This article was originally printed in the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club monthly newsletter.

19th Annual Pilgrimage to Italy, Texas, by Ken Hand

Perfect fall weather again greeted the 187 Moto Guzzi enthusiasts that attended the rally at the Community Center in downtown Italy. No offense to the birthplace of Moto Guzzi, but in Texas it is pronounced It-lee.

Rally goers were again treated to coffee and homemade dessert breads with some sugar free breads for the diabetics that ride. Have you priced a box of donuts lately? $4.99 for a dozen Krispie Kreme. That will give you your weekly dose of sugar. Peggy made 18 loaves of various dessert breads that sure are better than donuts.

Dave Shultz made and donated the rally buttons that are always unique. Dave, you are good. He says his wife says that every day!

This year's Pasta Ride took the 36 riders through the black land cotton country. Good weather and rain made for a bumper crop with the sides of the roads white from cotton falling off trucks and trailers on the way to the gin. The price of the run was $2 with all money refunded. First place went to Bill Rowe with three fours. Second place went to MacAninch with two pair - aces and tens. Third place went to Chris McCrate with two pairs - tens and nines.

Those that didn't go on the Pasta Run stayed in Italy taking test rides on Guzzis furnished by Mr. Fix-it of Midlothian, looking at the dealer display provided by MPH Cycle, or admiring all the clean Guzzis. Some of you will find this hard to believe, but I even cleaned up the EV.

The cooks at the high school served a nice pasta dinner for $5. This is a relief to have someone take care of the noon meal for a reasonable price.

Ken Bunch of Oklahoma was the only MGNOC State Rep present this year, plus Frank Wedge. MGNOC Webmaster, Luap McKeever, and his dad and uncle were there. Did you know how Luap got his name? His dad's name is Paul and his mom said there would not be a junior. Spell Paul backwards. Neat!

Dealer's that cared to show up included Mr. Fix-It; MPH; Gene's Moto Guzzi, and EuroSport.

Long Distance Male: Randy Teft from Keene, New Hampshire, on a Quota. Side note: the long distance male award has always been won by someone traveling over a 1000 miles. Peggy and I won Long Distance Couple at a generic rally for coming (don't tell anybody) 105 miles.

Long Distance Couple: Gene and Deena Jones from El Dorado, Arkansas. Here is another reason why I'm happy to be associated with Guzzi riders. They are honest! I thought Peter and Nancy McNulty were long distance until they said they came in a quadracycle to bring their daughter some furniture in Austin. At lots of generic rallies the awards are only given to those that pre-register. This is supposed to cut down on the cheating. What? Why would you want a plaque hanging on the wall that you had to lie to get?

Youngest Rider: Luap McKeever, 32. You young riders out there, don't be afraid to come to a Guzzi rally.

Oldest Male: JN Smyth left Italy early, plus his wife says he has too many long distance awards so I had a special Mr. Guzzi award made. I had a group of senior citizens in Florida do the voting for this prestigious award. The vote was delayed for one week due to recounts, voting ballot problems etc., before it was sent by special carrier to me at the rally in Oklahoma. Everyone listened intently as I opened the top secret hermetically sealed envelope. The winner of the Mr. Guzzi award...Mr. JN Smyth. And everyone was happy with the vote. Attend almost any Guzzi rally in the Midwest and have the fine pleasure of visiting with JN. JN at 82 is still riding, while some, 20 years younger, turned their Guzzis into trailer queens.

Best Looking Guzzi: Steve Blackmon, the original owner of a well-kept, tastily modified 850-T. It had bugs on the windshield from being ridden. Side note: There are real bugs and rattle-can-bugs. Rattle-can-bugs are for those that trailer their bikes, get to the campground, unload, rattle the spray can and spray on the bugs, so it looks like you are a big time rider. Some hadn't heard of this term.

This year's winner of the Lifetime membership, in memory of Dan Standlee, to the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club went to Rone Turner. Rone, age 34 said he was happy not to be the youngest rider again. Rone, hope you will someday receive oldest rider.

This year's T-shirt again had the Italy/Texas shaped boots. This year's slogan was: "Moto Guzzi + Italy + Fun". We still have lots of these shirts left in XXXL, large and medium for only $10 plus shipping. These are top quality Hanes shirts. I jokingly said that maybe we should dye them black, put on a U.S. name of a motorcycle and charge $25 for them. We aren't getting rich off of these. Sure would like to get rid of some.

The 20th Annual get-together will be Sunday, October 5th. Hope to see you there.

This year's National at Mt. Vernon, Washington is one heck of a deal. The Cossack's, a motorcycle drill team, will perform. They are worth the rally fee alone. See you there.

Ken Hand

Texas State Rep

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