Rockin’ out at the Red Horse


Jack Belcher, Senior News Reporter

Rockin the Red Horse is a hodgepodge of events, live music and fundraisers that took place the weekend of May 5. Rockin the Red Horse (formally known as “Iron Horse Trail Motorcycle Show”), is an event that attracts many motorcycle enthusiasts from across the state, but the event is about much more than biking.

One of the objectives of the event is fundraising. From an all-girl robotics club to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the event’s causes vary. A 50/50 raffle was put on to raise money for VFW, which works similarly to a lottery, except half of the money is given to the winner and the other half goes to supporting VFW.

Nerdy Girls, a high school robotics organization that was created by teen girls for teen girls, raffled a quilt with the proceeds going to the organization. According to co-founder of Nerdy Girls Parker Mayer, the organization was created to “forge a new path to help other teen girls become builders and coders, and build the robots of their dreams.”

Nerdy Girls was founded in January 2017 and currently consists of 19 members. The Nerdy Girls competitive team has recently completed their first season, and made it to the state championship. Mayer is currently in 11th grade, although Nerdy Girls is for designed for any girl in 6th through 12th grade.

Nerdy Girls was invited to Rockin the Red Horse by one of the organizers for the event, Beryl Kelley. She has been a supporter of Nerdy Girls since she read about them in an article, and is the person who sewed the quilt together to be raffled.

“I think it is a good cause,” Kelley said. “Trying to get girls interested in technology and math and science, and not just playing with paper dolls.”

Kelley is a technical writer who has been in the computer industry for most of her career, and is a motorcycle enthusiast. According to Kelley, there wasn’t anything like Nerdy Girls for her when she was a kid.

“Amongst motorcycle people, t-shirt quilts are very, very popular, and I know jumping from Nerdy Girls to a motorcycle t-shirt quilt isn’t very direct, but they’re both of my loves,” Kelley said. “I love quilting, I love riding my motorcycle and I like supporting these young girls.”

Rockin the Red Horse doesn’t only attract bikers. Families and people from all over come to experience the event, with around 450 people interested on Facebook.

According to sisters Nicole Crossett and Breanna Willis, whose parents own the restaurant, Rockin the Red Horse 2018 was one of the largest events that they have had. According to organizers Crossett and Willis, the event really kicks off Saturday morning with the motorcycle run which, this year, had 198 bikers participate.

The sisters started the event under the name “Iron Horse Trail Motorcycle Show,” after being approached 10 years ago by ABATE (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments), a non-profit organization for bikers that offered to partner with them. In 2016, ABATE left their partnership, so the name of the event was changed to “Rockin the Red Horse.” Ever since ABATE left, there hasn’t been an actual bike show at the event, but according to the sisters, it will be back for 2019.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t a number of interesting vehicles this year, and not all of them were motorcycles. Oly Kreger drove his 1942 Willys Military Body Jeep to the event, a vehicle that he spent the last five winters building.

“My first car was a 42’ Willys, my last car was a 42’ Willys,” Kreger said.

According to Kreger, he found most of the parts in scrap yards, but he found the body in a farm field in Alaska. He said that he was driving by and saw the body on a burn pile. He knew what it was when he saw it, and after driving about nine miles past the farm, he couldn’t just couldn’t leave it. So, he turned around and talked to the owner, who ended up giving it to Kreger for free.

Rockin the Red Horse features several shopping locations, that can offer nearly anything a biker might want, from novelty knives and leather apparel at Psycho Wear, to custom embroidery and more leather apparel at Motorcycle Outfitters.

There is also live music all weekend starting Friday with the American Honey Band, Saturday started off with the musical talents of singer/songwriter and Ellensburg local, Abbigale Smith, alongside bass player Erik Eyestone.

According to Smith, she plays at the Red Horse Diner often, although this is her first time playing for the Rockin the Red Horse event. Other performers scheduled to play were The Road Fever Band and The Rusty Cage.

The whole event is described by Crossett and Willis as a way to have a fun weekend with good shopping and great company, as well as an opportunity to support local businesses and charities.