S., we joined municipalities to support a greater cause, and best of all we gave the experience of a lifetime to the riders who joined us.