Buzzard Bait Family Fun Ride

February 28, 2019

Martin Luther King holiday weekend found a couple of hundred of LAFD family and friends in Ocotillo Wells for the 22nd Annual Buzzard Bait Family Fun Ride. The year 22 has significance due to the fact it was the second year in a row we had two days of absolutely outstanding weather for the event. It had rained previously, there was virtually no dust, and the course, set up by Mike and Doug, could only be described as “loamy.” If you look up that word in the “Dirt Bike Riders Handbook” it describes “loamy” as the best possible conditions that dirt can be in for a motorcycle rider. It goes on to use words like traction plus, railing the corners, full lock slides, wheelies and nirvana to describe the riding experience. But why am I talking about this? Nobody rides a dirtbike anymore it seems. Everyone has one of those new four-wheel, four-seat, go fast, RZR’s and Can Am’s.

Case in point is Ron Tomacruz and the brand new RZR he brought out. He was so proud, he came to base camp the first night to show it off. He pulled up next to the fire with his family for a “show and tell” of this new machine. He got out and started pushing buttons on his PHONE! The motor turned off, the stereo came alive, lights started flashing and the ground lit up in an iridescent blue! WOW! All controlled with his PHONE! Fast forward to the next day at Mile THREE on the course. Along comes this 1963 VW Baja Bug that was purchased at a garage sale for $1000 two days prior. And what does he find? Ron Tomacruz and family stranded in the ”PHONE CONTROLLED” RZR, with mechanical issues. He is dead in the water with no tools and no idea of what is wrong. He was confused by the fact that there wasn’t an App for that on his phone. Fortunately for him there was an old timer, with tools, and an old VW that ran, to pull him back to camp.

The theme that Doug came up with this year was lost pirates’ treasure. Along the course we found sites that contained shipwrecks, buried treasure, gold doubloons, precious gems and other booty. At each site you would take a raffle ticket for the raffle later in the day. You could also dig for precious stones to be turned in for additional raffle tickets.

The raffle was held in the afternoon and many great items were raffled off or sold at the silent auction. Condos in Colorado and Mammoth were on the block, along with a beautiful quilt made of fire dept. t-shirts donated by the Munoa family. Awards were given to the youngest (5 years old) and oldest (71 years old) riders this year.

Speaking of awards, Bob Steinbacker and Tim Larson received very nice plaques acknowledging their contributions to the Relief Association. Well deserved, thank you both for what you do for us.

And also we need to thank Mike and Sonja Reitmayer, and Doug and Rene Weber for doing this for 22 years. Also to Don Paone for building the props this year. Thanks go out to Capt. Allison Reitmayer, USMC, for her assistance this year. Semper Fi and thank you for your service. This event could not be possible without all the help and support of all the volunteers and participants. Thanks again for making this another great family fun ride.

By Bruce Galien
Photos by Allie Reitmayer and Blue Engelking

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