Special to the One Feather
MAGGIE VALLEY, N.C. – The all-American motorcycle museum, located in the heart of Maggie Valley, N.C., is world-renown for its collection of the rarest and most iconic American motorcycles. The museum prides itself in the fact that almost every machine in the collection is a running example, leading to its well-known tagline, “The Museum That Runs.”
Each year the museum finds, restores, and then gives away a vintage American motorcycle to cap off its operating season. The raffle is the not-for-profit museum’s biggest fundraiser each year, and helps to build new exhibits, continue preservation efforts, and enhance the museum visitor experience. The weather was perfect for the celebration, with over 1,500 people in attendance. The day’s events included the firing up of vintage bikes in the museum’s vast collection, live music, and food trucks, all centered around the moment that attendees had been waiting for all year – the giveaway of the museum’s annual raffle bike. This year’s grand prize was a stunning 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, painted in one-year-only Delphine Blue and striped in Teak Read, with hand placed gold and silver leaf tank badges, powered by a 61c.i. engine with a four-speed transmission.
As the 2 p.m. drawing time closed in, the crowds gathered outside the museum as emcee John Gustafson rallied the excited crowd together to announce the lucky winner! This year was the first year that the museum unveiled its new super-size raffle drum. At exactly 2 p.m., the drum, full of tickets, was spun to mix the tickets, and the ticket picker, five-year-old Lilly Snyder drew the three winning tickets.
The winner of the 1937 Knucklehead was Ed Shequen of Motley, Minn. He purchased his tickets just days before the drawing, after a visit to the museum in earlier this year. Shequen has been riding motorcycles since 1971 when he was 12 years old, and today rides a 1959 Harley-Davidson Panhead. He was ecstatic when he learned he won and said the 37’ will look great next to his 59’.
Second prize of $10,000 went to Randy Cooper of Quinton, Ala. He bought his tickets online and hasn’t had the chance to visit the museum, but has been riding in the Smokies for years. Third prize of $5,000 went to Randy Farabee of Gilbert, Ariz.
Curator Matt Walksler gave many thanks to all those who made this year’s raffle an outstanding success, and said that his father, the late Dale Walksler “would be honored by and overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm shown for the museum here today”.
The museum also unveiled the raffle bike for 2023, another 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, but this one is in a hot-rod bobber style and dressed in finished in HD custom Silver, striped in Black, and edged in Gold, with bobbed fenders, and Flanders accessory risers and bars, sporting an authentic period-modified look and feel.
The museum will close for winter on Tuesday, Nov. 22, but will reopen on April 6, 2023. Until then, check out their YouTube page for excellent vintage motorcycle content, and head to www.wheelsthroughtime.com to purchase tickets for the 2023 Raffle Bike.