14th annual Bike Night is well attended
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS The downtown park area of Lehighton is filled with motorcycles during the 14th annual Lehighton Bike Night on Saturday.
When it comes to motorcycles, you never know what you'll see at Lehighton Bike Night.
The 14th annual Bike Night was held Saturday and although morning clouds threatened, the weather conditions were tremendous the rest of the day and contributed to the event's success.
As always, there were many unique vehicles brought to Bike Night.
• Frank Grate of Allentown had his homemade vehicle that has a Volkswagen motor, Volkswagen transaxle, tail lights from a 1959 Cadillac, and homemade frame.
• Peter Nimmerichter of Stowe, Montgomery County, has a motorcycle hearse on display.
• David Shelly of Coopersburg showed off a custom specially constructed trike that contains a bed of a 1999 Ford Specialty. The vehicle is powered by a 350 Chevy supercharged engine and has a Chevy transmission.
Mostly, Bike Night was a day of socializing, eating, enjoying the various vehicles, and listening to live bands perform in the Lehighton Park bandshell.
Bike Night was held in the two downtown parks in Lehighton. This year the event was sponsored by the Lehighton Downtown Initiative Committee (LDIC). Proceeds will be used by LDIC to improve the park area, and possibly install security cameras.
Since there is no admission charge and motorcyclists come and go all day, officials of the event said it is difficult to estimate how many bikers attended.
Lehighton Borough Manager Nicole Beckett termed it, "A great turnout on a great day." She said there was "perfect weather" for Bike Night this year.
Karen Reichard, a member of LDIC, agreed.
"It turned out to be a beautiful day," she said. "We had people come from Easton, Nazareth, even out of state."
Among those who came from great distances for Bike Night was Will Ahner, a Parryville native who now lives in Aurora, Mo. He said he traveled 1,300 miles in five days to attend Bike Night - and visit his son, Matt, in Lehighton.
Arner came to the event on an 1100 Shadow, pulling a small trailer. He said he was born in Carbon County and lived most of his life here. He has been living in Missouri for the past 12 years.
There were antique motorcycles, muscle bikes, low riders, and bikes with side cars.
Some riders brought their pet dogs with them to the event.
Throughout the Lehighton Park, vendors - some geared to bikers, some of them local organizations using the event as a fundraiser - sold anything from T-shirts and biker wear to lemonade and funnel cakes.
Three competitive game events were held. They were slow ride, kielbasa queen, and ring toss.
Judging of motorcycles was done by an independent panel of volunteer judges. Trophy winners were:
• Jerry Schaffer of Zionsville, best of show and first place chopper.
• Jim Walp of Lehighton, first place touring.
• Steve Moyer of Walnutport, first place big twin/stock.
• Lance Joseph of Wescosville, first place bobber.
• Chris Joseph of Allentown, first place big twin custom.
• Mike Osman of Emmaus, first place metric/custom.
• Gerald Kerkeslager of Lebanon, first place trike.
• Pete Lednev of East Stroudsburg, first place antique.
• Dave Shelly of Coopersburg, first place special interest.
Schaffer's "Best of Show" vehicle is a 2012 Bourget Python, which he said he owns for about a year. He said it was made by Extreme Construction Cycles of Pleasant Gap.
The bike has an S & S 117 engine, a spring front end, and an open timer belt. It also has 330 size back tires.
Nimmerichter, who had the motorcycle hearse, said he started his business, Maurice Motorcycle Hearse LLC, in October 2010. He began building his hearse in October 2009.
"I've gotten an overwhelming response from family members," he said, adding that he had 14 funerals in his first year in business.
He offers free service to any police officer killed in the line of duty or any military member killed in action.
"They gave their lives protecting us, that's the least I can do," he said.
Besides attending Bike Night, he was able to visit his stepmother, Suzy Schneider, and his brother, Dr. Eric Schneider, who live in Lehighton.
Ed Finney of Lehighton, who founded Bike Night 14 years ago and who served as president for many years, attended the event with his wife, Linda, and daughter, Sheila.
He said he's happy to see Bike Night continue and "hopefully, next year it will be bigger and better."