By: Brian Dixon
January 14th, 2017 was a beautiful, warm, sunny day in Charleston, SC when Lowcountry Harley-Davidson held their Charleston H.O.G. Membership Drive & Oyster Roast. Oyster roasts are most commonly held in the winter months, as the steam and piping hot shells and the salty morsels they contain, serve to warm party goers as much as to feed them. But when you schedule an event in the SC Lowcountry, you can never be certain what temps you will get, even in the middle of winter!
However, unseasonal warmth didn’t stop the numerous guests from gathering around the long row of tables to devour all the delicious steamed local oysters that were being continuously served. Besides, who is going to complain about such a perfect riding day? For those not mollusk inclined, there were grilled hot dogs and thanks to their January Souper Saturdays, you could also help yourself to a bowl of chili. Entertainment was also provided as DJ Scot cranked out classic rock tunes all day. The overall turnout was excellent with many people coming and going throughout the event.
As the event name would suggest, all of this great food and friendly people had another purpose, to sign up members, both new and returning, for the Charleston H.O.G. Chapter #4774. To become a member of the local chapter one must have a valid, current National H.O.G. membership and ID number. I was told if you buy a new bike, you get one year of the National membership free. The cost of yearly membership to the Charleston Chapter is only $20 paid at time of application, but you can sign up for multiple years.
Above the apparel section of the dealership, is the large meeting hall which was integrated into the design of the building to support the local biker community when Phil “Grumpy” Schoonover moved his dealership to its current location in 2007. On the walls are several flags, each covered in signatures. These flags were signed by attending members on various rides. Plaques on the wall display names of the Director’s Award winners for dedication to the Chapter, and monthly/yearly high mileage award winners. The monthly winner gets a gas card and the yearly winner gets 100 dollars. Last year’s high mileage award went to Mike Drentlaw with 39,900 miles! Camaraderie and varied types of rides aren’t the only reason to join. As bikers are known for, the Charleston H.O.G. Chapter is big on community involvement, most often in the form of charity rides.
Every member I met was friendly and welcoming. They even made sure to tell me that member guests can participate in rides by simply signing a release form. Also, several other local riding groups, such as the Green Knights, Christian Motorcycle Association, Lawriders, and Fire & Iron utilize Lowcountry Harley-Davidson as a rallying point for many of their rides. Chapter Director Dave Snyder informed me that approximately 90 members signed up today and that throughout the year new bike sales and steady member accrual usually results in a total of about 150 members. For more info, visit the Charleston Chapters website www.chshog.org.
I had a great time, as did everyone else judging by the smiles. I would like to thank the entire crew of Lowcountry Harley-Davidson and the Charleston H.O.G. members for putting on such a great event, being so gracious and for their community support.