Bikers heading to Harrodsburg Saturday


It's a pretty vivacious, friendly group that meets at Sonic in Danville every Thursday. The non-riders stand out like sore thumbs, but the motorcyclists gathered merely cast inquisitive looks or smiles on the newcomers.

About 105 motorcycles made an appearance Thursday. Many of them will be at the 10th Annual Harley/Motorcycle Meet Saturday in downtown Harrodsburg, hosted by Harrodsburg First.

Don Carney, who has attended several of the motorcycle meets in Harrodsburg and plans to be there Saturday, rode up on his Volusia-model 2002 Suzuki Intruder. It's made in a "cruiser style," he says, with an 800 cc engine. The cruiser-style denotation in part refers to a larger rear seat for a passenger, he notes.

Carney praises the annual motorcycle meet in Harrodsburg.

"It's one of the few towns that will shut down Main Street (for the motorcycles)," Carney explains. "You can show (your motorcycle) off, talk about it, brag about it and swear it's the fastest on Earth."


Usually, a few enthusiasts will rev their engines loud enough to turn heads and bring smiles to faces. Carney says the law enforcement is good about letting go of a little noise.

"The police are supportive, very cooperative," he notes, adding motorcyclists from about a 100-mile radius will ride to the meet. "Hats off to them for letting a few sound off their pipes."

300 to 500 bikes were there last year

The motorcycle meet is a good event for Harrodsburg, Carney says. Last year, he estimates, 300 to 500 bikes rode to Harrodsburg.

"The meet brings people to Main Street. It introduces people to Harrodsburg."

Carney calls his Suzuki a "Harley clone." But he also owns a Harley Sportster.

"I've been buying bikes for 30 or 40 years," he says, adding he was buying some of the fastest bikes going back in the 1970s and '80s.

His Suzuki, which was rated by Rider magazine as the "best all-around mid-size bike," Carney says, is a comfortable ride. The Sportster is for the short rides, he adds.

James "Rap" Hilpl smiles, the movement deepening the creases in his lined, weathered face. He'll be at the motorcycle meet Saturday with his 2002 Harley-Davidson Electraglide. His wife, Judy, will be the motorcycle decoration on the back of what she calls the "UK blue" dresser.

"My wife sits in the back and falls asleep," Hilpl says with another grin.

He points out saddlebags and the tour pack on the bike that he bought new. He's been riding motorcycles since the 1960s, and pretty much always has had Harleys, he says.

"They're what I got hooked on and stayed on," Hilpl explains. "But I have friends who ride import bikes."

He pauses, as if re-thinking that last statement.

"It's not what you're sitting on," he says. "It's what's in your heart."

Many members of In the Wind Social Club were at Sonic

Hilpl is president for the In the Wind Social Club, for which his wife serves as secretary and treasurer, and Jackie Smith serves as road captain. Many of the club's members were at Sonic Thursday. Literature for the club says, "The only requirements for joining our group is loving the motorcycle way of life and letting the members get to know you."

Hilpl says he got hooked on Harleys because "they're part of American history."

"They've been involved in all the major wars, and they were there when we needed them," he explains. "They're still around. Harleys are part of American culture."

His Harley has about 20,000 miles on it right now. His longest trip on it, Hilpl says, was to West Palm Beach, Fla. But he's traveled all over the Northeast and Southeast on other motorcycles, he says.

Randy Asberry, another motorcyclist at Sonic Thursday who will be at the motorcycle meet, says he bought his 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 in February.

"I went all the way to Florida to get it," Asberry notes, adding it was 1,000 miles one way on that trip. "I bought it over the Internet. There's a little over 5,100 miles (that I) put on it."

Mike Woodall has a little-seen 1985 Honda V65. Honda only made that model for four years, he notes, and Woodall has owned his for seven months. Already he has put 10,000 miles on it.

"I do a lot of riding," Woodall says, adding his longest ride has been to Tennessee.

He has been on bikes since he was 6. When asked why he liked the motorcycle way of life, he says it's hard to explain.

Says Asberry, "It's a stress reliever."

Woodall nods.

"I like the freedom (of being on a motorcycle). It takes every bit of stress away."

Nick Floyd points out his 1997 Suzuki Intruder that is parked amidst the sea of motorcycles. He's had it a year-and-a-half and in that time has put almost 11,000 miles on it.

"I like everything about this bike," Floyd says. "It's my baby."

Admonishes Asberry, "It's family first and then the bike."

Asberry's statement reflects another of the club's basic precepts: "After all, family does come first. We just enjoy spending time with our biker family."

Perhaps one of the oldest members at the Thursday gathering was Bob Miller, "from the metro area of Lancaster," he says. At 75, he's been riding for 63 years. His 71-year-old brother also is a motorcycle rider.

The Saturday event also will feature popular local band Billyblues, which will perform 6-8 p.m. Making a return appearance this year is the Harley Fashion Show, which showcases the latest in leather and biker fashions. Several rides will be scheduled throughout Mercer County during the event.

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