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2011 Harley-Davidson MDA Women’s Ride Raises $35,000

The all-ladies event celebrates four years

Story and photos by Deborah Speicher
3/22/2011

Girl power was in full force on March 8 when close to 150 women riders lined up their motorcycles on Beach Street in Daytona Beach, Fla., for the fourth annual Harley-Davidson MDA Women’s Ride.  

WRN contributor Deborah Speicher, in the orange bandanna, with her friends from the Old Town H.O.G. chapter in Brandon, Fla.
WRN contributor Deborah Speicher, in the orange bandanna, with her friends from the Old Town H.O.G. chapter in Brandon, Fla.

The MDA Women’s Ride is an annual event that benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association. This is my favorite ride, and it gets better each year. This year’s ride had a new route, which started at Riverfront Park on Beach Street and headed north, ending at Destination Daytona. In between, a police escort accompanied us down Main Street.

Women riders line up on the side of the street at the start of the escorted ride.
Women riders line up on the side of the street at the start of the escorted ride.

Karen Davidson, the great-granddaughter of one of the founders of Harley-Davidson, led the pack along with Cris Sommer Simmons on her beloved “Effie.” Effie is a 1915 Harley-Davidson Three-Speed V Twin, which Cris rode in last fall’s coast-to-coast Cannonball Endurance Run. Mary Vida, who has muscular dystrophy, also joined the ride as a trike passenger. Mary’s wish was to ride on a motorcycle, and this wish was granted by Peggy (from Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson), the owner and rider of the trike.

Faces in the crowd: Cris Sommer Simmons with Nancy and Willie G. Davidson.
Faces in the crowd: Cris Sommer Simmons with Nancy and Willie G. Davidson.

Karen Davidson, in the black cap, poses with Leslie, Christine and Joanne, members of Old Town H.O.G.
Karen Davidson, in the black cap, poses with Leslie, Christine and Joanne, members of Old Town H.O.G.

I would be remiss not to give a big thank you to the motor officers from the Daytona Beach Police Department and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, who blocked off intersections and provided a police escort to navigate us through the route. These guys and gals rock!  

The women gather at the end of the ride to hear Karen Davidson and MDA representatives announce monies raised.
The women gather at the end of the ride to hear Karen Davidson and MDA representatives announce monies raised.

As the ride concluded, everyone gathered in front of Saints & Sinners, a popular watering hole. Karen Davidson, along with MDA representatives Shelly Rossmeyer and Scarlett Marchman, thanked everyone for supporting the ride. The most heartfelt thanks came from Mary Vida, Skyler Keim-Jones (who also has muscular dystrophy), and Skyler’s mom. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house afterward. An auction was then held for some additional fundraising. When the donations were counted, more than $35,000 had been raised for MDA. Way to go, ladies—let’s do it again in 2012!   

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