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Annual women’s motorcycle rally comes to Shepherdstown

By Staff | Jun 20, 2016

Whether it’s for relaxation, freedom or the love of the open road, more women than ever are starting to ride motorcycles and studies show they are happier and more satisfied for it.

Support and camaraderie for women riders are exactly why the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Motorcycle Rally (MAWMR) was started by Nancy Warren in 1993. Warren wanted a place for women who ride, a much smaller number back then, to be able to come together, share a passion for riding, empower one another, laugh and learn. The numbers have grown over the years from a few dozen to a few hundred who congregate annually in various locations to enjoy each other’s company.

This year Shepherdstown will host the group of motorcycling enthusiasts through Saturday.

Most of the riders will be staying at the Clarion Inn and Conference Center and have a full itinerary of events planned beginning with a 40-mile scenic ride beginning in Shepherdstown and ending at Hollywood Casino breakfast at Betty’s restaurant today, followed by tubing, off-bike games, bingo, Chinese auction and dinner banquet. On Saturday it’s a group ride, lunch, parade of chrome in Shepherdstown, picnic in the park and hang out time at Town Run Brewing before the event wraps up.

MAWMR is a positive environment for women motorcyclists, first and foremost, but has morphed over the years to include fundraising for two organizations that provide support for women battling cancer in the mid-Atlantic area. Pink Out is an organization that assists with non-medical daily living expenses, such as rent, groceries, utilities, even certain prostheses not covered by insurance. The other is called Help for Oncology Problems and Emotional Support (H.O.P.E.), which provides things like meals, transportation and gift certificates – all designed to ease the burden of every day life while fighting cancer. The cost of participating in the rally goes toward these organizations, as do proceeds from auctions and straight donations.

Many local businesses have donated items for auction, or are offering participants discounted meals while visiting Shepherdstown. MAWMR has raised over $350 thousand dollars for charity over the years.

Lillian Potter-Saum, owner of The Local Source in Shepherdstown has been attending the annual rally for the past 12 years.

“When I started attending MAWMR, I was a brand new rider – I had been riding for only about two years,” said Potter-Saum. “The camaraderie and the way the women empower each other – it’s great. I probably wouldn’t still be riding if it weren’t for some of these women. They have been part of my inner circle for 12 years, through all aspects of our lives. If somebody gets sick, they’re there. If someone has troubles with their kids, these women are there.

“We’re such a supportive, inclusive town,” continued Potter-Saum. “That’s one of the reasons I thought this motorcycle rally would be a really good fit. We’re very accepting, there’s a lot of alternative lifestyles, and nobody questions any of it. We all just ‘share the love’ here (Shepherdstown). This is going to be a wonderful event for our area.”

The Parade of Chrome will begin between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, travel from the Clarion down Duke Street, German Street, and then to Princess, Flowing Springs and will finish at Morgan’s Grove Park.

On site registration is available at the Clarion starting at 10 a.m. Thursday. The cost is $100. Women ages 16 and older are welcome.