We won’t say “goodbye;” we will just say “adios mi amigo” to Willie G. On April 29, he retired as senior vice president and chief styling officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and also as head of Harley-Davidson’s Willie G. Davidson Product Development Center. Willie G. is 78, but if we are lucky, we will still see him around at a rally or on a tour. He says he can’t just quit. “I’ve had gasoline in my veins from day one.” Of all the bikes Willie G. designed, he is most proud of the Street Glide. He said, “I was the author of that bike, and it’s become our number one seller.” I met him once, and I still have my T-shirt from a 1998 H.O.G. tour, personally autographed by Willie G. and Nancy… Happy birthday to all Harley riders who celebrate in June. Happy birthday to IHR members Ed Linderman in Shingle Springs, and Rod Colman in Hollister. In Santa Cruz to Everett Downs, Adam Kraten, Russ Nagle and Teresa Pellemeier. Happy birthday to Robert Kishi of the Stockton H.O.G., Amy DeNero of the Santa Cruz chapter of Monterey Bay H.O.G., to Barbara and Barron Sundancer of Vacaville, David Moreno of the San Gabriel Valley H.O.G. in Diamond Bar, Les “Raptor” Winkler of the Solano County Marines MC, and to Jim Greer of the Hot Chocolate Gang in Santa Nella… Yowzer! Congratulations are in order for Ron Vonsild, in charge of membership for ABATE Local 17. He has been riding almost 34 years and has been on dirt bikes and a Honda. Ron recently went into Iron Steed Harley in Vacaville and traded a 2004 Honda Shadow Sabre for a 2004 Electra Glide Classic—his first Harley. It’s a beauty, too… The Iron Steed H.O.G. chapter is mourning the loss of member Dan White. He will be missed by many friends and family… I had such a fun and entertaining e-mail from Matt Koch of the Santa Cruz chapter of Monterey H.O.G. He said that the “Trees Award” still survives in Santa Cruz H.O.G., and after reading my column, which told of TreesnTaz giving up their bikes, he reported to the April meeting that “…the namesake of our award and the poet laureate emeritus were riding no more, and offered a toast to the men.” Recalling that the Trees Award is to be a lighthearted poke, Matt sent me his poem describing his own “buffoonery.” I sent his message on to TreesnTaz, and I do believe that Matt will be nominated to succeed Taz as “poet laureate”… TreesnTaz, you must remember Robert Oley from Santa Cruz. He called me the other day to have me say hello to you, and he wants Taz to know how much he relates to him. Robert has moved to Cody, Wyoming, and rides all the time. He has fought through nose and throat cancer and now has prostate cancer. He said he takes after his Uncle Bud, who never owned four wheels and died riding a bike. Robert says he won’t ever give it up either. As a Vietnam veteran exposed to Agent Orange, and as a chip off Uncle Bud’s block, Robert plans to die on a bike. In fact, check this out; Robert has planned to be mummified and buried sitting on his Softtail. Now, he was not being a bit morbid about all this, and I did promise him that THUNDER PRESS would say hello and send best wishes to his son, Nathan. Nate is a registered nurse and staff sergeant in the Army, and he is going on his fourth tour of Afghanistan. He is hoping for a chance to go to OCS (Officer Candidate School) to become a doctor. The best of luck to all you Oleys… I was out blowing off some dust recently and saw a patch that was new to me. The colors were grey, black and white, and it said, “SB Freaks MC.” I must have been hiding under a rock because they have been around for over 10 years. The club originated in the Bay Area and the SB used to stand for Sport Bike. A few years ago, the SB was changed to mean Street Bike. Members go for extreme stunt riding on the streets. I am sure you guys are good at what you do; just use extreme caution when you are extreme stunt riding. Don’t be freaking me out!… At the gathering for a run, I saw an old friend of mine, Curtis Hill. Curtis was with the nicest young lady whom he introduced as his niece, Sammy Lee. Sammy goes to Vaca High and is president of the Peace Jam Club. She said the club supports local charities and events and lends a helping hand anytime they can. Sammy also loves riding the Harley behind Uncle Curtis. So, on this day she was able to combine her club interests and her love of riding. She was there to support the charity and to give publicity to Peace Jam. Good going, Sammy. To think that my high school days were taken with water balloon fights and pep rallies!… Get well wishes go out to Linda Taylor of Fairfield. Linda, I am so sorry to learn that you are sick. Please get well, and I hope to see you out and about very soon. Did I hear correctly that you and Gary Darville got married? Well, congratulations and best wishes to you both. That’s great!


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