Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Days 8-10: Getting to Work on The Main Event - 27th WOW International Ride-In™


Days 8-10: Getting to Work on The Main Event - 27th WOW International Ride-In™

**This series of posts recap my two-week trip to Billings, MT and back from July 1-16, 2013. For the entire list of my featured rides, click here.**

So now I actually get to talk about the main reason I rode to Montana, not that hanging out with several of my good friends isn't a good reason in itself. (Thanks, y'all, by the way.)

Just for starters, here is a giant pancake topped with strawberries and cream from the Billings Hotel and Convention Center's main cafe that I enjoyed on that Monday before the Ride-In™ mayhem began.

A ceremonial pancake/waffle for me is important before starting any official WOW business. This stems back to the waffle machine at the Super 8 us WOW Board of Trustees members stay at in Lincoln, NE.
I was running all over the place for the entire event so I get to tell this story in the pictures I snapped before, during, and after this event. Talk about burning calories (and the midnight oil). At the rate I was going, I definitely needed more than pancakes to keep up with myself. Enjoy my commentary over this crazy week of prep and celebration.

Job request: make a message board for attendees to post notes and communicate with others. You got it.
Beginning of the Chinese Auction prize table.
Starting at the 2012 WOW International Ride-In™ in Greenville, SC, a cowbell was rung to announce a member attending this event for the first time. The cowbells have multiplied, and I got to work on the decorations.
The reverse side of the bells. After all, introductions aren't one-sided.
Bert (Wisconsin) and Paula (Michigan) get ready to ring in the newbies.

Schuberth North America was in the house to introduce their products, including its new female rider-specific helmets.
WOW members from several states bust out the frog...slippers! The use of frogs is a long-standing WOW tradition that started with a practical joke in 1994 and has blossomed into our organization's symbol of frienship.
As part of propagating the frog tradition, I created these packages to include in every attendee's goody bag.
Sarah Schilke, director of marketing for Schuberth NA, explains the features of the C3 Women's Helmet.
Harlie from Tennessee (wo)mans the 50/50 and Chinese Auction ticket table. You'll see her again in a short bit.
Registration begins on Day 1.
The Gold Country Riders of California arrived with an old friend who had been travelling throughout the country. This is Montene the Bear, the official Animal Ambassador of the 2013 WOW International Ride-In™.
Chapter Directors and State Ambassadors all gather for the annual CD/SA Meeting to brainstorm strategies to improve WOW membership within chapters, states, and throughout the entire organization.

Breaking out into groups to strategize...
Rye patty melt at Bernie's Diner in Downtown Billings. Definitely earned this break...and it was only Tuesday!
Great lunch usually causes late arrivals to board meetings. I ended up at the kiddie seat with the laptop and the PowerPoint machine. I'm not complaining, it's where I belong!
Panorama shot of the attendees seated for the Opening Ceremonies.
WOW President Cris and fellow Board member entourage show of their singing and dancing skills. Here's the video of're welcome.
Harlie (from the ticket table) is back again with a new accessory courtesy of local Billings magician Kameron Messmer.
Jan from Missouri gets in on the action.
Janet from Colorado steps on Kameron's head as he lays on a bed of actual glass. Ouch.
Fire eating time...
The next morning, I came down to set up for my annual technology presentation. Looks like the hotel received a visit from the frog fairy. (Yes, I decorated that sign too.)
Frogged piano.
Frogged registration desk...
Show-and-Shine Bike Contest. Eleanor is pretty far from shiny, but I still show her off. After 144k miles on the road, she has nothing to prove, and neither do I.
Sue from Wisconsin loves her squirrels. So does her H-D Trike.
We got the hook up from Beartooth H-D down the road and they hosted a BBQ, Bike Wash, Open House, and guided ride through Downtown Billings just for us.
Here I am on a 2013 Heritage Softail Slim.
After riding dozens of bikes over the years, it's still hard to separate me from my 2007 Yamaha FJR1300A.
WOW members line up for the ride out of the dealership. Watch the rollout here.
I ended up not going on the ride. Instead, I followed several ladies from the Keystone Chapter of PA for some really tasty pie. Mmmm...piiiiiieeee.
I see that my message board was put to good use.
The LA Lady Cruisers, assisting chapter of the 2014 WOW International Ride-In™ in Monroe, LA, had a display board up for next year's event.
Yep, I actually had time to try out a Schuberth S2 full-face helmet. Thanks, Sarah!
Award-winning author Tamela Rich to my left, WOW President Cris to my right, and here I am...stuck in the middle with a helmet on.
Members of the Mountain Shadow Riders and Rocky Mountain Curves of CO hosted carnival games in the hospitality room right before the Closing Ceremonies.
Dody wonders if this is your lucky duck.
It was a lot of hard work but it was more than worth it. It was an honor to be an integral part of this storied event, and I am grateful to all the friends who did everything in their power to make sure that I made it here. You'll hear this again in a few more posts. After all the partying, it was time for the ride home...and it took another friend to make that part quite interesting.