Pat Brase and B.J. Whitley Win 12th Annual WTT Vintage Motorcycle Raffle!!!

Dale welcomes over 200 Toy Runners to Wheels Through Time on Saturday a few hours before the big drawing.

Dale welcomes over 200 Toy Runners to Wheels Through Time on Saturday a few hours before the big drawing.

This past Saturday, November 15, over one thousand visitors gathered at Wheels Through Time to witness the museum’s 12th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Raffle Giveaway. Sunny skies and brisk temperatures kept the crowd on their feet as the museum made two lucky ticket holders the winners of the 1935 and 1936 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers.

The days festivities began as the 23rd Annual Haywood County Toy Run left downtown Canton headed for Wheels Through Time. Despite morning temperatures well below freezing, over 250 motorcycles braved the weather to help the children of Haywood County. After a catered barbeque lunch put on by the Blue Ridge Thunder Motorcycle Club, all attention turned to the stage in anticiaption of the drawing that would determine the new owners of two genuine American classics.

This year, two Grand Prize machines were up for grabs – a pair of 1935 and 1936 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers. Over the past year, these two beautiful machines helped the 2014 Museum Raffle become the largest Wheels Through Time fundraiser to date, raising much needed revenue for WTT to build new exhibits, expand its interpretation, and improve the overall museum experience for its visitors.

Dale poses with Ava, the brave young lady who dove in head first to pic the next two winners of the Wheels Through Time Annual Raffle.

Dale poses with Ava, the brave young lady who dove in head first to pic the next two winners of the Wheels Through Time Annual Raffle.

When it came time to draw the winning tickets, all in attendance fell silent, then on Dale’s mark, began a 20 second countdown as an energetic youngster dove in to the throusands of tickets head first. As the countdown reached zero, the little girl held out two tickets – one in each of her outstretched arms.

As indicated in the drawings rules, the first ticket pulled would be the proud new owner of Bike #1 – the 1935 Harley-Davidson VLD Bobber. The winner was Pat Brase from Ft. Wayne, IN. Pat first visited the museum three years ago, and after having such a great time during his first stop, he came back this past 4th of July weekend with friends. During his visit he donated a 1951 AMA Riders Book, which he proudly mentioned include a mention of his uncle, who was one of the first racers in Indiana to have an AMA national number. Before his visit was over, he decided to buy 7 tickets for the museum’s annual raffle.

Pat’s family has been riding motorcycles for over a century. One of his prized possessions is a photograph from a motorcycle race in 1910, with his grandfather and greatgrandfather in the front row. Pat himself has been riding for over 50 years, and is the senior Chaplain for the Indian Patriot Guard Riders. He even has owned a few “old bikes” along the way. “When I started riding, you had to be a mechanic, so I learned,” Pat said. “My dad rode Harley’s, and taught me a lot.” His first motorycle was a Harley-Davidson 125cc “Hummer” and later, he and his brother together bought a 1936 Harley-Davidson VLH. Although the bike was a basketcase and incomplete, the two had big plans to get it running. But when an interested party made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, they decided to let it go.

The first lucky ticket is pulled for the 1935 Harley-Davidson VLD Bobber. The winner was Pat Brase from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

The first lucky ticket is pulled for the 1935 Harley-Davidson VLD Bobber. The winner was Pat Brase from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Now, decades later, Pat is again the proud owner of a genuine Harley-Davidson VL Flathead. With the help of his wife and son, he has decided that he’ll be taking the bike instead of the alternate cash prize.

Winner of Bike #2 — the 1936 Harley-Davidson VL “Dale Special” Bobber —  is B.J. Whitley from Garner, North Carolina.   While B.J. lives only a few hours away, he had never visited the Smoky Mountains until this year.  He and his wife’s first visit to the area, and to Wheels Through Time was the during the exact same week that Pat Brase, winner of Bike #1, visited the museum. B.J. is the second Carolina winner in the past two years (last year’s grand prize was taken home by a South Carolina resident).

When speaking of his July visit to Wheels Through Time, he said he was impressed by the diversity and the number of machines on display, citing the American Board Track Racing Exhibit and the Chopper Graveyard as two of his favorite areas of the museum.  He recalled watching in amazement as Dale and Matt cranked up bike after bike, and couldn’t believe it when Dale jumped aboard a 1915 Harley and rode out the front door.   During his visit to Wheels Through Time, B.J. bought 14 tickets for the annual raffle, mainly to help support the museum’s mission. Little did he know that just over four months later, he would get a phone call that would change his life.

