The event is hosted by the non-profit Vets for Vets organization and raises money for local hospitalized veterans. This was the eighth year for the rally and it seems to be growing every year we are told; this was our first time to attend.
The rally began at 9 but it was closer to 10 by the time we got there. Riverpark Church is located on the Red River and is the site of the old Hamel's Amusement Park. Signs of the old amusement park days remain.
Steve and I could still see parts of the old train track that went around the park and several of the old buildings are still there like the kiddie barn, the bumper car area, the skee ball building, and even part of the old log ride.
Through the morning the bikes started filling the parking lot:
As soon as we entered the park we bought t-shirts and then Steve ran into his old Army Reserve buddy, La. Representative Henry Burns:
We visited for a bit, they told old Army stories, and then we moved on to check out the vendors. The Krewe of Elders was there serving food:
There were lots of vendors selling biker related merchandise: leather, boots, jewelry, and so on.
There was a Wounded Warriors tent - a charity I proudly support:
We checked out the silent auction - I bid on a couple of things and didn't win. There was a neat old Bel Air on display:
It was beautifully restored:
A World War II veteran spoke briefly about how the world was back then. There was three types of government he said: communism (Russia), socialism (Germany), and capitalism (United States); he said it was free market capitalism that won the war and helped recovery after the war.
One of the highlights of the morning was the demonstration by the Security Forces with their dogs:
The dog, a Belgian Malinois was absolutely beautiful:
At one point in the demo the dog was in mid-jump about to bite when the handler called him off and he immediately closed his mouth and sat down as directed.
Meanwhile, the music was getting started and a line dance got started:
These are actually some of our American Legion friends and they do love to dance!
All of the bands today donated their time for the Vets for Vets. Dickie T and his group, the Bone Dancers, and our favorite: Soulfish Blues Band.
Here is Steve with Ron Chatelain, one of our highly decorated veterans and a heck of a nice guy:
When it was time to eat I had a hamburger and Steve had fried fish. About that time Gary and Kay Huntsman arrived (Gary is with Soulfish) and we staked out a good bench from which to view the band's performance:
The bikers left to do their parade past the War Veteran's Home on the Parkway and past the VA hospital. It was quite a site to see them all.
Finally it was time for Soulfish to take the stage. We just love this band: nice, good people and wonderful musicians. Julia Dunning continues to impress with her vocals. Several people came up to her to tell her how much they enjoyed her singing.
The event ended with the playing of Taps:
...and we departed.
Steve and I then turned the Jeep south and headed to the Pioneer Pub in Natchitoches for dinner. Why not?
After dinner we walked along Front Street and admired the shop windows. They are getting ready for their big Christmas festival: we especially liked this window:
Now that'll put you in the Christmas spirit!
More Veterans Day events to come this week, but for now, we close.
The rally raised over $8,000 for the vets and that's a good day.
The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to the Fourth Annual Barksdale AFB Oktoberfest
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to the Third Annual BAFB Oktoberfest
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation
Take a Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Oktoberfest at BAFB