Hundreds of women motorcyclists heading to Bend

July gathering of Motor Maids, which began in 1940

BEND, Ore. - Hundreds of women motorcyclists will be riding their "iron horses" from all over the U.S. and Canada. converging on Bend July 9-11 for the 73rd Annual Motor Maids Convention.  The Motor Maids is the longest-running women's motorcycle organization in the world, having started in 1940.

Each year in July, the Motor Maids hold a convention in a different part of the country, where members from all over North America gather to compete in riding competitions, share stories, renew friendships and conduct club business. 

This year, they said, Bend was picked for its spectacular area, riding opportunities and the availability of convention space to accommodate the expected 250 women riders and their guests. 

The Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center will be home base for the three-day event, being hosted by the Motor Maids district of British Columbia/Idaho/Oregon/Washington.

The Motor Maids boast some of the eldest women still riding a motorcycle today, like 67-year member Gloria Struck.  This grandmother and great grandmother of five will be riding her Harley-Davidson Heritage Soft Tail from New Jersey to Bend and will be celebrating her 88th birthday during the convention. 

As event organizer Nancy Blakeney, district director, explains, "The Motor Maids convention is unlike most other motorcycle events in that we require members to ride their motorcycle to and from the convention to qualify as a voting member."

A highlight of the convention is the parade.  Members ride their motorcycles through town. donning their required uniform of white club vest and white gloves.

"The parade is an awesome sight," says Blakeney. It will be held on Wednesday evening.  To see 250 women in uniform, riding two abreast on their motorcycles through town is spectacular -- one most people never forget, including the new Motor Maids.

The Motor Maids have extensive club history.  Archives are shipped to each convention and are set up in a History Room open to the public during the event. 

Motor Maids founder Dot Robinson has a daughter and granddaughter who are members.  They will be attending the convention, along with up to seven Golden Life members.  

Motor Maids will be hosted by Pro Caliber Motorsports for a Wednesday BBQ lunch and by Wild Horse Harley-Davidson for a dance and Meet the Motor Maids event Wednesday evening following the parade through downtown and The Old Mill District.

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