There have been many Harley dealerships that have closed up for good due to the recession. But I hadn't once given a thought to what becomes of their associated HOG chapter.
That is until after I read Mary Baker's article this morning about the Shreveport, LA HOG chapter disbanding after 25 years of existence...
Heads are still reeling and members are still in disbelief, but the announcement that Shreveport Harley-Davidson will close their doors and consolidate at the Bossier City location means that the Harley Owner's Group (H.O.G.) will disband. (link...)
The Bossier City location that Mary talks about is a nearby Harley dealership with its own HOG chapter.
I suppose it makes sense that if a dealership closes, its associated HOG chapter closes also. But on the other hand, why?
Isn't a riding club about riding together? What does a dealership have to do with it?
I guess Harley-Davidson owns the Harley Owners Group trademark, and so legally these riders cannot keep that chapter going. But a riding club isn't really about the name.
And so you think about that in more detail, and you realize that there really isn't any difference between a riding club and a motorcycle club. If a club is defined by its members, and if members truly care about the club, a club by any other word would still be just as together.
But obviously in the case of HOG chapters, a dealership holds the fate of its club.
I got sense from Mary's article that the Shreveport dealership and the Bossier City dealership were close enough together, that geography wasn't much of a factor in deciding which HOG chapter to join. It was more a question of which chapter a rider felt most comfortable in.
So if the Shreveport, LA HOG Chapter was truly a unique group of riders, that had something special going, then obviously it can still exist as an independent riding club, under another name. A club shouldn't have to die because of a dealership.