Amarillo’s Original Harley Party, a major fundraising event for Family Support Services, launched in 1995. Now in its 24th year, the event has raised millions of dollars to support the mission of FSS and has become a summertime tradition for Amarillo.
The first Harley Party on August 11, 1995, was held in what was then FSS’ Barrel Building (adjacent to the main offices.) The event featured jazz and blues music, a cocktail party, and a used Harley as the grand prize. Almost 1,500 people attended and the event was deemed a big success.
The following year, the event moved to 6th Street . The Golden Light Bar & Grill played host to Vic Fontana & the Automatics and a sell-out crowd of 2,000. Johnny Plant donated a custom-built and painted Harley for the grand prize. Harley t-shirts and tattoos were sold for the first time.
In 1998, Tripp’s Harley-Davidson joined the event as primary ticket location and a major supporter of the event. A 1998 Heritage Softail was the grand prize.
The Original Harley Party stayed on 6th Street until growing pains necessitated a big change in 2000. With Millie Bingham and Billy Krause as co-chairs and the first formal Harley Party committee, the event moved to 10th & Polk and became a true street party with food and beverage vendors, live music, and a grand prize each year of a brand new Harley-Davidson provided by Tripp’s.
Over the past few years, many additions have made the Harley Party both classic and fresh. A Second Chance drawing, sponsored by Tripp’s, was added several years ago, along with a Fun Run providing bikers a chance to enter the event early AND secure their bikes inside the gates. The event now features three bands each year plus food from 30+ vendors. In a major implemented in 2016, the grand prize winner now has the option between a new Harley or $15,000 cash. Harley t-shirts are still a prized concession item, along with hats, cool rags, and other popular items.
The 24th annual Original Harley Party takes place July 28th in downtown Amarillo at 10th & Polk – home to the event since 2000. Cheryl Stallings is in her 11th year as party chair and Mike Fogiel returns as co-chair. This year’s grand prize is a 2018 Fat Boy or $15,000 cash. There will be a second chance of $1,000. Bands for this year’s party are Buster Bledsoe Band, Blue Mesa Trio, and Andy Chase & Friends.
Tickets are $85 and admit 2 with one chance to win the grand prize or second chance. All food and beverages are included in the ticket price. Fun Run tickets are an additional $20 per bike.
Tickets are available at Tripp’s Harley-Davidson, Hoffbrau Steaks, Ye Olde Pancake Station, Lost Cajun, D&M Leathers, Austin’s Texas Pub, and FSS – 10th & Taylor. Tickets can be purchased by credit card by calling 342-2503.