Skagway and Yukon hogs line up for a photo with Engine 73 at the Railroad Dock. Photos by Stuart Brown
Harleys and locos greet "Willie G." in Skagway
By Jeff Brady
Willie G. Davidson, the grandson of the Harley-Davidson founder of the same name, brought 100 of his top dealers from the U.S. and Canada on a cruise to Skagway last month.
When they arrived on the Seven Seas Mariner Aug. 22, they were greeted by a group of Skagway and Yukon Harley riders. Willie G. posed with the bikes in front of the train, pulled by another legendary hog, steam locomotive 73.
Michael Brandt, vice president in charge of marketing for the WP&YR, himself a motorcycle enthusiast, helped orchestrate the event.
Willie G. chatted with local riders, and even signed a number of bikes and a banner brought down to Skagway by Yukon Harley-Davidson dealer Dick Watts and Al Verishine, head of the Whitehorse H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) chapter.
Willie Gs signature on a local Harley, and the man signs a Yukon banner held by Michael Brandt and Al Verishine of Whitehorse.
It was a kick, Brandt said.
Theres a lot of synergy between steam (engines) and Harleys, he added, noting that the hog connection has produced a marketing strategy.
Later this fall, the travel program Wings Over Canada will air a feature about being able to rent a Harley in Whitehorse and riding down to Skagway to take the train.
Next summer, when the railroad plans to unveil restored steam engine 69, the Harleys will be there as part of Ride Yukon 2005 on June 23-26.
Itll be a coming out charter for the biggest, baddest steam engine ever to run here, Brandt said.
Most bikers these days are professionals like himself, Brandt noted. Others down to see Willie G. included an optometrist and a real estate agent.
Yet they never seem to overcome that wild bunch mystique.
The police followed us out of town.