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Ride of the Patriot XXII
Thank you for your interest in volunteering for The Ride of the Patriots®
Read about the opportunities below and if then you want to volunteer, just click the Volunteer Here!
link in the left panel.
Planning and preparation for this event starts in January and lasts through June. Most volunteers
are involved only on Memorial Day weekend, but some activity is required in April and early May.
Why should you volunteer? Of course, there's the standard reason that you will be helping
a good cause and contributing to the overall success of the event and that will make you feel pretty darn
good. Another, less lofty, reason is that all volunteers will receive a volunteer pass to stage in
the Patriot H-D parking lot the morning of the ride to Rolling Thunder®. Without that pass
you will staging on the street with the other 4,499 bikes.
Who can volunteer? Members in good standing of the Fairfax VA Chapter, Harley Owners Group.
Here are some of the volunteer opportunities:
Candlelight Vigil Ride RC/TG. This is our ride to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) on Friday evening. The ride is open to all Chapter members and their guests. There are usually between 60 and 80 bikes so you can volunteer as a Road Captain or Tail Gunner. So, we typically need six to eight RCs and TGs. You must be certified by the Fairfax VA Chapter as a Road Captain to volunteer for this activity.
- Candlelight Vigil Ride Passenger Carrier. We get requests from a few non-riders to be a passenger so they can attend this event with us. This is a team of experienced, competent riders on dressers, and maybe with a spare helmet, who act as ambassadors of the Chapter and dealership and skillfully carry their charge on to the vigil and return them safely to the the staging area.
- Open House Support. (Full) The open house coordinators need four volunteers in the morning and four volunteers in the evening to assist them in setting up tables, chairs, tents, etc. and tearing it all down afterwards.
- Store Security. These members provide security at the entrance of the store during the chaotic period that the dealership is open on Sunday morning.
- Advance Team. New in 2018! This team departs before the main group to meet
up with Rolling Thunder parking teams at the Pentagon. They organize and arrange for the smooth,
seamless transition from the Fairfax & Arlington motor squads to the Rolling
Thunder north parking crew. Members are staged at strategic spots along the route inside the
Pentagon perimeter to make sure our group makes it to the reserved lanes. An
added benefit for this team is that they stage at the head of our group at the
- Parade Staging. (Full) This group of hearty souls meet at Capt. Pell's on Fairfax Boulevard early Sunday morning and organize the parade participants and their vehicles. This is critical activity because it kicks off the morning activities and must be precisely ON TIME!
- Parking Lot Control.
- Friday. Friday before Memorial Day at Patriot Harley-Davidson is always busy and crowded with thousands of bikes arriving from all over the country. Out-of-towners know that this is probably the best day to visit the dealership. We will need a total of ten volunteers to control the parking lot for motorcycles only in two shifts from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
(Full) We need five to eight volunteers from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
(Full) We need five to eight volunteers from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. You will have time after your shift to stage for the Candlelight Vigil Ride.
AM & PM Shifts: (Full) About 3,000 to 4,000 bikes will flood in to the Patriot H-D parking lot and overflow lot from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the Open House. A lot of bikes, huh? How do they all get in and out of those lots quickly and safely? Easy! We have two teams of 12 volunteers who work the morning and afternoon shifts to guide bikes in and out of the lot. You know Harley riders. They want to park their bikes where they want to park them, not where you tell them to park. So, this job tests your diplomatic skills to the max. If diplomacy doesn't work - get tough. They're going to park where you tell them or they're not gonna park. Simple.
- Sunday. (Full) A variety of folks are allowed to stage in the Patriot H-D parking lot the morning of the ride. There are VVIPs, VIPs, Fire/EMT/Police, Volunteers and current and past Officers of the Chapter. There are specific areas set aside for each. They arrive between 5:30 and 8:00 a.m. The parking lot crew gets them safely positioned as they arrive and then controls the departure sequence.
- Bike Staging. (Full) These folks carefully and sternly park a mile-long, four-abreast line of bikes stretching from the dealership back to and past Capt Pell's. There's only a handful of volunteers for this huge job so they are anything but bored.
Pins and Merchandise. Each year we commission a commemorative pin to mark the event. This team of 10 or so members give one and all the opportunity to have one of our commemorative pins in exchange for $5.00 or our challenge coin for $10.00. The team begins selling the coins and pins as soon as we receive them from the vendor. They sell at the April and May Chapter meetings, the Candlelight Vigil on Friday evening, the Open House on Saturday and the ride on Sunday. They're a busy bunch and through their efforts we make a lot of people happy and pay the bills.
Photographers. Memories are short-lived for most of us. Each year this team of about 10 talented shutter bugs snap photos all weekend long. They take your picture when you're looking and especially when you're not. After the dust settles they turn their photos over to the lead photog on CDs or DVDs so we can post them on this website for all to enjoy and refresh their memories.
- Passenger Carriers. Every year we get requests from non-riders to go on the Candlelight Vigil Ride (maybe two) and the ride to Rolling Thunder (sometimes 10 or more). This is a team of experienced, competent riders on dressers, and maybe with a spare helmet, who act as ambassadors of the Chapter and dealership and skillfully carry their charge on the ride and return them safely to the dealership. Of course most of the passengers are good looking and single, so this might be something you would want to do - assuming your spouse will let you.
- Fairfax VA Chapter Booth. (Full) These volunteers man the Chapter information and merchandise booth during the open house. The booth also serves as an information center for local activities, accommodations and eateries.
Site Housekeeping and Post Event. (Full) This dedicated group of a dozen or so volunteers work their collect butts off the morning of the ride. They have to assemble and distribute 40 boxes as trash containers, tape information posters on them and distribute them around the parking lot and down the staging line on Fairfax Boulevard. There's a lot of standing around after that until the ceremonies are over and the ride clears the area. Then it's time undo all they've done, make sure the area is spic 'n span, return the parade cars to the dealer and the gator to the high school. Not all of the team is required to stay back and not ride. Most of the team rides with us to Rolling Thunder, but a handful are needed for post-event activities.
- Operations. This team of about six volunteers starts their tasks in early May by contacting and coordinating with local merchants up and down Fairfax Boulevard, Old Lee Highway and downtown Fairfax City. The pass out flyers and posters to the merchants and encourage them to display them for all to see. They coordinate with local eateries and hotels to prepare them for the onslaught of bikers who will be joining us from around the nation. The morning of the ride they provide critical logistical support for the parade staging team and bike staging team by providing them with water, sunscreen and any other creature comforts needed - don't read into that. They use a gator and golf cart to shuttle up and down the staging line delivering and picking up volunteers as needed.
- Falls Church Memorial Day Parade. This is a group of dedicated Chapter members who participate in this patriotic event every year. The group meets up at the dealership to depart at 12:00pm to the parade staging area in Falls Church. Staging must be complete by 1:00pm for a 2:00pm parade start. The parade is usually over by about 3:00pm.