High but ominous dark clouds and low-lying fog threatened to put the breaks on the Relic Riders' tenth annual Show 'n Shine Saturday, July 28.
But the overcast weather did not muffle the spirits of the bikers who rode along Valley Road and into Paddy's Garden for the event held over the weekend of July 28-29.
While the rain stayed above the clouds over Carbonear, it poured out of the heavens over St. John's forcing many city bikers who had planned to ride around the bay that day for the show to change their plans and stay off the highway.
Admitting their attendance numbers were down over last year - largely due to the weather, club spokesman, Gord Ash said, overall, the club was "very pleased with the turnout at their tenth annual Motorcycle Show 'n Shine in aid of juvenile diabetes."
Recalling, "last year we had 186 bikes registered for the show portion of our event, Ash noted, "this year just over 110 (bikes) were registered.
"We see the decrease was due mainly to the threat of rain that day," the club spokesman said.
"I received at least five calls from riders from outside our area, stating it was raining in the area they were calling from," Ash pointed out.
While they would have liked to have seen more bikes on the field, for the organizers, numbers weren't the most important thing.
"As long as we can help one kid attend the Diabetes camp (Camp Douwanna), we are pleased," Ash stated.
Over the past nine years, since launching the Show 'n Shine in 2003, the Relic Riders have donated over $38,000 to Juvenile Diabetes, the charity of their choice.
While the proceeds from this year's event have not yet been determined, Ash said they are anticipating a good amount to go towards their favourite worthy cause. When the receipts are all tallied, it could push their total contributions to juvenile diabetes to date over the $40,000 threshold.
The fact there was no pre-set registration/admission fees, left bikers and visitors to contribute as they saw fit at the gate.
Over the years the Show 'n Shine has gained a good reputation in the motorcycle community far beyond Conception Bay North. This year, Ash noted, there were representatives from nine other motorcycle clubs, mostly from the St. John's area, but also from as far away as Gander, Botwood and New Brunswick.
Too many bikers have lost their lives in highway traffic accidents over the last couple of years.Ash told The Compass this year, the Relic Riders decided to use their tenth Show 'n Shine "to kick off our partnership with Molson Coors to launch their motorcycle safety campaign.
"The club plans to place a new 4 by 8 foot sign provided by Molson Coors somewhere on the Veterans Memorial Highway, once permission has been granted by the provincial Department of Transportation. Until that time, the sign will be displayed on the Deering's Sheet Metal building across from the Conception Bay Regional Community Centre in Carbonear."
The sign, which was on display on the fence around Paddy's Garden on the weekend reads: "Check twice - Save a life. Motorcycles are Everywhere."
Ash concluded the success of their Show 'n Shine would not have been possible without the backing of their sponsors, the Carbonear Town Council and the general public. He said both the Relic Riders and the kids affected by juvenile diabetes are grateful for that support.
Aside from the competitions, Paddy's Garden was filled with concessions, food, live music featuring Four Barrel from Harbour Grace and biker games.
While Paddy's Garden was the focal point for the show, the weekend event also featured a well attended Saturday night dance at the Royal Canadian Legion on Bannerman Street; big biker breakfast at their clubhouse on Adelaide Street and Poker Run around Trinity Conception to wind up the event Sunday afternoon.
The event did not go unnoticed by the Canadian Diabetes Association.
"Since 2003 a passionate and caring group of motorcycle enthusiasts from the Relic Riders Motorcycle Club have combined their love of two wheels with charitable support for Camp Douwanna," said Sherry Calder, manager marketing and communications (Atlantic Canada) in an e-mail from her office in Halifax.
"The spirit of togetherness, teamwork and community displayed by this family of diabetes champions is truly inspiring," said Carol Ann Smith, regional director for Newfoundland and Labrador.
She recalled, the Relic Riders "graciously decided to support the Canadian Diabetes Association's summer camp when one of the members' daughters was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Their financial support, which has amounted to $38,000 gives children an opportunity to learn about diabetes management in a safe and fun environment."