Brazilian bike clubbers come together for 5,000-mile journey to Milwaukee
The passion that hard-core riders have for Harley-Davidson often knows no boundaries, whether they be regional, cultural, international or any other degree of separation you can imagine.
Three Brazilian riders who I met at the Club H.O.G. 25 event (more on that later) at Miller Park on Wednesday brought that bond home to Milwaukee big time.
Husband and wife Alexandre Rodrigues and Paula Bauaresco of Sao Paulo, Brazil, were getting their picture taken in the HogTales booth when a friend/MDA volunteer suggested they might make a good story.
As H.O.G. local club directors in Sao Paulo, Paula and Alexandre were part of a group of about 74 riders and half as many bikes that flew to Las Vegas and rode to Milwaukee for the 105th Anniversary. One of those traveling with the group was Luiz Silvia from the Rebel Biker Motorcycle Club in Sao Paulo.
While their clubs may do their own thing in Brazil, Paula, Alexandre and Luiz were on the same page for their trip to the States and Milwaukee. The H.O.G. chapter has more than 1,000 members, while the Rebel Bikers has around 100.
“We’re just here hanging out with no problems,” Paula said. “We might have different members and different ways of recruiting them, but we’re here for the same reasons. We just want to ride and have fun.”
Their Brazilian group was on a 13-day trip that included a ride from Vegas to Milwaukee, culminating in visits to the major 105th Anniversary events. Besides all the traditional sites like Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and Jackson Hole, Paula especially enjoyed the bridges of Madison County, Iowa, from the well-known American novel/movie.
Paula and Alexandre were enjoying this ride together on a rented Electra Glide in order to “make her butt happy,” according to Paula. At home in Sao Paulo, she enjoys riding her Sportster 883 Custom, while Alexandre rides a Fat Boy.
While this trip may be once-in-a-lifetime for many in their group, Paula and Alexandre had been here for a Route 66 ride a few years back. As cool as that may have been, the 105th was a different experience.
During our brief visit at Club H.O.G., the Brazilians gladly talked up their trip and took pictures holding up flags for anyone with a camera.
Other than the Brazilians, thousands of other H.O.G. members and their guests took in the events at Miller Park. Besides musical acts ranging from Kid Rock to Sugarland to Joan Jett, there was no shortage of activities and eye candy like top comedians, stunt shows, drill teams, the Wall of Ink and a Ride-In Show.
The Wall of Ink surrounding the concert venue featured pictures of hundreds biker tattoos were emotional, comical and scary all at the same time.
As for the Ride-In Show, I was disappointed that I missed a couple bikes entered by Tommy Savage of Winterville, N.C. Savage won one antique class with a 1930 30C model and also entered a 1976 SS 250, the same year and model that I own and could only dream of restoring to the quality of Savage’s work.
On a personal note, my day at Club H.O.G. was made when I saw a great friend, Tom Urbanski of Milwaukee, enjoying the festivities. Tom lost his wife to cancer a few years back only to face his own brutal battle with throat cancer during the last year. As a Vietnam Vet and retired police officer and firefighter, Tom is getting back into riding on his Firefighter Special Road King. He and his family are true heroes not only for his service to our country and community, but also for fighting courageous battles against a terrible disease.
Club H.O.G. 25 was a good day to be reminded of what really matters in more ways than one.