Gold Wing riders to meet in Evart this weekend

EVART — Hundreds of motorcyclists from around Michigan and the Midwest will ride into the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Evart this weekend for the annual Gold Wing Road Riders Association district meeting.

The Gold Wing organization, founded in 1977, considers itself the world’s largest single-marquee motorcycle association in the world, promoting safety, technical and educational services to members around the world. There are Gold Wing chapters all over the state, including Big Rapids, Clare and Scottville.

Bob Scott, Michigan’s district director, said this year’s rally will include several rider education seminars, vendors with motorcycle-related products, and guided or independent rides throughout the countryside.

“We’re going to have Gold Wing motorcyclists from Michigan, some from Ohio and Indiana and other states, and probably even some from Canada coming,” he said. “The backbone of the organization is rider safety. Chapters throughout the state hold rider safety seminars for members and non-members to teach them how to ride their bikes as safely as they can.

“Every time you’re safe while you’re riding, it’s to your and everyone’s benefit.”

Scott, a Gold Wing member for more than a decade, estimates around 400 riders will arrive for the many different safety seminars while meeting up with new and old friends.

“Gold Wing is a network of friends throughout the state,” he said. “We meet at different times and places, and the big thing is you’re never too far away from someone you know.”

The theme for this weekend’s rally is “Gunsmoke,” the classic radio and television western drama series.

“There’s going to be folks out at the fairgrounds in cowboy hats and everything,” said Scott, who has served as district director for two years. “It’s exciting, and it’s going to be really fun.”

Aside from the safety and educational seminars on the schedule, Scott said the organization will hold its “big” raffle and award $10,000 in prizes on Saturday night.

“Members have been selling tickets since the first of the year,” he said. “Proceeds from the raffle tickets are then contributed to the Rainbow Connection, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening diseases.”

Scott said members are hosting a blood drive on Saturday. The public is invited to participate.

On Saturday night, Gold Wing riders will hit the road for a light show parade down Main Street in Evart, which the public also is invited to watch.

“We appreciate the cooperation we’ve had from Evart and the community,” he said. “It seems to be a very nice place for our rally, as we were there last year, back this year and plan to be back next year.

“Evart has definitely become a favorite place of ours.”