In 1991, four HD riders started the ball rolling
trying to form a H.O.G. Chapter in the town of Aviano, Italy. After
conferring with H.O.G. Headquarters in Morfelden, Germany and Harley USA
it was determined that this would not be possible. H.O.G. did not
actually exist in Italy at the time, but was in the planning stage.
By 1992, and now with five HD riders working on the
endeavor, things started to look up. HQ Germany said that if a sponsor
was found, it could be possible, with the stipulation that the sponsor
must be a HD dealer. The closest dealership was in Padova and they were
waiting to start their own chapter. The five riders contacted Milano
and through months of negotiations the dealership agreed, but there was
a problem – Milano was starting their own local chapter and HD USA had
to approve this unconventional set up! HD USA contacted them to let
them know that this was not possible. The program was not set up to have
one dealer with two chapters.
Many letters later to HD USA, rapport had developed
based upon the willingness of HD USA to listen and willingness on the
part of the riders not to give up. Two trips to HQ Germany and one trip
to Harley Milwaukee, USA culminated in HD USA giving the green light to
work on it.
Now it was up to Milano, due to the fact they had to
come up with a plan and do all the leg work. They did and on October 18,
1993, we became the second H.O.G. Chapter in Italy. In the summer of
1994 we became the first and only Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)
Sponsored Private Motorcycle Organization on any European US Military
Installation. This organization was called The Aviano Motorcycle Riders
Organization sponsored by The Harley Davidson Owners Group. During the
years between 1994 and 1996, our membership reached over 100 motorcycle
enthusiasts. In 1996, the MWR sponsorship ended, and the chapter
continued on its own.
As a chapter, we have collected over $60,000 in toys
with our Toys for Tots Programs and even received a personal thank you
from the man himself -- Willie G Davidson -- for our Toys for Tots
Members of our chapter have had photos or been
mentioned in Bikers Life Magazine Italy, In the Wind Mag, Air Force
Times, Stars & Stripes, Airman Magazine, and local Italian newspapers.
We have done TV Commercials for the Padova Moto Show, Muscular Dystrophy
Telethon in Pordenone, served as escorts for the North Italy Federation
sanctioned pedal bike races, had a photo session with Jay Leno, and have
won many trophies and awards at rallies and bike shows. We have
non-active members all over the US, and you can meet some of them at the
100 Anniversary of Harley Davidson H.O.G. – our first chapter member
Most recently, we teamed up with 7 other Northern
Italian HOG chapters to put on the Caorle National HOG Event from 23-25
May 03. Approximately 2,000 people came out for this first-ever
"State HOG Rally" for the northern region, and Aviano Chapter members
were the key to setting it up and pulling it off in style.