PIQUA — Dan Lawrence has been involved with Piqua BikeFest for three years and he’s been riding more than 10 times as long — long enough to have owned more than a dozen motorcycles. When asked what model of bike he favors, the congenial, bearded biker merely laughs and replies, “What else?”
He’s a Harley man, which is fitting for someone involved with BikeFest, which boasts Piqua Harley-Davidson as its biggest sponsor. He’s also chairman of the board for Piqua BikeFest, which is both an event and a 501(c)(3) organization that gives back to the community after each year’s two-day festival.
Lawrence recently popped his kickstand long enough to answer a few questions about BikeFest, which revs into town this weekend.
Q. What made you want to get involved with Piqua BikeFest?
A. The love of motorcycles made me want to get involved. I ride … I’m on my 15th Harley. I’ve been riding 35 years, probably, maybe a little more than that.
I’ve been on the board for all three years of the BikeFest. The other board members are Greg Foughty, Jim Cruse, Jim Loomis, Mike Demcho, Jeff Cotner, Sean Kiser, and Trudy Matthew.
Q. What was the inspiration for Piqua BikeFest?
A. When we originally started, it was the 100th anniversary of a luncheon in 1914, held on the same dates as the 2014 BikeFest, downtown where there used to be a Harley dealer. They rode out to, I believe, the Hemms’ property outside town and had a picnic. We wanted to commemorate that. There are pictures around town of that event.
Q. What will be some of the highlights of this year’s festival?
A. On Friday night, Jasmine Cain will perform. She’s very good; she always has a large crowd that follows her around. On Saturday, we’ll have Danny Koker, he’s the main star of “Counting Cars” and has a hard rock band called Count’s 77 out of Vegas.
This year, we have — at Piqua Harley-Davidson — 2017 motorcycles with demo rides, we have a tattoo contest, pinup girl contest, and a vintage motorcycle contest. There will be local food vendors; we try to stay within the area.
There will be a Harley-Davidson display coming called The Rebel,” and all kinds of motorcycle and leather vendors, t-shirts, coozies, hats, plus entertainment starting at both venues at 3 p.m.
We’ll be raffling off 500 tickets to win a 2016 Street Glide; people can get tickets at Piqua Harley-Davidson.
Q. In addition to providing entertainment, how does BikeFest impact the local economy?
A. We try to keep everything local, like the food vendors, and give back to businesses and organizations in the community.
Q. What’s the biggest misconception about bikers?
A. People hear the word “biker” and they get thoughts of the old movies with motorcycle gangs, thinking, “They’re gonna come tear our town up.” That’s so far off. The motorcycle community is a very giving community. They do benefits all the time. For instance, the Lost Creek Chrome Divas, who support breast cancer, will be having a destination ride on Saturday. They’ll go to different locations, starting at Piqua Harley-Davidson and ending at Mulligan’s. Bikers do a lot of good things for the community
Q. Can people still volunteer to help out at Piqua BikeFest?
A. We’re always looking for volunteers! If people are interested, they can contact me at (937) 489-9422 or Emma Smith at Piqua Harley Davidson at (937) 773-8733.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@civitasmedia or (937) 451-3341.