West Coast Thunder - A Disaster!

Our riding club participated in the first phase of West Coast Thunder VII , which involves the "Thunder over the Empire" air show,...

Skip Fordyce Harley DavidsonOur riding club participated in the first phase of West Coast Thunder VII, which involves the "Thunder over the Empire" air show, last Saturday. It's an event organized by Skip Fordyce Harley Davidson, of Riverside, CA.

I think most everyone in our group felt ripped off. I imagine a lot of other bikers did too.

My wife and I paid $30.00 each to participate, which includes a t-shirt, patch, ride through March Field Air Reserve Base, and a day watching the Air Force's Thunderbirds do their air show.

Everything went ok until after the ride through March Field. They parked us way in the back of parking lot. This made everyone walk a mile to the gates of the air show. Skip Fordyce made everyone believe they had a arranged an upfront parking space, instead they put us way in the behind all the cars.

Here's what they're website said about parking:
Staging will begin near Riverside National Cemetery. You will proceed to the back entrance at March Air Reserve Base. Then you will be guided into Air Show Center by an airborne Vietnam era Huey H-I Helicopter. You'll then be escorted by that Huey down the runway, in front of thousands of air show fans. You will then be parked on the tarmac in our own preferred parking area. You will be among the static display featuring B-1 Bombers, F-117 Stealth Fighters and an SR-71 Blackbird to name just a few! From there you'll be able to enjoy the entertainment, food and vendors of all kinds. Truly a ride to remember. All registrants will receive a commemorative embroidered patch in recognition of this event.
I guess when we read that they had a "preferred parking area", we didn't know that Skip Fordyce preferred to park a mile away. One biker gal, who already had kidney failure, nearly collapsed under the sun having to walk the distance. Like everyone else, she probably wouldn't have attended if not for Skip Fordyce telling everyone about the "preferred parking" they arranged for us.

Notice that the message also says we'd be able to enjoy food. A lot of bikers took this to mean that the money they paid to get into this event would include free lunch. Not so. You had to buy everything.

The next disaster was that Skip Fordyce failed to warn all the bikers that the Air Force staff would be checking everyone who entered, confiscating cigarettes, lighters and other contraband. One biker by the name of "Ledhed" had his cigarettes and lighter taken away. He was told he could get them back afterwards, but afterwards when he went to claim them, he was told they had been disposed of. He began to complain, when Air Force security began walking towards him.

The problem wasn't the confiscation, but Skip Fordyce not warning anyone about this. I mean, how many bikers carry lighters? Interestingly, not all bikers had their cigarettes and lighters taken away. Apparently, the security staff did a very poor job of enforcing their policies.

The explanation for confiscating cigarettes and lighters? Well they said the air field has oil and fuel there, and they didn't want it igniting. But guess what? During the air show, they ignited bombs in a simulated bombing display. And they had several barbecue vendors with barbecues working full blast. What gives?

But the worst rip off of all was that the whole air show was free to public anyways. Why the Hell did we pay Skip Fordyce $30.00 each to get in on this thing, when thousands of cagers and their families were already getting in free, and getting better parking than we did?

I guess what we got was a t-shirt, a patch, and the opportunity to ride on the air field. Woo Hoo. The money does go to a good cause, the maintenance of Riverside National Cemetery, I suppose one should always look at it that way.

But if we bikers are donating money to get into this air show, why in the Hell did the cagers (who didn't pay), get better parking?

I spoke to another biker today who participated in this, and he said he's no longer supporting Skip Fordyce Harley Davidson.

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