Rolling Thunder to end annual Memorial Day ride in DC after 2019
STARS AND STRIPES
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: December 13, 2018
The ride started in 1988 with about 2,000 riders, Muller said. In 2018, there were more than 500,000.
The rain didn't stop motorcyclists from taking part in the 30th anniversary of Rolling Thunder on Sunday, May 28, 2017, in Washington. AMANDA L. TRYPANIS/STARS AND STRIPES
WASHINGTON – Rolling Thunder will no longer hold its annual Memorial Day motorcycle ride through Washington, D.C., after 2019, the group’s founder announced Thursday.
The tradition is ending because of escalating costs and a lack of cooperation from the Pentagon and metropolitan police departments, said Artie Muller, a Vietnam veteran and founder of Rolling Thunder, Inc.
“It has been a hard decision to make,” Muller wrote in a letter that he plans to send to supporters in January. “After much discussion and thought over the last six months, Rolling Thunder National Officers have concluded to end our 32-year annual D.C. Memorial weekend event.”
Rolling Thunder is a nonprofit organization that honors prisoners of war and servicemembers missing in action. Its “Ride for Freedom” through Washington every Memorial Day weekend draws thousands of riders and onlookers.
Costs for the 2018 ride totaled more than $200,000, Muller said. The nonprofit hasn’t been able to recruit a new corporate sponsor, and Rolling Thunder didn’t sell enough merchandise, such as patches, pins and flags.
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