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Dateline: Milwaukee, WI
They cast a giant shadow, which looms large over the Milwaukee landscape to this very day. Yes, the many motor officers, motorcyclists and related aficionados made for a tremendous presence in Milwaukee. However, the “shadows” to which I refer are actually the four original founding fathers of Harley-Davidson: William, Walter and Arthur Davidson, and William Harley. Their personal impact on the city, which to this day is headquarters for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, is beyond measure. Yes, the original founders would be proud men indeed — from humble beginnings to a behemoth of a company today. Alright, you may have mixed feelings about the product or individual dealers, but you can’t argue with success! Harley-Davidson has survived a great depression, wars, and a variety of demand fluctuations to remain the market leader in super-heavyweight motorcycles.
Riders came from all over to celebrate the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary. I personally encountered individuals from all across Europe, including several personal acquaintances of mine who are engaged in Harley-Davidson Military Sales abroad, but also Brazilians, Japanese and Australians. Fortunately, it’s late summer in Milwaukee and the weather played a perfect host to visitors from far and wide. Everyone was made to feel right at home.
Looking back, there was so much to see and do that it’s almost beyond comprehension. If you’re the type of individual who really enjoys crowds you would have reveled in Bruce Springsteen’s concert and the rousing ballads, or rock anthems, which are his trademark. On the other hand, if you prefer history, the new Harley-Davidson Museum was in high-gear. From the Miller Brewing Tour in the valley to Harley-Davidson facility tours, there was something for everyone in Milwaukee. The great food and the wonderful gemutlikeit will be remembered for many years.
About 150 police motor officers from all across the U.S., Canada and France attended the 100th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson Police and Fleet Sales. Training classes were held at State Fair Park, in addition to instructor re-certification and a sponsor/vendor fair. According to the latest reports, about $50,000 was raised for Concerns of Police Survivors – a most deserving charitable endeavor dedicated to supporting the families of those officers slain in the line-of-duty. What a laudable achievement. I’m proud to say that Setcom was part of this successful effort.
The Police and Fleet Sales 100th Anniversary Opening Ceremony was something to see, with a choreographed appearance by a joint drill team representing the Wisconsin State Patrol, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and the Milwaukee Police Department. The rousing national anthems of the three great participating countries, the U.S., Canada and France, set the tone for cooperation and respect amongst brother officers.
Then, there was the day the earth moved – Parade Day. The parade on Saturday was also an event to remember, with some 7,500 pre-selected participants being greeted by spectators in the tens-of-thousands. Harley owners’ group chapters from every part of the globe were represented. Most importantly, police motorcycles played a major role before, during and after the parade, making sense of traffic in the face of an onslaught of every type of motorized transportation.
If you haven’t been to Milwaukee, you should go. It’s a great, clean, industrial city situated on beautiful Lake Michigan. If you go, plan your travels for summertime, maybe for the 110th – it’s now just five years away.
The level of planning for such a monumental event normally takes about two years to bring to fruition, but by then it all appears to go so easily that it’s deceptive. Congratulations are in order for all of the Harley-Davidson team members who worked tirelessly to make this event a success; please know that you made all the difference and your customers noticed!
We’ll make the formal results from the training competition known – once they’re formally released. Otherwise, let’s just say that those Jacksonville motor officers can ride!
Everyone left the city with a smile – which will last for the many miles ahead.