“Rolling thunder” introduces Senior Games at Spruce Creek

Spruce Creek Celebrates Senior Games
Opening ceremonies for the 2013 Spruce Creek Senior Games for Charity, were started when motorcyclists Jerry ‘Pork Chop Fogel, Richard Smart and eight other enthusiastic bikers rode onto the softball field to the rousing cheers of game participants. The motorcyclists formed a line, raced their engines to a thundering crescendo, much to the delight of everyone, and began the parade.

This article first appeared on March 11, 2013 in The Villages Daily Sun


Written by: Mary Chartier

            The day started with a gray sky, a slight drizzle and a chill in the air requiring many layers of warm clothing for participants and spectators who came to be a part of the opening ceremonies for this year’s annual Spruce Creek Senior Games for Charity.

This year a call went out to the motorcycle enthusiasts in our community to participate in the opening ceremonies, putting their beautiful bikes on display, and then leading participants in this year’s games onto the field.

The idea for this event was the brainchild of games co-coordinator Richard Decker, and with the help of motorcycle enthusiast Don Lamb getting the information out to other bikers, there was a wonderful turnout.

“Every time you read in the paper, when the motorcycles are out there doing something, they call it rolling thunder,” Richard said.

“So I thought, why don’t we give our motorcycle people here in the community a chance to show off their bikes, come down and put them on display,” Richard continued.

The variety of beautiful, glistening bikes and trikes that lined the basketball court was a wonderful sight indeed.

I walked from bike to bike spotting many Harley Davidson bikes and trikes, Spiders, Hondas, BMWs, a Kawasaki Vulcan, a Yamaha V Star, and the oldest bike on display – a 1929 BMW.

I spoke briefly with the owner of the 1929 BMW, Paul Meredith, asking him to share a little about his bike.

“It’s a 1929 BMW R52.  It’s a 500cc with two cylinders,” Paul answered.

“It is real interesting to drive because the controls are all different.  Instead of a twist throttle you have two levers that control the throttle position and the richness, and another control that controls the advance.  So you are really busy,” Paul explained.

I also spoke for a few moments with biker Andy Pawlowski, who drives a 2009 Harley- Davidson Ultra Classic.  I asked him what he thought about the day’s events.

“We love this development.  It was really nice that the Senior Games committee wanted to have a bunch of motorcycles out here to kick it off,” Andy said.

.           “This area is just a great place to ride, with the Ocala National Forest and the little towns and the horse farms around here,” he continued.

“Are you participating in the games too?” I asked.

“Yes, I am playing in the pickleball events and am looking forward to the friendly competition here,” Andy continued.

Time came for the motorcyclists to line up for the grand entrance onto the softball field.

Jerry ‘Pork Chop’ Fogel, riding a Harley Ultra-classic trike and Richard Smart, riding a Harley Ultra-Classic bike, were chosen to lead the line of motorcycles onto the field.

Once the official time arrived for the opening of the games the bikers were given the go- ahead to start their engines.

As the motorcyclists started their engines, a thunderous sound rose into the air followed by the cheers of game participants as they were led onto the field.

I asked my husband, Randy, how he felt about participating in the motorcycle event.

“It was great,” he replied excitedly.

“I felt truly honored to ride on the field to rousing cheers as we approached the crowd.  They cheered even more when we raced our engines,” Randy said, smiling.

The opening ceremonies continued with master of ceremonies Fred Willman introducing game coordinators Richard Decker and Leland Management member services director Kim Osburn.

“It takes a mighty big commitment to make these games work,” Fred said and, with that he invited Richard and Kim to say a few words.

“What I would like to say is thank you to the 957 people who are participating this year,” Richard said.

“This is the biggest event here in the community.  I want to thank everyone involved in putting the games together, the participants in the games, as well as all the spectators,” Richard continued.

Kim, who is usually behind the cameras taking pictures, was very excited to be able to share her feelings about working at Spruce Creek.

“You all make this place a lot of fun, and this event is a blast.  I love working here and I thank you all of you for being who you are,” Kim said.

Opening remarks were followed by a presentation of the colors by the Veterans Association Honor Guard, Joe Koos leading everyone in singing the “Star Spangled Banner,” and Dwaine Umbel delivering a beautiful invocation.

After a fun cheering competition led by Paula’s Clowns, Fred invited everyone to exit the field and said, “Let the games begin”.

Picture taken by: Mary Chartier