38th annual Fall Ride rumbles into Tomahawk next week
Four-day event is Muscular Dystrophy Association’s biggest fundraiser in northern Wisconsin
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
TOMAHAWK – Tomahawk will once again feel the thunder as the 38th annual Fall Ride kicks off next week.
One of the state’s largest motorcycle gatherings and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)’s biggest fundraiser in northern Wisconsin, the rally will be held from Thursday, Sept. 12 through Sunday, Sept. 15.
The Fall Ride has raised millions of dollars for the MDA since 1983, when about 300 riders on 160 motorcycles took part in a 90-mile ride on Lincoln County backroads and raised $350 for the cause. These days, attendance numbers in the tens of thousands as riders from all over the country descend on the area for the event.
Throughout the long weekend, activities take place at multiple venues in and around Tomahawk.
At SARA Park on W. Somo Ave., the MDA’s Fall Ride headquarters, all proceeds are guaranteed to benefit the cause. Raffle bike ticket sales, merchandise vendor displays and sales, food and beverage vendors, raffles, a children’s area, official Fall Ride merchandise sales, Harley-Davidson Tomahawk Operations merchandise sales and live music, along with the Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce’s annual bonfire Thursday night, are all held at SARA Park. Cards for the three MDA Fun Runs are also available for purchase.
Among the events held Downtown is the Thunder Parade. All riders are invited to take part in the free 18-mile ride, with lineup starting at the Tomahawk School District complex at 5 p.m. and departure at 6 p.m. Riders will wind their way along area backroads before returning to downtown Tomahawk, where W. Wisconsin Ave. will be lined with spectators watching the parade roar through town.
Another highlight occurring downtown, the Street Dances take place at each end of W. Wisconsin Ave. both Friday and Saturday nights. Following the Friday night Thunder Parade, catch Cherry Pie at the west end of the street. Vada’s Rockhouse will take the stage on the east end at 7 p.m. Saturday’s Street Dances feature Ripple Effect on the east end from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and HYDE on the west end from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Wurl-Feind-Ingman Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2687 in Tomahawk will carry on its tradition of honoring our nation’s veterans in downtown Tomahawk during this year’s Fall Ride. Returning this year is the “MASH” tent on S. 2nd St., where Fall Ride goers can meet veterans and learn about veterans programs. 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 veterans’ Fall Ride pins will be available. From Thursday, Sept. 12 through Saturday, Sept. 14, attendees can enjoy “Breakfast with a Vet” at the VFW hall at 203 S. 4th St. Served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., the breakfast will feature pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits & gravy, coffee and juice, all for $10. Non-profits and others will be serving food and beverages on 2nd and 3rd Streets, with food stands open from 11 a.m. to close. Bars Rosie’s and The Swamp will open Friday at 2 p.m.
Fall Ride goers will once again have the opportunity to tour Harley-Davidson Tomahawk Operations Somo Plant at 426 E. Somo Ave. during the Fall Ride Open House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14. Visitors can see Harley-Davidson motorcycle components being painted and pinstriped. All tour participants must wear fully enclosed shoes and be at least 12 years old.
At Nokomis Community Park north of Tomahawk on County Highway L, “Bubba” Troutman’s memory lives on with Bubba’s Big Party, being held this year from Monday, Sept. 9 through Sunday, Sept. 15. Live music, food and merchandise vendors, vending show, swap meet, lawn mower and barstool races, helicopter rides, pancake breakfast, and a car, truck and bike show are all on the docket for this year’s Big Party.
Each year, the Tomahawk Leader publishes the official Fall Ride Guide, a pocket-sized book that will keep you informed on all of the events taking place during the rally. Featuring area businesses, a handy live music listing, a rundown of MDA’s SARA Park activities, information on the Street Dances, a list of non-profit food vendors and more, the Guide is a must-have for any Fall Ride attendee.
Copies of the Fall Ride Guide are available at the Tomahawk Leader office at 315 W. Wisconsin Ave., along with businesses throughout the Northwoods. Guides can also be found during the Fall Ride at SARA Park, the Harley-Davidson Somo Plant and Bubba’s Big Party.
Be sure to check out both the print edition of the Tomahawk Leader and tomahawkleader.com for photos from the 38th annual Fall Ride.