Thunder Roads Magazine MO/So. IL 2017-November - Page 32

some random open spots. The live entertainment for the weekend was the Bizerkers, Dana’s Acoustic, and Madman’s Diary. That in itself was awesome! Then add the Ives Brothers - Ball of Steel, midget wrestling, and the Thunder Alley burnout con- test (sponsored by Chariots of Fire) and that is what I call a party! Once again, DJ Tee did a great job keeping the crowd entertained. When a wounded Veteran gets an escort through the crowd in a military Hummer, you know something special is about to happen. When that same Veteran grabbed the microphone, everyone listened. His name is Major Ed Pulido. He may have lost his leg, but he did not lose his American spirit or his willingness to persevere with life. His words were inspiring and the crowd of bikers was silent. During the National Anthem, no one took a knee and everyone was facing Old Glory presented by American Legion Post 313. Ed knew he was among patriotic Americans at The Rat Run! Thank you for everything you have done, Major Ed Pulido. / By Dennis Martin What a great day to be on two wheels. My first stop was to Shirley’s on Highway 94. The parking lot was almost full of people and the bikes were parked, well somewhere else… After visiting with many people I hadn’t seen in a while, it was time to move on. I didn’t stop at the bar just to the north because it was full, so it was on to the next place, The Longshot Saloon. Ev- ery year they upgrade and improve the property. Well this year they more than doubled the open space in front and beside the bar to accommodate the massive crowd. Another improvement was moving the main stage and creating an area in front of the stage that looked like a state park. In conjunction with The Longshot Saloon, Thunder Alley Promotions reconfigured the layout for that weekend so it was easier for people to get around the property. If you were there you know what I’m talk- ing about. After weeks of planning, the result was a huge benefit for everyone. They even had areas designated for em ergency vehicles to get in and out, just in case... Planning like this is very important with a crowd of 15,000+ people and 9200+ bikes. They stopped counting at 2:30, since all the parking areas were full… Luckily, the late comers were able to find Thunder Roads Magazine 30 Thunder Roads Magazine 31