Story and photo by Alan Dockery
The Catawba Valley Harley Owners Group Chapter #3194, Hickory, NC, started their Top Gun Rider Competition the first Saturday of March. Yeah it was a little chilly, but plenty of folks turned out at the sponsoring dealership, Blue Ridge Harley-Davidson, to test their skills and qualify for the riding season-long competition. You can brag all night about your skills, but riding the course is where you prove you are a Top Gun.
The course set up in the parking lot and was similar to a motorcycle training road test and bike games. There are separate classes for Sportster, Cruisers and Touring bikes. Also, classes for single rider and two up. There will be a qualifying round in each category each quarter of the year. March is done, but you can still qualify in June, September, and November. The Grand Finale is planned for November, probably the same day as the qualifier.
Challenges included Cone Weave, Quick Stop, Start and Sharp Turn, Two-Up Ring Toss, Ball On Cone, and Slow Ride. All skills are awarded a 10 point value.
First round winners are: One Up Sportster: Billy Dagenhart, Cruiser: Gary McIntosh, Touring: Robert Bush, Two Up Touring: Chuck and Sandra Robertson.
Six folks will qualify at each quarterly event. But there will be only one biker earning the Top Gun patch at the end. Once you are qualified, you will not have to compete again but you can continue to come to the contest each quarter to practice your skills. Come out and watch even if you ain’t up to the challenge.
The Top Gun Competition is for Catawba Valley H.O.G. Chapter members. All Harley owners are welcome to join the more than 200-person chapter. Visit cvhog.com to learn more the chapter and check out the calendar for rides and activities.