“It cost us $60,000 just to rent the Pentagon parking lot, about $200,000 for the whole ball of wax — to promote the POW/MIA issue and veterans causes,” Dante said.


Rolling Thunder comes to an end; 2019 will be last ride

Rolling Thunder

By William Vitka | @vitkaWTOP December 13, 2018 12:23 pm

The key issues cited by the group are costs and communication problems with the Pentagon Police Department.

WASHINGTON — One of the nation’s most iconic displays of support for military veterans, those missing in action and prisoners of war is coming to an end.

The annual Rolling Thunder ride — which has brought thousands of bikers to the D.C. area for decades — is hitting the brakes. They won’t be riding after their May 2019 run, group officials confirmed to WTOP.

The key issues cited by the group are costs and communication problems with the Pentagon Police Department.

“We had so many problems in the last two or three years with the [Pentagon Police] and the parking facilities after we leave the Pentagon parking lot,” Rolling Thunder, Inc. board member Gus Dante told WTOP.

“And then it came to a boil this year when, the south lot, we had not one motorcycle. In the year before we had 10,000 bikes,” Dante said. “In the main lot, they were being turned away.”

Police escorted members to various areas around the National Mall, Dante explained. But bikes were supposed to go to the Lincoln Memorial, where a stage had been set up for ceremonies after the run.

“It cost us $60,000 just to rent the Pentagon parking lot, about $200,000 for the whole ball of wax — to promote the POW/MIA issue and veterans causes,” Dante said. “So that’s one of the main reasons.”

“They just had enough,” he said.

After the 2019 run, “We are going to do it in our local areas, various states,” he said.

It’s now up to the 90 chapters themselves to independently put rides together. For example, the New Jersey chapters can team up with Pennsylvania and New York, and maybe part of New England, and gather at a centralized location.

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