After one full year and thousands of tickets sold, the big day finally came. On Saturday, November 15, 2008, Wheels Through Time held its sixth annual raffle in front of another great crowd at the museum.
Just more than one year ago, we set out to build our 2008 WTT Raffle Bike. Being big fans of the Harley-Davidson Knucklehead (isn’t everyone), we at the museum began gathering parts for one of Harley-Davidson rarer production models from the 1930’s and 40’s — a 1940 61-inch EL Knucklehead. Using a motor I built just a few years ago, Matt, myself, and a few other buddies started piecing together the puzzle to this rare machine, in anticipation of giving it away in November 2008. We set-up the bike in bobber form, and gave it a sharp 1934 Orlando orange and black paint job, and finished the machine in just over three weeks.
After sharing the machine with visitors from near and far for a whole year, the Novemer drawing date finally came. With the drawing being held during the annual Haywood County Toy Run, which is put on by the local Blue Ridge Thunder Motorcycle Club and always draws thousands of people, we expected a big crowd on hand when we announced the lucky winner.
Despite a bit of threatening weather, motorcycles began flocking into the museum parking lot just after noon on Saturday. With the drawing going off just after 2:00 p.m., visitors quickly purchased their tickets as time ran out, hoping to take home a piece of motorcycle history.
At 2:15, the crowd had gathered around the 1940 Knucklehead bobber to be given away just moments from then. The tension was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. After a few announcements, the crowd fell silent as the ticket was drawn. A member of the Blue Ridge Thunder Motorcycle Club reached her hand deep into the raffle drum and pulled one ticket. A thousand pairs of eyes looked up, waiting for their name to be called.
"This year’s lucky winner is…….Allen Saum of Pawley’s Island, South Carolina," I said.
We looked around for the guy jumping up and down waving his hands, but no one emerged. Being in familiar territory (since only one winner has been present for the drawing) we pulled out the phone and dialed Allen’s number in front of the crowd. After about 10 rings, the message machine sounded and I let Allen in on the good news.
I had barely hung up the phone when it began to ring again. It was Allen! And he was loving it. After talking for a few minutes, I remembered Allen’s visit to the museum in September. He had come to Maggie Valley with his son’s boy scout troop and was on his way out of town when I ran into him at the gas station. I invited him and his group to the museum, and offered to give them a personal tour when they arrived. Allen obliged and came by just a few minutes later. After a few hours of fun, Allen decided to buy a few raffle tickets on his way out…and the rest is history.
It just goes to show you that miracles happen everyday. Congrats Allen, and happy riding!