A Brief Triangle Wings History
Soon after GWRRA expanded into North Carolina, NC-E was chartered as the eastern Piedmont chapter (Greensboro was the first NC chapter.). Initially chartered in June of 1984, NC-E started with a Raleigh location. However, by July of 1985, NC-E was relocated to Cary, where it has remained to this day. The list of CD's include Kenneth DeKing (1985), Gerry Hoagland (1990), Skip & Sandy Vedell (1991), Rick & Nancy Franks (1995), Richard Merkle (1998), James & Linda Johnson (1999), Rod & Maxine Gilvey (2002), James & Linda Johnson (2004 ... couldn't get away), Richard & Linda Berner (2006), Tom & Carol Scully (Nov 2008), Andrew & Marcy Scott (2013), and now Leslee & Ron Turner (2016).
Ike Huggins, an early NC-E member, visited the chapter in 2008 to share some of the background of the launch of our historic chapter. As our chapter continued to grow during the first decade, it drew participants from Durham, Raleigh, Louisburg, Garner, Smithfield, and Cary/Apex. When the NC District decided to split NC-E into a number of chapters; NC-H Louisburg, NC-H2 Durham, NC-F2 Garner & NC-C2 Smithfield were spun- off over time.
During the early years of Wings Over the Smokies (in Cherokee), NC-E earned income to fund chapter activities by selling hot dogs and hamburgers at WOS. However, the District adopted a new WOS location (Fletcher) and policies, so NC-E had to initiate another a event to fund activities. By the late 1990's the above independent chapters were active & successful; however, the residual NC-E was comprised of 25-30 members, many of whom had experienced the transition from the 'super' chapter. Most remaining members had 'retired' from leadership roles in past years. CDs James & Linda Johnson prioritized recruiting new members and participation with sister chapters. The chapter experienced growth while sponsoring an annual Spring Fling (to fund our chapter charities: O'Berry and the NC Food Bank). In the early 1990's several members became increasingly active in camping. Newer members explored the benefits of GWRRA chapter visitations as they learned about GWRRA. However, the primary NC-E chapter activity remained the monthly gathering.
By the early 2000's the chapter had added significantly to its ride schedule ... adding dinner rides, ice cream rides and day-touring to the seasonal campouts. Roan Mountain remained a favorite campout rally in TN. But, our visitation 'fever' netted us capturing all the chapter cards (45) within 3 months of the early Feb program launch one year. (This won a challenge we had with NC-N Burlington, so they 'bought' us ice cream at their annual event.) The annual Spring Fling was successful for a number of years as a major fund-raiser until the site was no longer available. But, the generosity of NC-E members enabled us to sustain our support for O'Berry and the NC Food Bank. The ride calendar was expanded to include destination rides (overnights with a theme or activity) and an annual Maintenance Day in late March.
By 2004 NC-E was viewed as the host chapter for the Triangle Area Ride for Kids (targeting all of eastern NC). This motorcycle event would grow from raising $20,000 in its first year to $138,000 in its fifth year and continues to raise in excess of $100,000 at each event during our current economic climate. Hosting motorcyclists from all of eastern NC, NC-E volunteers (and other GWRRA chapters) have helped to raise approximately $1,100,000 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation through 2014. This is in addition to sustaining our support for O'Berry and the NC Food Bank. In addition, in 2008 our then-chapter educators introduced for GWRRA & non-GWRRA motorcyclists a slow speed maneuvering course which promoted rider safety and a positive GWRRA image beyond our membership. This function is now part of GWRRA's Parking Lot Practice.
Tom & Carol Scully, in addition to their CD duties, were active seminar presenters and have supported a number of GWRRA chapters. In 2010, the chapter members undertook a challenge to compete for the NC Chapter of the Year. We were honored when our chapter was named the 2010 Chapter of the Year at the 2011 Ops Meeting! But, our chapter has been further recognized for the efforts of its members. Tony Van Schaick was inducted in the inaugural class of the Rider Education Hall of Fame in Phoenix (now the former Director of GWRRA Rider Education) In addition, Rod & Maxine Gilvey were selected at WOS to receive the Region N Rider Education Merit Award. And, Tom & Carol were recently appointed to the District MAD Coordinators position.
Our chapter maintains a very active ride calendar and a culture of volunteerism. Our annual ride planning event attempts to offer a diverse range of activities in hopes of providing something for everyone. Examples of our 2015 weekend rides include visiting Myrtle Beach (SC) for coastal relaxation and theatrical shows this Spring and riding to Statesville (NC) to participate in the Carolina Balloon Festival in the Fall. As a result of our busy schedule and charitable works, some chapter members are beginning to affectionately refer to NC-E as 'The Little Chapter That Could'.
Please feel free to join us for a chapter gathering or any event on our calendar. Sign up for our member or guest information, or to view our ride calendar, simply go to www.trianglewings.org. Ride safe ... we'll see you on the road!