My ‘Roast and Ride’ Experience
In late May of this year, my dad came to me with a proposition I thought I would never hear from him; he asked if I would want to go to Senator Joni Ernst’s first annual Roast and Ride. Although my dad has lived in Iowa his entire life, he has never been actively involved in politics. He is always sure to vote in general elections but doesn’t pay much attention to other aspects of politics.
Since I have always enjoyed politics, I jumped at the idea of getting to spend an entire day with my father, riding Harley’s and introducing him into the world of politics.
June 6th started early for us both since we had a two hour ride to the Big Barn Harley-Davidson dealer in Des Moines. The forecast did not look promising as we left, but we were determined to make the event.
I was amazed when we pulled in. I wasn’t expecting hundreds of bikers to be so interested in a political event. We parked our bikes and made our way through the crowd, stopping along the way to talk to familiar faces. There were many people at the event that I knew from other political events, as well as people my dad has known for many years through motorcycle events.
As we approached the breakfast table there was a crowd of people surrounding a man. My dad expressed interest, so we walked over to join the crowd. I was able to see the crowd was surrounding presidential candidate Scott Walker, who at the time was near the top of the polls. My dad was amazed to see someone who could potentially be the leader of the free world walking around a Harley-Davidson dealership in Des Moines, Iowa so calmly. Quite frankly, it is an amazing privilege that Iowans are blessed with.
The 35 mile ride from Des Moines to Boone was one full of supporters lining the streets and waving American flags. Along with supporters, of course, there were protesters. The line of bikers riding together went as far as anyone could see. It was a true sight to see.
That day, my dad along with hundreds of other people got to see seven presidential candidates speak as well as several different state officials. It was an interesting experience to see my dad at his first political event. He was able to see how truly personal Iowa politics are. Needless to say, he has already made plans to attend next year’s event.