In our last article you’ll learned that the Fire Hogs held their Annual Hogs Breath BBQ that went well into the wee hours. What you didn’t know was that many of these same Fire Hogs saddled up on their iron horses the next day to head to Colorado to represent the LAFD for the Annual IAFF International Memorial ceremonies.
In the early morning of September 15, 2014, 8 Hogs met in Acton at Crazy Otto’s for the beginning of many memorable days. I was not only amazed at the portions served by Crazy Otto but also the ability of Rudy Santiago to wolf the whole plate down. After our trucker’s meal it was off to Victorville Harley for our rendezvous with a couple more Fire Hogs. Hitting Victorville at 0900 it was already hot. As you can imagine, by the time this motley crew got to Mesquite, all we were looking for was the pool and a cold drink.
They next morning it was off for a beautiful ride through Zion and onto Colorado. I can tell you that the weather Gods were much more favorable to those that left on Monday then those that left later in the week, but as our Road Captain said “this time of year be prepared for anything” and those late birds got Everything!! The bottom line was all 14 riders met up in Colorado in one piece, with lots of stories.
In Denver was a meet up with the IAFF and Wind & Fire Riders. After a meet and greet party that night, the next morning was a guided ride through some of the mountains and favorite local watering holes around Denver.
A day and a half was just not enough time in Denver but it was off to Colorado Springs to meet up with the rest of our group. Having the best riding in the nation before us, we decided to take the back roads into Colorado Springs. What a great day for a ride through the backwoods of Colorado.
About halfway along a 49 mile two-lane country road we come upon an old motorhome stopped in the roadway and an old couple flagging us down. It turned out that a inexperienced rider was trying to keep up with some road rockets and ended up laying his bike down as he came around a corner too fast. This poor sole got tangled up in the guard rail, and he and his bike ended up across both lanes of traffic. His riding partners sped off without realizing he was even down.
The Fire Hogs immediately sprang into action, ensuring the EMS was activated, blocking traffic, securing the scene, and providing initial treatment for his compound fracture on one leg and broken ankle on the other – with some road rash thrown in. We made the patient comfortable while waiting for the local volunteer BLS ambulance. It was quite a sight to see the look on the solo EMT’s face when he showed up and saw us biker-types treating his patient! It didn’t take long before he realized who we were and said “Here’s all the equipment, you guys know what your doing, how can I help you.”
Now we were able to “C Spine” him properly and get him on some oxygen. Another 20 minutes and the professional ALS R/A was onscene where we were greeted by the same looks as earlier. We then assisted with getting the patient into the waiting RA, securing the Landing Zone for the Air Ambulance, and controlling the traffic. I just want to know if we get EMT CE for this! Yes even the Captain II and the Chief got their hands dirty on this one.
After this three hour delay we were back on the road and into the Springs where we met up with the rest of the group at the hotel.
That evening it was off to the downtown area where all the streets were blocked off to allow the thousand firefighters from all over to join together in celebration.
On Saturday morning we headed out early to meet up with widow Jan Graf and her family at the staging location. Her granddaughter even hopped on one of our bikes to lead the hundreds of motorcycles at the start of the procession into the IAFF Memorial Park.
It is one of those events that is hard to put into words and must be experienced firsthand. The honor of representing our agency as the names of those fallen is inspiring but the sight of the flags representing each of the fallen, as they march in coupled with the numerous pipe and drum marching bands is a firefighter’s Mecca if there ever was.
After the somber service we all headed out to the downtown area for more libations and entertainment including those same pipe and drum bands playing together in the streets to the cheers of the crowd. This was followed by a private concert at the Cowboy Bar by Orange County’s Scallywag Mutiny with the Fire Hogs providing security. The Cowboy Bar rocked on into the wee hours of the night with many a Fire Hog doing their best impression of country-dance steps.
The ride home provided to be interesting as those that caught rain most of the way to Denver took another route home and, yes indeed, caught rain most of the way home as well. This ride would not have been complete without paying homage to fallen Fire Hog Danny Cypert as we traveled through AZ. RIP Danny.
Thanks to UFLAC for their support and to all that enjoyed the ride to and from the Memorial.
There are many more rides coming up! You don’t have to be a Fire Hog to participate. All you need is a willingness to have fun! Come on out to see what this is all about. Events are posted on www.firehogs.org and you can receive e-mails of upcoming rides. Contact any board member if you wish to join.
Join us on Facebook @Fire Hogs M/C, Like our Facebook page @ L.A.F.D. Fire Hogs.
Remember, it’s not about the destination, its about the journey to the destination that brings us together!
By Prez Jack Wise