It’s that time of year again – the beer is flowing, the raffle tickets flying, the buzz clippers shaving heads, the big screen TV covering the Daytona Races and a whole whack of Vancouver motorcyclists gathering together at the Shark’s Club downtown to support “Bernie’s 9th Annual Daytona Party.”
It’s not just to watch the races—because to be honest I usually arrive late, miss the race entirely and then just nod and raise my eyebrows when fellow riders start sharing the highlights of the race with me. It’s generally a good excuse to rub shoulders with riders from all walks of life and to raise money for a good cause—BC Children’s Hospital Oncology Ward. And that is exactly what Bernie Ryan does best, especially with a little help from his friends and the generosity of the many peeps in the motorcycling industry.
I asked the organizer and all-round good guy, Bernie Ryan, a few questions about this event that he has been running since 1999 and here’s what he had to say:
What is this event all about?
Have some fun, raise some funds for kids battling cancer (www.baldingfordollars.com) and start the racing and riding season with a smile.
When did this all start?
I have been doing a Daytona Party for nine years and “Balding” for four years.
More like WHY NOT!! I knew people would pay to see me get skinned and I knew from my time in the hospital a bit of what those kids might be going through—something like “share the good times”. As motorcyclists, we usually have fun-filled summers, so for one day we have a ton of fun and share it with the kids…works for me.
What is the plan for the Day?
Well, we watch the 200, the Superbike and an old Westwood race if we have the time. Eat, drink, bench race, see old friends, make new ones, sell draw tickets, get direct donations to BCCH, give away a mountain of prizes, shave my head and then watch MotoGP.
So, how are you raising the money for charity?
The money is raised by charging admission, draws and direct sponsorship. Usually, I give out in prizes what the gate takes in, but this year I had a special prize donated by Mid-Life Crisis Racing Team and All-Round Travel and I blew past last year’s amount. In total, including friends from elsewhere that donated on-line, I went over $7,500 and that number still climbs even after the party. Deeley’s, Yamaha Canada, Pat Gonsalves and the Atlantic Trap and Gill made it Bernie’s perfect race weekend.
100% of everything we raise goes to BC Children’s Hospital Oncology Ward (kids with cancer and blood disorders).
Who were some of your main contributors?
• All-Round Travel on West Pender, Vancouver Cranes, Arrow Machine Works and Mainland Hard Chrome donated the Grand Prize. Steve Crevier and Deeley’s Harley-Davidson handed over the biggest cash donation, thus Steve took the honour of taking the first pass of my haircut.
Prizes that everyone was pumped about?
• A full set of Tap Moto Leathers (www.tapmoto.com)
• A complete MSA Riding school course from Pacific Riding School (www.pacificridingschool.com). The woman who won it was leaping in the air she was so excited!
• An Advanced Rider Training Course (ART) from West Coast Superbike School (www.westcoastsuperbike
school.com) plus, Troy and Gio from WCSS kicked in $300 cash as well…that’s big hearts!
• Besides these guys, Imperial Motorcycles and Carter Honda, Westbeach on 4th, www.bikerace.com, Pazzo Racing, PSN, Cassells Insurance, Pacific Yamaha BMW and Simon’s Auto in Langley are among the many who make this all possible.
I never had time to drop by Pacific Yamaha BMW, but Mike the owner, showed up (crutches didn’t stop him) and Tamara volunteered all day. They brought prizes and manager, Frank Hirshman stopped in on the fly and donated $100—nice people for sure.
The buzzed head?
Well, I don’t think he’s ready to be a barber, but it was great to have racer, Steve Crevier drop by and his kind donation sent us over the top. Some other folks who got to buzz me were members of WMRC, VROM, BC sportbikes.com, BCCOM and my friends. It doesn’t work without all of them.
Was it your idea to start the shaving thing?
Yes, my silly idea! I happened across the baldingfordollars website one night. I knew people would pay large to see me bald. The first guy I asked said he’d give me $100 and I knew I had to do it because there was no way I could tell a child in that hospital – I’m too vain to help them out – shaving my head was easier. I wanted to show the kids who lose their hair to chemotherapy that bald is beautiful.
Who won the race?
I don’t know who won the race! I’m so busy – I hardly get to watch any of it.
Chaz Davies won the 200, Matt Mladin won the Superbike race and Aaron Yates won the Superstock on a bike that my friend Karl Steyrer is the “suspension guru” on!
Thank you, Bernie and everyone who contributed to his Daytona Party. Good to see British Columbian motorcyclists active with charities and bringing our riding community together. Makes me proud to be a biker here in Vancouver and even more proud to buzz Bernie’s head!
More of Lesley Gering’s art and stories can be found on her newly updated website www.motorgirl.com