Thousands of motorcyclists will saddle up and roar through Riverside and Moreno Valley Monday for a Memorial Day tribute that concludes with a patriotic concert at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto.
The 14th annual West Coast Thunder ceremony is set to begin at 8 a.m. at Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson, 7688 Indiana Ave.
Last year's event drew more than 7,500 riders, according to organizers.
Funds from entrance fees go to the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee, which uses the donations to build monuments and make other improvements at the cemetery, where more than 180,000 U.S. military veterans have been laid to rest.
Since 1999, close to $400,000 in donations have been made, according to Skip Fordyce, which has organized West Coast Thunder every year since 2000. This year's sponsors are Stater Bros. Markets, Lucas Oil, 5-Hour Energy and MAV TV.
At 8 a.m., riders will assemble outside the dealership, between Adams and Winstrom streets, where the "Star Spangled Banner" will be sung as well as remarks offered by Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, a former Army officer, and state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.
At precisely 9:11 a.m., the motorcyclists, many of them affiliated with veterans' organizations, will head out on a 10-mile trek to the cemetery, with the Inland Empire Harley Owners-West Coast Thunder Honor Guard leading the procession.
The route runs east on Indiana to Arlington Avenue, turns south on Alessandro Boulevard and continues to Trautwein Road, then goes east on Van Burn Boulevard until reaching the cemetery, where some riders will peel off to pay their respects. However, as part of a new component of this year's ride, many participants will continue past the cemetery and head into Moreno Valley via state Route 60.
At Frederick Street, the riders will exit the freeway and rumble into the city, turning east onto Sunnymead Boulevard, where they will travel a mile- long parade route before returning to the freeway and heading south to the Soboba Casino.
Riverside police and California Highway Patrol escorts will accompany the riders, temporarily closing side streets along the way.
At 11 a.m., following a color guard presentation, a concert featuring patriotic music will be held at Soboba. The band The Farm and country-western artist Craig Morgan are slated to play.