Pat Brase of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and B.J. Whitley from Garner, North Carolina are the winners of the 1935 and '36 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers.

Pat Brase of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and B.J. Whitley from Garner, North Carolina are the winners of the 1935 and ’36 Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers.

B.J. and his wife Shelby have been riding motorcycles most of their lives.  His first bike was a Honda 450, that he eventually converted into a 3-wheel machine with a Harley Servicar rear end.  Although he has never ridden a bike with a foot-clutch and tank-shift, he is excited to give the ’36 Flathead Bobber a go.

Also during Saturday’s festivities, Wheels Through Time unveiled the new Grand Prize for the 13th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Raffle in 2015. Next year’s lucky winner will take home a stunning 1939 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber custom built by Wendell Turner at Turner’s Cycle Shop in South Lyon, Michigan. Tickets are on sale at WheelsThroughTime.com/2015raffle.

The Wheels Through Time museum would like to thank each and every participant that contributed to the 2014 Vintage Motorcycle Raffle. Each year, thousands of generous individuals support the museum through its raffle fundraiser, and make it possible for WTT to continue to fulfill its mission to educate and inspire a diverse audience about the history of American tranportation.

Past WTT Raffle Winner Talks About Experience, Shares Feeling of Riding and Owning Vintage Iron

Dale reads off the winner of the 2011 Wheels Through Time Raffle.  Chris Hemminger took home the beautiful 1936 Knucklehead Bobber!

Dale reads off the winner of the 2011 Wheels Through Time Raffle. Chris Hemminger took home the beautiful 1936 Knucklehead Bobber!

With the 2014 Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Raffle just days away, thousands of hopeful ticket holders look toward the future with anticipation, keeping fingers crossed that they’ll be bringing home a new addition to their garage. But for a select few others, the days leading up to the raffle have been a time of reflection, as they look back at the experience of becoming the next Grand Prize Winner and owner of a genuine piece of motorcycle history.

Chris Hemminger came to Wheels Through Time Museum for his first visit in 2009. Annually making the ride to the Great Smoky Mountains with his friends, Chris began to make the museum a meeting place during his travels, sharing it with friends and family. During his first tour through WTT, he learned of the annual motorcycle raffle, which serves as the museum’s largest fundraiser, and decided to buy at ticket. Chris began to buy a ticket or two on each visit, hoping one day his luck would pay off. Eventually, he hit the jackpot, when he was called as the lucky winner of a genuine 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber in 2011! Chris received the call on his youngest daughters 1st birthday, and although he was in disbelief at first, the good news quickly set in.

The 1936 Knucklehead Bobber sitting in front of Chris's home in Maryland.  Although he's a busy guy, he rides it often!

The 1936 Knucklehead Bobber sitting in front of Chris’s home in Maryland. Although he’s a busy guy, he rides it often!

Within a month, Chris was down to claim his prize. Although he had never ridden an antique motorcycle before and was a little intimidated, he jumped in with both feet and was riding laps around the museum in no-time! “I’ve had fatboys, sportsters, ridden just about every modern model Harley of my buddies, but never anything with a kickstart, foot-clutch, tank-shift, and manual spark advace,” Chris admits. “But I absolutely loved it, and can’t believe I was intimidated.”

While keeping busy with work and home life, Chris still gets it out for a short ride or two whenever he can. He tells us that when out cruising, he often receives comments on how great the bike looks, and is occasionally asked “how much do you have in it?”. He loves to watch the reactions when he tells them it only cost him 10 bucks! His goal is to someday ride the bike in the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic, as he is a big fan of American Iron Magazine and all of the great vintage articles they put out.

Chris also has some advice for future winners: “Enjoy!” he says. “Your life is about to change! There is no feeling like riding and owning vintage iron. Especially one built from the ground up by the master himself, Dale Walkser!”

Since his lucky day, Chris has made the trek back to WTT twice a year, and says anytime he is within a couple hundred mile radius, he always makes the detour. And you guessed it….he’s still buying tickets for the museum’s annual raffle, hoping to take home another hand-built, genuine American motorcycle classic.

For more information about the 2014 Wheels Through Time Raffle Drawing November 15th, or to get your tickets to WIN today, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com/2014raffle!