When the first Shovelheads Run got the green light from Milwaukee's City Council to proceed with its poker run fundraiser, Ron Brefka, the organizer of the event, invited the whole town to join him on the run. That morning 12 years ago, 12 friends showed up to support Ron and his cause for the very first poker run. Everyone had a great time. A few from the original dirty dozen participated in this year's run, along with nearly a hundred other riders. Dozens and dozens of Shovelheads were also in attendance.
It takes good people like Bill Davidson, the Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum, with their help and support, to allow this event to be able to grow year after year. The Harley-Davidson Museum is also the launching point of the run, and the staff at the museum do a great job keeping things under control with registration and staging motorcycles.
Now keep in mind the directions to all the stops had no names so you couldn't just google the name of the bar and go there, you had to follow the directions provided and enjoy the scenic route planned out by the organizers (old skool shit). Here are the establishments that welcomed the riders. The first stop was Joe Mama's Bar & Grill in Colgate, WI, serving up some killer grub. The second stop was Ox & Cats Sports Bar & Grill in Hartland, WI, with the easily the coldest air conditioning. Then off to Carries Westside Pub in New Berlin, home of the friendliest bartender in the state of Wisconsin!
The following stop was Hunters Nest Muskego, which offered us plenty of shade and cold beer. The final stop was at Croatian Park and Beer Garden in Franklin, where the big party took place. It had a full bar, food truck, and a kick-ass blues band to keep the party jumping, and it seemed like everyone had a great time.
Folks were treated to an exciting fire dance by @taylor_flows at the Beer Garden, and afterward, prizes were given out. Among the many who helped sponsor this event, House of Harley-Davidson, a huge sponsor and the dealership where Ron bought his 1982 shovelhead provided a fantastic prize package. The overall poker run winner was UTURN on his 1967 Shovelhead. Jim Delisle took the Shovelhead Reunion trophy for best Shovelhead with his original 1975 FLH. Other sponsorships for cancer research included Cycle Source Magazine, AMA, Pierce Street Seats, ReactionGFX, 2 Boss Performance, ChopCult, Shovelhead Reunion 2021 (coming next summer), 7 Metal West, and Thunder Press. Thank you all for helping out.
Later in the evening, I had a chance to sit and talk with Ron and find out more about why he does this every year. He told me about Dr. Douglas Evans, Chief Surgeon and Director of the We Care Fund at the Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee. You would not believe the good they do with funds they receive as grants for world-class medical cancer research. The We Care Fund was started by Dr. Evans, a pancreatic specialist and good friend to Ron. For many reasons, Ron is passionate about raising awareness and support for cancer research. But wait, there's more. He also heads up the free 5th annual High Voltage Motorcycle Show with Chris McMorrow on Sept. 12th at the Humboldt Park Pavilion, Milwaukee. You can expect great bikes, vintage motorcycles, and custom choppers, five live bands, and good vibes to support cancer research. To stay up to date on all of the events that Ron's involved within the midwest and Milwaukee area, follow @7metalwest, @high_voltage_show, and @shovelheadsrun on Instagram.
I want to mention that Ron is also a craftsman and owner of 7 Metal West, known worldwide for hand-formed custom fenders in various materials - go to his website and check it out. Long-time resident of Milwaukee, Ron is very involved in his community.
He has many friends that are always willing to lend a helping hand, and together they are making a real difference in the fight against cancer. I am honored to have met and talked with Ron, and I'm proud to call him my friend. Thanks Ronster, and I'll see you at the next show. -Mark
Mark Garcia / @BigMachinePhotography