Memorial Day Ride

Last year I was finally able to bring my dad’s old Harley-Davidson back to life. In doing that, I have met an incredible amount of people whom I consider close friends and family now. Within this group of people are those called the “Memorial Day Riders”, founded by Joaquin Garcia of Gypsum and some fellow riders who had the foundation of “I wasn’t there, but I care”.

The Memorial Day Ride has been happening annually for 8 years now and this was my first year being able to participate and photograph the amazing feat that was 177+ motorcycles as well as multiple vehicles of those who don’t ride but also care. The ride begins at the Glenwood Springs Mall in Glenwood Springs, CO and its first stop is Rosebud Cemetery where community members had placed flags at each grave of a service member. The ceremony lasted roughly 30 minutes and included opening and closing prayers by New Life Fellowship pastor, Keith Harris, speeches by members of the Memorial Day riders including Joaquin Garcia and Chris Sisseck, and the National Anthem sung by Julie Ireland (army veteran) and so much more.

Once the ceremony is complete, the riders mount up and take off to I-70. The route typically includes a jaunt down the Memorial Highway, a section of I-70 with a turnaround point at Bair Ranch. This year, this section was skipped due to inclement weather. Instead, the group went due west through South Canyon and onto Highway 6 through New Castle and Silt before veering off to loop around Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap before making a stop at the Rifle War Memorial to pay respects and snap a group photo.

The next destination was driving through the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle where many veterans and staff sat outside and waved as we honored their fallen comrades. The ride ends at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle, CO where there was food, vendors, a raffle, and a silent auction.

Though there was lots of laughter and smiling, you could feel in the air the reverence that everyone had about them. Honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms is not something these participants take lightly. I am blessed and honored to share these photographs and remember and participate in such an important remembrance event.