“In Memory of Karen”

In memory of karen fortner

When Karen became the Activities Officer for First State HOG last fall, she had several goals.  The one she voiced most frequently was for our chapter to win a “Best Represented Chapter” award at a local poker run.  She had noticed that our chapter wall at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson was lacking awards.  We have got to do something about that!  Besides the plaque, Karen wanted to increase participation in our chapter rides and events.  She loved to plan picnics, dinner rides, and other events…and the bigger the better!  I don’t think there was anything she loved more than to be a part of a huge group of riders in formation, heading out to have some fun.

Back in March, without thinking much about it, our chapter quietly took the award for most participation in the Motorcycle Accident Victims Foundation Saint Patrick’s Day Poker Run.  Then only a couple of weeks later we took nearly 40 people to the Delmarva HOG Poker Run in Seaford, Delaware.  Karen’s husband Ed was the road captain for this trip, and Karen was so tickled every time another bike pulled into the lot that morning at our pickup spot.  She jumped up and down like a school girl when they announced that our chapter had taken the prize.

Karen got her wish – not once, but twice!  And the riding season had barely begun!  Unfortunately Karen’s season was about to come to an end, permanently.  She was killed on April 24th while riding on a chapter trip. First State HOG members were devastated by the incident, but we have come back even stronger.  We will not let Karen’s dream die.

On Saturday, June 13th, we took a group of riders down into Maryland for the Baltimore Metro HOG Chapter “Panty Poker Run.”  This trip was great fun, and somehow we managed to win “Best Represented” again.  Our neighbors in Baltimore had been very supportive after the accident.  Several of them rode the hour-long trip in the pouring rain for Karen’s viewing and funeral.  When they learned that we were dedicating our award to Karen, they decided to get it engraved “In Memory of Karen” and will make the trip up to our next general meeting to make the presentation.  We got caught in some rain on the ride back that day, a rainbow appeared as we got closer to home… we knew it was Karen smiling down on us.

first state HOG men at baltimore metro panty poker run

On Sunday, June 21st, we took a group of riders up into Pennsylvania for Tri-State HOG’s Father’s Day Poker Run…and AGAIN won the award for best represented chapter.  FOUR awards to hang on our wall at the dealership!  They’re going to have to get us a bigger wall soon!

But wait, there’s more!

On Saturday, June 27th, several of us headed to the All-American HOG chapter’s “Brain Freeze” Poker Run.  Given our chapter’s propensity to ride for ice cream, we figured a poker run with ice cream joints at every stop was just the ticket!  With 20 on 14 we did not have enough people to beat out some of the more local chapters.  But given that we rode 125 miles to get there, we did ride away with the plaque for “Longest Distance Traveled”! Chalk up award number FIVE!

first state hog at all american brain freeze poker run

Karen’s spirit is alive and well in First State HOG.  We love you and miss you girl!