JOHN DAY - In 2000, hosting the Chief Joseph Rally became an annual tradition for Grant County. From 500-600 motorcyclists attend each year. Last year, the count was 550. This year 636 visited, a colorful splash of smooth-running motorcycles converging at the Grant County Fairgrounds.
Besides the hundreds of dollars spent locally by the bikers, the BMW riders have donated about $7,000 in grants for local causes, according to fair manager Carolyn Stout.
This year, the man who came the farthest traveled from Kentucky; the woman who came the farthest rode from New York.
Numerous local organizers joined forces to host the bikers, including the Heaven's Saints Motorcycle Club, Grant County Chamber of Commerce, Canyon Creek Livestock 4-H Club, Feathers and Fur 4-H Club, Friends of the Fair, Green Thumb Garden Club, Can-Day Garden Club, New Leaf Garden Club, John Day Assembly of God Church, NPRA Rodeo Committee, Christian Bikers Association, Humbolt Elementary students, Kiwanis Club, Log Cabin Espresso, Humbolt PTA, Strawberry Mountain Graphics, Youth Sportsmen, Whiskey Gulch Gang and the John Day Elks Lodge.
One rider gave an update on the status of two BMW motorcyclists who suffered injuries in a crash near Kimberly on April 26. Mike Tando, a retired homicide detective from Seattle, was riding with Steven A. Redmond, 35, of Bothell, Wash., and Kenneth A. Saucier, 39, of Kent, Wash., both members of the Seattle Police Department, when the crash occurred. According to the Grant County Sheriff's Department, a deer ran into Highway 19 and caused Redmond and Saucier to drive off the west shoulder of the highway and over the embankment.
Tando said both officers returned to limited duty with the police department while they continued to recover from their extensive injuries. Redmond's injuries included a broken leg; Saucier suffered a serious concussion in the crash.
"They both, whenever they tell the story, want to remind people of the excellent emergency response units in John Day," Tando said.
Tando said ambulance workers rivaled anything in the metropolitan area for efficiency and professionalism. He also praised the ranch hands at the Longview Ranch who helped the injured bikers and other local residents who aided in the response.
Redmond was transported to Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day by Monument Ambulance. Saucier was life-flighted from the scene to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend by Air Life of Oregon. Ambulances from Monument, Dayville and John Day responded to the scene.
Both Redmond and Saucier were traveling with a group of about 15 other motorcycle riders, members of the Blue Knights international motorcycle organization that was traveling through Grant County.